Category: Frugal Living Tips

TMR Frugal Living Tip #92

Today’s thrifty living tip is to use a bag as a paint tray liner. I don’t have any pictures, but basically use a plastic shopping bag or even a garbage bag as a liner for the paint tray. It’s much cheaper than buying those plastic throw away ones at the store. It is much easier to clean up when you are done. I just put the paint tray inside the bag and tie at the end. It stays in place, and all I have to do is untie and throw the mess away. Try it for your next painting project.

Tiramisu as My Birthday Cake

Divine Tiramisu

My mom is an amazing baker. She makes all her delicious desserts from scratch. When she asked me what I wanted for my birthday, then I immediately replied Tiramisu please. I recently asked her where she found the recipe so I could share it on my blog. She got it off the back of the bag of lady fingers she uses (the brand will be listed in the recipe below). The Tiramisu cake was just as divine as it looks in the picture.

*Note: She usually uses Brandy but did use Marsala which made it taste a little stronger. You could smell the wine more than the brandy. Strange but true.

Tiramisu Recipe

To make tiramisu begin by making zabaglione cream as follows:

5 egg yolks from Large Grade eggs – 1/4 cup sugar – 1/2 cup Marsala

In the top part of a double boiler, beat eggs and sugar together until the mixture is pale yellow in color. In the bottom part of the double boiler, bring water to a boil then reduce heat to simmer. Place egg yolk mixture over water and gradually add Marsala, beating continuously. Scrape bottom and sides of pan occasionally and cook 6-10 minutes until soft mounds can be formed. Transfer to bowl, cover and refrigerate 30 minutes.

1 cup whipping cream, chilled

4 tbsp. sugar

1 lb. Mascarpone Cheese (if unavailable, substitute two 8 oz pckgs. cream cheese combined with 1/2 cup whipping cream and 5 tbsp. Sour cream)

1 recipe Zabaglione

2 cups (16 oz) freshly brewed espresso or other strong brew coffee

1/2 cup Brandy or Marsala

1 tbsp. vanilla

2 7oz pkg Alessi Savoiardi Cookies

3 tbsp. cocoa powder

*Chocolate curls or edible flowers for garnish (optional)

Whip Cream with 2 tbsp sugar until soft peaks form. Fold in Mascarpone and Zabaglione and mix till well blended. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour. On a separate bowl, mix espresso, 2 tbsp sugar, Brandy and vanilla. Arrange 16 cookies on the bottom of a 9″x13″ pan. Carefully spoon about 1 tbsp of the coffee mixture over each cookie so they are well saturated but not falling apart. Spoon 1/3 cheese mixture over cookies and sprinkle with 1 tbsp cocoa. Repeat two more times ending with cocoa. Cover and refrigerate at least 5  hours or overnight so that cookies can soften as they absorb moisture. Garnish and serve. Makes 12 servings.

*My mom does not use either one for garnish and just leaves the cocoa powder on top.

Enjoy the wonderful tiramisu cake and please let me know what you think.

TMR Frugal Living Tip #91

oxycleanToday’s thrifty living tip is to use OxiClean to get out old stubborn stains. I used to sell clothes that I would buy and resell on Ebay. I came across clothes that would have set-in stains which is hard to get out. I would make a paste of OxiClean with a little water in a plastic bowl and just spread a little onto the stain. I used this on colored clothes, and it never left bleach stains. I used the regular OxiClean since the color safe version didn’t exist. I would let it sit for 30 minutes and just throw it in the washer. It always got out the stains.

I also used another trick for whites and light pastel colors. I would boil water and pour into one of those plastic tubs (the free ones from the hospital), and dissolve 1 tbs of OxiClean before adding the stained parts of the garments. I didn’t leave too long in this mixture, and usually let the garments soak for about 10-20 minutes. I made this batch when I had several garments, and the water stayed hot for a while. It was extremely rare for neither process to remove a stain.

I still like the other stain removers for new stains, but this Oxiclean method was the best I found for removing old or set-in stains. What is your method of removing old stains from clothing?

TMR Frugal Living Tip #90

bakingsodatowhitenteeth
Today’s thrifty living tip is to whiten teeth with baking soda.  I know you can purchase toothpaste made with baking soda, but I don’t find they work all that well. Those whitening strips are very expensive even with coupons and sales.

I find the very best way to whiten my teeth is to use plain baking soda. I make a paste with a teaspoon of baking soda, a pinch of salt, and add a little water. Use that paste to brush your teeth. You could also just sprinkle a little on a wet toothbrush. I find the paste cleans better. I then rinse my mouth well with water. You can use a little hydrogen peroxide, but be careful to never ingest peroxide (even food grade). I would suggest if you ever want to swish with peroxide then mix it with an equal amount of water.

I only use this mixture once to twice a month. Baking soda is abrasive and will wear away the enamel if used often. My dentist reassured me it is safe to use but not daily. He recommends no more than once a week at most, but said every other week would be safer. My teeth are not overly stained so I stick to once a month.

Have you tried baking soda as a tooth whitener? If you have, then what were your results?

Spring is in the Air

I realize many people reading this post title are thinking I have lost my mind! They are looking out their windows to see snow covering the ground. There isn’t a hint of spring to be seen.

