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Can’t Afford Healthy Eating? Maybe You’re Doing It Wrong. August 15, 2015

Posted by Sindy in Cooking, Health, Money, Saving.
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Her bill was $60, mine was $12, yet she couldn’t afford to eat healthy? What was going on?!

The Truth about “I Can’t Afford to Eat Healthy.”

While I was checking out at the grocery store the other day I overheard the conversation between two college students behind me in line. She was telling the young man that she couldn’t afford to eat healthy. I had heard this statement before, and it seriously puzzled me.

“The first week I moved here I bought a week’s worth of grocery. It cost me $60!”

Wait, $60?! $60 for a week’s worth of groceries?!

(more…)

Cupcakes with Extra Icing January 10, 2012

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I’m not the biggest cupcake fan, but I really liked this idea.

This morning on the news (NPR to be precise) they mentioned a guy at an airport with a cupcake in a jar. I thought the idea was to put the cupcake into a tall jar and then fill the rest of the jar with icing. That way you’d get like 3 times more icing than even a mile-high frosted cupcake.  (I personally would prefer whipped cream instead of icing though.) But then I Googled it, and I found something way more fun:

A new trend called Cupcake in a Jar!

Cupcake in a Jar

In case you can’t tell, you’re basically making a two-layer cake out of cupcakes and using a jar so it stays all together. And the possibilities sound fun to me! Can you imagine it with cream cheese, or raspberry jam, or a cupcake-sized lush cake?

What are some of your ideas? What other things can we stack in a jar for a tasty, individual-sized treat?

Fave Instructables January 28, 2010

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This week, it’s all about keeping warm (and a few other things). I often tell people I’m related to the Abominable Snowman cause I just can’t keep warm. Maaaaaybe some of these will help.

It’s not just warm stuff though. There’s a thread rack which I’m going to put high on my projects list, and a mini meat smoker.

Ski Bike

Ski Bike
Ha ha. This reminds me of one winter I was at a camp lodge with some friends and one of the guys brought a VCR and an old, portable, 3″ TV. On that small, and unusual setup we watch the Beatles movie Help. I thought it was strange, but I always did like the ski bike. What a way to go down the slopes – while sitting down – without getting your backside frozen.

Custom Fleece Hats

Custom Fleece Hats
My brother learned how to sew by making his own fleece hats several years ago, but these designs cut the cake. 😀 They’re so fun! I love the roman helmet! With this you could do just about anything! (Hmmm, a knight’s helmet, a dragon, funky hair, or perhaps an egghead – looks like an egg frying on your head ;))

Electric Heated Pants

Electric Heated Clothes
All right! Finally! I was thinking of making some clothes by just taking an electric blanket and cutting it up (it probably wouldn’t work though – too much electrical troubles), but this is such a superior way to do it that there just isn’t a comparison. Hmmm, perhaps I could make an electric business suit. Maybe then I’d finally stay warm in the office.

Warning: Be careful when heating with electricity. The heat is made by purposely creating a short. That, and since it is combined with flammable fabric, this can easily cause a fire. Never leave clothing unattended while it is on, and NEVER SLEEP IN THESE CLOTHES!!!!!

Make Your Own Snuggie

Make Your Own Snuggie
Another great Instructable for staying warm, and saving money. Just as I thought, this is really easy to make – it’s just a blanket with sleeves. I personally would make it out of an acrylic blanket (or better yet, an acrylic/wool blend) though since polyester fleece is one of the coldest fabrics on Earth.

Quillow - Part Pillow, Part Quilt

Part Pillow, Part Quilt – It’s a Quillow!
I used to have one of these! (Can’t remember where it is now.) We called it a quillow. Sometimes we’d fold out the blanket, stuff the pocket with something like a couple t-shirts, and then use it like a light-weight sleeping bag (but of course it wasn’t really a bag). Fun times. 😀 Basically it’s just a blanket with a pocket for folding the blanket into for storage. It works best if you size the pocket mathematically (something like 1/3 of the width of the blanket and 1/4 the height) to make it easier to fold the blanket into it.

Thread Rack

Thread Rack
All Right! The perfect Instructable for any sewer! I so need one of these! It’s basically a board with dowels sticking out at an angle to hold the thread. This person covered the board with fabric so they can store their needles on there too. Since I’m just starting out in the sewing arena, making my own thread rack would let me make a smaller one for my smaller collection. Plus I’m constantly loosing my needles. This is also great for needles with some thread still on them.

