Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Get More Out of Your House Plants

I really like having plants around. I heard a study recently that said having plants around you has a de-stressing effect so I am squeezing as many plants into our place as I can. Maybe it will counter the stress inducing effect of the constant highway noise of the 401.

I am fortunate enough to finally have a bright apartment where plants grow well. In the past our places were too shady to grow anything or the windows would not accommodate them. Though decorative plants are nice, and I have a few that serve only that purpose, I like my plants to earn their keep and save me money.


 
I have a row of cabbage growing in our bedroom. The blue tones in the cabbage incorporate really well  with the rest of the room which has blue accents and pillows. And while the cabbage looks good in the room, we do still intend to eat the mature plants and then start again.


In the living room, we have eight pots of herbs. I was buying a lot of fresh herbs for cooking and I hated how pricey they were and how quickly they went south in the fridge. Now if I need some fresh herbs I can just harvest a few leaves from my mini garden. It should save me about $3-7 per week.



I purchased six of these as potted plants which cost $12.00 in total. I grew one from seed (takes forever) and since I use so much cilantro I tried buying a bunch from the produce section, snipping off some roots and planting them. It worked too. So if you don't have potted herbs at your grocery store, you can try just planting some roots.



Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Relief For My Teething Cutie

My little kiddo has been having some trouble with his teeth coming in. He seemed rather drawn to sucking on cold stuff so I dampened some of his tiny face cloths, rolled them up and froze them. Now when he seems to have teething pain I give him a frozen cloth and he can suck on it and kind of bite it a bit and that keeps him happy.

Monday, September 24, 2012

A Room Divider with Storage

We have an "open concept" apartment which basically means we don't have enough walls. My husband needs an office area so we rigged up this fancy room divider so he can have an awesome little alcove which I totally use during the day (I'm on his computer right now :). This is not the cheapest DIY, there is an initial investment of about $60 for the skinny bookshelves and about $30 for the wallpaper but you can choose cheaper paper. We could have just purchased a room divider for $70 but then we would not have had the excess storage that this project brings. Gotta put DVD's, CD's, computer games, books and RC cars somewhere. It's pretty messy in the back but it is tucked away so I don't mind it.

Here's how to make your own...
1. Purchase and assemble some skinny bookshelves. We got ours at Canadian Tire. You could do this with any kind of book shelf , even thicker ones.
2. Buy some wallpaper that you like and a piece of foam board if you want a gap between the book cases (costs $1.00 at the dollar store).
3. Position your bookshelves where you like them and measure any gap between the two. Cut out your foam board to fit in between the book shelves.Tape in place.
4. Cut your wallpaper to fit. If you need two sheets, attach them where they meet in the centre on the back with some sturdy tape. I used electrical tape but there are better tapes out there. Then tape the paper to the back of your shelves. You could probably use a spray adhesive if you have some.


Sunday, September 23, 2012

Meal and Grocery Organization: Free PDF Organizer!

Being organized saves time and money. Taking a bit of time to plan out your meals for the week means you only have to go to the grocery store once and you have everything you need on hand. I like to separate my grocery list by sections so I do not find myself running all over the store multiple times. I have used meal and grocery list templates before but they are normally high in colour and I just don't want to waste colour ink on something like this so I have attached a black and white one. This one is very simple and should not clash with anyone's kitchen decor.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Make Your Own Aloe Juice

I had not planned on making aloe juice when I saw this giant aloe leaf for sale at No Frills. I just saw it and thought it looked neat and maybe I could eat it. I failed to find any good recipes for it so it sat in my fridge for a while until I saw how to make aloe juice on TV. I think it was on Steven & Chris but I don't remember. Though there are a few steps involved none are difficult and aloe juice is good for you. One leaf makes a lot of "juice" so it is pretty economical and there are no stabilizers in it liked the bottled aloe juice. Aloe helps keep your digestive system healthy so be warned, if you have never had aloe juice before it may effect you in some way. I did not notice any affect so my guess is the juice is not too strong.
 
Step 1: Cut off the base and top of the leaf. Trim off the sides as well. Place in a pitcher and let the bitter juice drain out for at least 30 minutes. Discard the bitter juice.

Step 2: Carefully cut off (or fillet) the straighter green bit.

Step 3: Once off, scrape out the innards with a spoon. 

Step 4: Add the jelly to a pitcher and fill with water.

Step 5: Let it sit for 6 hours, I put mine in the fridge for this. 

Step 6: Strain the infused water into another pitcher and it is ready to drink! Keep any excess jelly as you can add more water to that jelly to make more juice. You can reuse the jelly over and over again until it all dissolves away. 

Classy on a Budget: Replacing Some Dingy Closet Knobs

We have doors to our kitchen which I think must have been put there to keep kids out as nothing in the kitchen is baby proof-able. On the doors are some old, dingy knobs that always look dirty and are partially painted. They really take away from the rest of the room.

I took a trip to Lows and found me some nice, new, shinny knobs and screwed those on instead. It took no time and looks a lot cleaner. When we eventually move again I will be taking these with me.
 


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Super Creamy Vegan Beer and Mozzarella Mac and Cheese

Super Creamy Vegan Beer and Mozzarella Mac and Cheese
I have made this recipe twice now and it keeps getting better. The amounts are estimates because I am still working on it and when I am developing my own recipes I don't usually measure. I will next time I make it. This is a recipe that doesn't need exactness so I am going to post it now anyway.

Ingredients

  • pasta (enough for 4 people)
  • 4 Tb oil
  • 5 Tb flour
  • 3/4 cup strong beer 
  • Water
  • 1/2 package mozzarella Daiya
  • Pinch red pepper flakes 
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1Tb nutritional yeast 
Directions 
  1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile heat oil in separate pot.
  2. Gradually stir in flour. Gradually stir in beer. 
  3. Add a bit of water and stir. Continue to add water and stir until you have a creamy white sauce.
  4. Stir in cheese, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper and nutritional yeast.
  5. Mix finished pasta into the sauce and serve with a sprinkle of paprika. 
  6. Eat some awesome mac n' cheese.
*****UPDATE*****
A sprinkle of paprika adds a lot of flavour to the dish. You can substitute cheddar Daiya for the mozzarella for a beer and cheddar version.