Here in the deep south, we are seeing a much different sight with spring already here. We did not have much of a winter this year. It was pretty mild, and this is the warmest January I can remember in years. January is normally one of the coldest months of the whole year in South Louisiana, but not this year. We are getting a day or two of cold weather, but then it warms back up to the 70’s and flirting with the 80’s! I have even had to run my air conditioner a few times already this month. That is really crazy!

The biggest sign of spring are the clover patches in my grass, and many trees are already blooming along with my azalea bushes. The picture above are blooms from one of my azalea bushes. They are so pretty. I usually do not see this sight until mid to late February. My husband actually had to cut the grass earlier this month. Again our grass is usually dead and no clover in the yard.

All of this spring weather has gotten to me thinking about my spring garden. If you want to grow your own transplants of tomatoes or bell peppers, then in Zone 9 you would have started earlier this month. I decided to skip growing tomatoes as we do not really eat them. I simply do not have the time to make sauces. I am growing bell peppers, but I have my fil giving me some next month as I only need a few plants. I usually chop them up to freeze. The main plant I want to grow this year is cucumbers. I eat at least 2-3 weekly in my salads, but I want to make Refrigerator Sweet Pickle Chips again this year. It was a huge hit with everyone. I will also get some blackberry shoots from my fil as I love fresh berries. One year I plan to tackle growing strawberries. I think I will also grow some red potatoes as well. Nothing like harvesting fresh vegetables and fruits.

Are you seeing signs of spring in your area, or does old man winter look like he is staying? Are you planning your spring garden yet? If you are, then please share with me what you are growing. I love reading about what others are doing in different parts of the country and world.

 

TMR Frugal Living Tip #89

conservewaterwhilebathingToday’s thrifty living tip is to conserve water by bathing the kids together or if they are too old, then bathe them back to back unless they are very dirty. If they are that dirty, then I might think about rinsing them off before bathing them. As a child, I remember taking a bathe with my brother until I was about three or four. My mom did it to save time and money.

Another way to save money on water and conserve water is only fill the tub partially. I never fill mine more than half and sometimes less. We are all taking showers now with a low flow shower head so I can turn it off while soaping up.

One more tip to conserve money even while showering might be to take a shower with your significant other. I know it sounds a little risque for a family orientated blog, but I’m just merely pointing out the fact that it does conserve water plus puts more money in your wallet instead of going down the drain. I hope these tips help you to find ways to conserve water plus time and money.

Give Your Furniture a Makeover

nightstandmakeover
Last May I posted about remodeling my house. We painted almost every room in the house, put down new vinyl floors, painted kitchen cabinets, fixed cracks above the door frames, and put in a new bathroom sink and toilet. I bought new furniture for our bedroom which I got on clearance. We only had nightstands, and we needed a dresser. I wanted a nice set of matching furniture for our bedroom. When it came time to redo our son’s bedroom, we didn’t want to buy him all new furniture. He has lots of shelving in his closet so he doesn’t need a dresser. He already had a couple of mismatched pieces of furniture in his room. He had an entertainment center and a nightstand. They were still in great condition but in dire need of a makeover.

We watch a lot of remodeling shows on DIY and HGTV channels. My husband had already completed the kitchen cabinet hardware project (you can read about it here). The obvious solution to our problem was to paint the furniture. It was going to be a lot of work with sanding, priming, and then painting. I already did that with the kitchen cabinets and was not in the mood to do another big painting project. My husband had a brilliant idea to solve our problem. He decided to spray paint the furniture. We already had the black satin spray paint from the kitchen hardware project. My son’s room was gray with diamond plated outlet covers. Hubby thought black furniture would compliment the room nicely. He was exactly correct. I told you we watch a lot of remodeling shows on tv.

closeupofdetails

The spray paint had primer already mixed in so no need for another step. He did rough up the nightstand with a 120 sanding block. Then he wiped it down thoroughly. He used a satin black finish which brought out beautiful details of the piece. He used two coats which dried very quickly outside. It was a very sunny day with little humidity which helps it to dry faster. The one mistake we made was not using a clear coat protector afterwards. The nightstand has a few chips as you can see in the pictures. I am going to wait until spring to add another light coat and then apply a clear protector coat. To further protect the top of the nightstand I had a glass top cut by the local glass shop. It cost me $12 plus tax. I think it adds a nice touch to the nightstand. I also did the same thing to my nightstands and my bathroom vanity. It’s a built-in vanity to the wall. I spent around $80 for all four items. It makes cleaning so much easier and protects the pieces more from water stains.

glasstopThe project was very easy and inexpensive. I paid around $15 for two cans of spray paint to makeover the entertainment stand and nightstand. I didn’t take pictures of the entertainment stand, but it looks just as nice. Hubby also spray painted the drawer pull a nice silver which gives it a wow factor. It was just a plain brass color. We already had the silver spray paint color. I am planning to do the same thing for my living room end table and entertainment center. I promise to do more of a step by step with pictures for those pieces. This project extends the life of furniture you already own. Why spend more money when you can just give your furniture a makeover. Do you have any furniture you would like to makeover? I would love to read about it.