DIY Mini Meat Smoker

DIY Mini Meat Smoker
“Sorry sir, I don’t smoke.” “Then what’s that hickory scent.” “Oh, that? That’s my new mini meat smoker that I just made this morning. I’m cooking some hickory smoked ribs right now.” Oh yeah, this sounds way too good. XD (And my brother thought his jerky was good. Just you wait bro…)

Favorite Instructables of the Week January 7, 2010

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Slim pickin’s today, but there are still plenty to keep you busy this weekend.

Pallet Sled

Make a Sled Out of a Pallet
My Mom is going to love this one! She’s been trying to make a good sled for firewood for a while now, and her latest idea includes using a pallet. I’m definitely going to print this one up for her!

Programmable Bracelet

A Programmable Bracelet
When I first saw this I thought “Okay, why? What does it do?” Luckily the author mentioned a few things one could do with this little bracelet with flashing lights. My favorite is to use it as a timer, particularly when you may not want something noisy (the author suggests using it when giving a presentation – it tells you when your time is ending soon). What a wonderful idea! (I’m terrible at keeping within the time when I give presentations.)

Homemade Clothing Label

Make Your Own Clothing Labels
All right! Why spend good money for those silly little “Handmade by Grandma” tags (if you go into a fabric store, you should be able to spot a pamphlet to order the things), when you can make far cooler ones? Now if I could just figure out how to label my lace items… (Anyone have any ideas?)

Invaders Cookies

Invaders Cookies!
Okay, I’m terrible at the game, but these cookies I can do. My favorite part? Versatility! I can use the little squares idea to make any pixelated picture. I could even use many different food colorings to make it more aesthetically pleasing. Hmm, I wonder how big a cookie I could make…

Favorite Instructables of the Week December 31, 2009

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Instructables.com listed their absolute best Instructables of 2009 this week. I’ve been browsing them all day. Sadly I’ve already blogged most of the good ones 😦 but I did find these awesome ones:

Mexican Wedding Cookies

Mexican Wedding Cookies
These are some of the best cookies ever! So soft, and loaded with nuts! 😀

Homemade Stickers

Make Your Own Stickers!
Although these are the wet-then-stick kind of stickers, this is still really cool. (For the ready-to-stick kind, just use double stick tape, and store the stickers on a sheet of vinyl.)

Home Screen Printing

Screen Printing for Under $10
Nice! I’ve been wanting to do screen printing for a long time now, but wow is it expensive! Hey Provo Craft – Eat your heart out!

Creature Hood

Creature Hood
ALittleStranger is at it again! She makes such super cute stuff! This cute little hood would be perfect for a critter hoodie. Let’s see, add some faux fur around the cuffs, a little tail, even include some cute mittens with pawprints on them!

Magnetic Paper Dolls

Magnetic Paper Dolls
What do you know? I didn’t know they made magnet sheets for our printer (can’t imagine that they’d go through very easily though, either that or they’re probably very weak – I guess I’ll have to check them out). Anyway, my Mom is addicted to these things and she would love it if I made her some.

Recipe – Chocomallow Logs – What Christmas Tastes Like to Me December 22, 2009

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Chocomallow LogsTo me, the flavor of Christmas tastes like fruit flavored marshmallows, chocolate, and nuts. It’s surrounded with Grandparents and family and sits at the kiddie table downstairs. It’s coats on Grandma’s bed and the hope we get a glimpse of the cats underneath. To me, the flavor of Christmas is called a Chocomallow Log.

One of my favorite Christmas memories were the Chocomallow Logs that Grandma would make. She only made a couple of them, so she would slice them up and give just a slice or two to the grandkids for a special treat. Sadly she stopped making them a few years ago, so I got the recipe from her.

