Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Recipe: Faux Lil' Smokies

From Thrifty Homeschooler Member Sarah:

Our favorite to have at any party is little smokies. Instead of using the true little smokies I use cut up hot dogs. In a slow cooker I mix together 1 bottle barbecue sauce (I use a sweet hickory flavor but you can use whatever kind you would like.) To this I add 1 jelly jar (usually grape but have used blackberry when no grape in the house.) add 2 packages of cut up hot dogs (20 hot dogs total). Leave on low.

Recipe: Chili Cheese Dip

From Thrifty Homeschool member Michelle:

Here's an easy one:

Chili Cheese Dip
1 block of cream cheese (8 oz)
1 can Hormel chili, any flavor or about 1 cup of homemade chili
Salsa (use the chili can and fill it about 3/4 full of salsa..about 1 cup)
1 cup of shredded cheese, whatever type you like
tortilla chips or corn chips

In a deep dish pie plate (I use my glass one), layer cream cheese, chili, salsa and top with cheese. Bake in a 350 degree oven until bubbly. Serve with chips! Yummy, easy, quick and relatively inexpensive!

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Recipe: Avocado Black Bean Dip

My friend Julie makes the most awesome avocado dip whenever we have a get together. Everyone loves it! And avocados are on sale for $1 this week.

I don't exactly have Julie's recipe, but here's how I make it:

Avocado Black Bean Dip

2 avocados, mashed
1 tsp. lime or lemon juice
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup frozen or fresh corn
1 jalapeno (2 if you really like spicy), chopped
1 can chopped tomatoes, drained well
salt, pepper, and cumin to taste

Mix it all up and enjoy!

Recipe: Hot Chicken Wings

From a Thrifty Homeschooler member:

My family's favorite Super Bowl recipe is hot chicken wings.

1 large pack of wings
1 tbsp. butter
1 medium size bottle of hot sauce (I use Frank's)

Cut the wings at the joints, throw out the tips. Line a large shallow pan with foil and lightly coat with oil. Put the butter and all the hot sauce in a pot and heat just till the butter melts. Put the wings on the pan; skin side up, brush on sauce, then flip them over, brush sauce on backs. Put the wings in oven at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Take the wings out, pour off the fat, turn the wings over, coat the skin side again. Back into the oven for 30 minutes. Take out, pour off the fat, put wings into a dish, coating with sauce as you put them in. Serve with Marie's blue cheese salad dressing and celery sticks. The wings come out crispy on the outside, moist on the inside, hot and delicious.

I hope those who choose to try my recipe enjoy it as much as my family and friends do. Bon Appetite.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Super Snacks For the Super Bowl

The theme of my grocery store's ads this week is The Big Game. They have loads of snack makings on sale, such as avocados, cheese, and salsa. But they're also advertising party platters that cost a bundle. For example they have a Mexican layered dip for $11.99 that I could make for a quarter of that price.

So, for the rest of the week, I'll be posting easy, inexpensive, snacks for your Super Bowl Party. If you have a favorite to share, leave it in the comments and I'll bring up here.

First, here's that Layered Mexican Dip Recipe:
8 oz. sour cream
1 c. colby/jack cheese, shredded
Green onions, chopped
Black olives, chopped
Tomatoes, chopped
Bean dip
Guacamole dip
Lettuce, shredded
Tortilla chips for dipping

Reserve 1 heaping tablespoon sour cream for garnish, mixing remainder with 1/2 package taco seasoning. Layer in plate in this order: bean dip on the bottom, guacamole, sour cream mixture, salsa, lettuce, cheese, tomatoes, green onion, black olives; top with dollop of plain sour cream. Dip from outer edge to center.

There are about a million versions of this dip. You could google "Layered Mexican Dip" or just make up your own, using your favorite items.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Labels and Blogger

Blogger has a new feature: Labels.

If you look to the sidebar, you'll see a list of labels. For example, if you click on "Canning," then all of my posts on the topic of canning will pop up.

Pretty neat!

Should make this blog much more user friendly and helpful for you.

Friday, January 26, 2007

About: Frugal Living: Plastic Bags

Whoda ever thunk to use plastic bags to make bathroom mats. For real! Go here to find useful ways to re-use your plastic grocery bags.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Kiss More, Earn More, and Live More

I heard on the radio this evening about a study which shows that men who kiss their wives goodbye every morning live 5 years longer and earn 20% more in wages. So, ladies, don't let your husband leave for work without first getting your kiss!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Stretching the Icing

If you use the store bought cake frosting, whip it up a couple of minutes with your mixer. It'll double in size and go twice as far. Plus, it'll be lighter and fluffier. And, hey, if you're on a diet, it's a good thing as you'll use half the icing and take in half the calories!