Her recipe used raw egg, so I found an alternative one online

But after some experience I have written the following adaptation:

Chocomallow Logs:

Ingredients:
1/2 bag chocolate chips (remember, you can use any flavor, but I’ll have to keep trying the white chocolate ;))
1/3 cup butter (I prefer butter)
3 cups marshmallows (Grandma always used the fruit-flavored Kraft marshmallows)
1 cup chopped nuts (remember, it doesn’t have to just be nuts (except white chocolate with toffee bits was a little too much))
About 1/4 cup powdered sugar

Tools:
1 glass bowl for melting chocolate in microwave
1 big bowl for mixing marshmallow mix with melted chocolate
1 spatula/spoon (I found this to be the most useful)
4 mini loaf pans for forming the logs
3 square sheets of wax paper
1 tiny bowl to hold the powdered sugar
1 dinner spoon for scooping and sprinkling the powdered sugar
1 measuring cup for the marshmallows
1 knife to cut the butter
1 plastic cutting board to cut the butter on
1 nut chopper (if needed)
And of course all the cleaning stuff for afterwords

Directions:

  1. Make a stack alternating the mini loaf pans and the wax paper. Put a weight in the top one (I usually use the other half of the chocolate chips, still in the bag). This forms the wax paper to the loaf pans and prepares things so you can make the logs without a huge mess as you get with the other recipe.
  2. Cut, chop, and measure everything out in their correct bowls (the chocolate and the butter go in the smaller glass bowl, the marshmallows and nuts go in the big bowl). Don’t forget the powdered sugar in the tiny bowl with the dinner spoon.
  3. Microwave the chocolate/butter for 1 – 1 1/2 minutes just until the butter is melted.
  4. Stir the chocolate/melted butter with the spatula spoon until the chocolate is melted and smooth (except the white chocolate seemed to go kind of grainy-smooth).
  5. Scoop the chocolate mix into the marshmallow mix with the spatula spoon, and stir it up until everything is thoroughly covered. Don’t take very long cause you’ll need the chocolate to stay melted for the next quick step.
  6. Now, hopefully the chocolate is still good and melted. Quickly lay out the three mini loaf pans with a now-formed wax paper (make sure it keeps the form!) and sprinkle a little powdered sugar in the wax paper.
  7. Now to get your hands dirty! 😀 With your nice clean hands divide the chocolate marshmallow mix into the three loaf pans.
  8. When that’s all done and you’ve scooped what chocolate you can into the loaf pans then quickly wash up your hands to prepare for the next step.
  9. Now sprinkle the top of the logs with a bit more powdered sugar, and then tightly (but not too tightly – the wax paper likes to tear) wrap up the logs in the wax paper into a lovely little log bundle. I like to turn them over in the pans so the flaps don’t pop open.
  10. Stick ’em in da freezer and let ’em freeze solid!

That’s it! After a couple hours they should be ready to take out and either wrap up with little bows and gift tags, or sliced up and served. Yum!

The Versatile Pudding Mix – A Very Delicious Post P: December 15, 2009

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Okay, for those who keep asking me what’s with the wierd emoticon – it’s licking it’s lips.

Now on to the yummy stuff. 😀

Once upon a time, about a year or two ago, I woke up one morning after dreaming that someone made some cookies with pudding. Imagine the creamy flavor of pudding with the chewy goodness of a cookie then you’ll start dreaming about pudding cookies too. Miraculously I thought to search online for such a decadent cookie. Like that M&M commercial says this time of year: They do exist!!!

Oh yeah! Good stuff! But what’s even better is that there are so many other goodies that are flavored with a simple box of pudding mix, and just change the pudding mix &/or the chocolate chips (or other inclusions like nuts) for a brand new and unique recipe!

Pudding Cookies – Try these with vanilla pudding mix and milk chocolate chips – Now that’s good stuff! 😀
Oatmeal Pudding Cookies – Even more yummy chewiness 🙂
No-Bake Oatmeal Pudding Cookies – Cool! A no-bake variety!
Pudding Cake – It says it’s pistachio, but remember that you can use any flavor pudding.
Banana Pudding Cake – Wow, this one sounds soooo good. Hmmm, I wonder if you can use different fruits. Maybe you could make an uber moist applesauce spice cake (they’re already super moist, so maybe adding pudding mix would make it uber moist)!
Pudding Ice Cream – Yep, I mentioned this recipe some time ago (I think it was in one of those “My Favorite Instructables of the Week” posts, but I can’t remember which one), but oh I can’t wait to try it!