Monday, January 15, 2007

Emergency Kitchen Substitutions

Do you ever find yourself all geared up and ready to make a favorite recipe but then discover you're staring at an empty container of a needed ingredient? Ugh. You don't want to run out to the store right now. So what do you do?

Find out here: Emergency Kitchen Substitutions by Debora Taylor-Hough

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Free Book Swap

I received this tip from a Thrifty Homeschooler member:

This is such a cool website. I am going to use it for school. You list your books to give away...just using the ISBN number on the back of the book...and give it away for free...and you get points to get your own choice of books for free. Only cost is cheap book shipping. I think it is an AWESOME idea. Just thought I would share it with you all.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Buying, Selling, and Trading Gift Cards

Did you get a gift card for Christmas? Perhaps you received a Best Buy card, but what you really wanted was Sams. Or, maybe, you'd like to pick up a gift card to a favorite store for a discount. Or sell your card for cash. If any of this pertains to you, then you've got to read this article: Exchange That Funky Gift Card.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Homeschooling and Libraries Interview

My interview with world famous librarian and author Adrienne Furness is running at her blog: Homeschooling and Libraries. It's a seven parter.

Low Cal and Low Cost

Given my New Year's resolution to get my weight under control, I was thrilled to find this website: Healthy Hillbilly Housewife: Low-Calorie, Low-Cost, Family Friendly Food for Folks with More Brains than Bucks.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Calculating Interests Costs and More

Thrifty Homeschooler member Kathy Jo sends the following tip:

Have you ever heard of the website It is a great site to get all kinds of financial information. I found the calculators section to be very helpful. This section offers topics like "how much home can you afford?," "renting vs. buying," "auto payment calculator," "pay-down debt advisor," "calculate the real cost of your debt," and many more. I really like the credit card calculator: just enter the balance of the credit card, interest rate, and monthly payment, and see exactly how long it will take to pay that card off.

Hope this helps for the "Keeping it Frugal in 2007"!

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Portal for Free Online Printables

My friend Yvonne sends the following email:

I thought you'd appreciate this weblink for your thrifty homeschooler. It will take a while to look at everything available, but what a wonderful resource for everyday! Just be certain to notify your readers to take the time to read the important copyright information, first.

Printables Online: Everything Fit to Print

Thanks Yvonne!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Pet Costs

I read recently the average cost of raising a medium-size dog to the age of eleven is $6,400. Something to seriously consider before assuming a new pet.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Happy Anniversary Carnival of Homeschooling!

The Carnival of Homeschooling is celebrating its one-year anniversary. Considering the immense popularity of the Carnival, I'm surprised that it's only been one year.

Why Homeschool has put together an awesome anniversary edition of the Carnival: Week 53. Make sure to check it out. Fun, fun, fun.

Re-Use Tip: Old Washing Machine Barrels

Thrifty Homeschooler list member Jessica sends the following tip:

We bought an old washing machine barrel from a used furniture store for 5 dollars. We set it on an old tire rim we owned. Now it is our outdoor fire pit. The little drain holes on the sides allow the "glow" of the fire to shine out, too. It really was a great purchase. You don't have to set it on anything either. You can just put it directly on some dirt. We have used it for several years and we have had some good times. We put our swing by it so we can all curl up in a blanket by it. We roast marshmallows, wieners, etc., on the fire. The kids beg us to light it all fall and winter. My husband likes to light it on Friday nights and listen to the high school football game on the radio. Sometimes we put the kids to bed and then go outside and enjoy the fire by ourselves. We have fun when we have company over to visit by our fire too. You don't have to worry about it breaking like those expensive chiminias. It is not as pretty, but it still looks good and serves its purpose well. We haven't gotten to enjoy it much this year b/c it has been so warm. But we are all looking forward to it.

PS-when you buy one don't let the seller know what you are using it for (if it is from a store) Or they might "catch on" and jack up that price.

Thank you Jessica for the tip!

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy New Year

I've added some new thrifty websites and blogs to the sidebar. I hope they will help you have a thrifty 2007:

Thrifty Mommy

Dollar Stretcher

Frugal Mom

Frugal Times