Favorite Instructables of the Week December 11, 2009

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Okay, first off are some Christmas decorating Instructables:
How to Pick and Decorate a Christmas Tree – All right! This one’s pretty useful. Although I kind of have the decorating part down (except I still have no idea how some people decorate their trees to the point where you can hardly see the tree – how do they do that?!), but I still have no clue how to pick a tree. It’s always either been an artificial tree, or someone else has picked it.
USB LED Mini Tree – Make your office festive! (And use up yet another of your scarse USB ports.) This is a cute and cool little tree. Now to find an Instructable on how to make one of those USB rocket toys. 😉
Hand-Blown Glass Ornaments – Oh wow! This would be awesome to do. If only I had the right equipment.

And speaking of Christmas decorations, even though it isn’t an Instructable, I thought I’d include this link to my favorite Christmas lighting (the house on the right). I will definitely have to do this when I get my own house.

Continuing on with some more Instructables:
Creature Scarf – All right! alittlestranger is at it again. She comes up with the funnest things. I’m quickly becoming a big fan of hers. This time she made a scarf with a cute monster face on it.
Animated Christmas Gift Package – Haha! This is Classic! It has a scrolling message screen on it, a little toy car going around in circles (which I don’t really care about), and a speaker than when you get too close to the package gives a warning message! How great is that?! I’m surprised this guy didn’t including flashing LEDs or something like that.
Playhouse Made of Pallets – Now that’s what I call freecycling! Pallets are practically wall frames already. In fact, I heard of one lady who made her $10,000 house (her real house that she lives in) with pallets (now if only I could find the link again).
Candy Cane Chocolate Popcorn – This is the best stuff EVER!!!!! I am droolling on the keyboard just thinking about it! I might have to make some when I get home. (Except with a little adaptation – I’m allergic to red food coloring so I can’t use the candy canes. I’ll have to use peppermint flavoring instead.)
Artist Warm Up Exercise – Hmmm, this is interesting. This is what you do when you’re stuck and you don’t know what do draw. I might have to do this some time (except I don’t drink coffee, maybe I could get a spoonful from my boss…)
Surprise Rumbling Gift Box – LOL! Got an incurable gift-peaker? This might cure them – when they grab it, it rumbles, and if they open it, it takes a photo for evidence. Nice!
Gift Bags from Cereal Boxes – Okay, I thought this was going to be how to make a gift bag with a cereal theme (you know, like cut the top off of Life cereal and add some straps or something like that), but this is even better. In this Instructable you cover the cereal box with your choice of paper. Thus you make a unique and extra sturdy gift bag! You have to see the map & duct tape manly version! Come to think of it, you could do this with just about any cardboard box.
Digital Picture Frames – What better gift for someone you don’t know what else to give them than a digital picture frame? Here are a bunch of Instructables on how to make your own.

What I Did This Weekend! – Drawing, Family, and Cookies! November 30, 2009

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Wow, it was sure a nice looooooong weekend. I got a bunch of stuff done (mostly laundry, drawing, and visiting with family). Most of the time was used up with my drawing homework. I’ve been drawing my face, so I’m getting really tired of my chin and teeth. I’m really amazed how great they’re turning out (they look almost photographic!), but wow are they taking forever. Don’t worry, I plan to post them to DeviantArt when the class is done.

I baked some cookies on Friday. I made Oatmeal Pistachio Pudding Cookies with White Chocolate Chips! YYYYYYuuuuuuummmmmmmmmyyyyyyyy!!!!!! Most of my family are now big fans especially my little nephew who doesn’t eat much (he’s been eating a lot lately though, so that might account for his really liking my cookies, we’ll have to see). My Dad’s work didn’t think much of them though. Probably because I forgot to tell him what flavor they were so the guys were leery about the green stuff. 😉 I’ll have to remember that.

Saturday I was back to drawing. Sadly it took me too long so I didn’t get much else done. I did get my chores done, and I looked for my favorite BBQ sauce recipe – Eastern South Carolina BBQ Sauce! – but I didn’t find it. T_T (If anyone knows where I can find another copy… – I got it from a Macey’s Little Theatre Class a few years ago.)

Oh, and I finally got the last part of the Christmas presents! (Sorry, I can’t say what they are in case one of the recipients is reading this.) I just need to sew up some caddies for them, assemble them, and wrap them up and then the biggest part of my Christmas list is done.