‘Recycling’ Food

We’ve all done it.

Mrs. G always made a roast chicken on Friday nights, and after the meal she’d collect the ‘what’s left’.

The bones went to make soup with some bits of meat, but most of the meat would be cut thin and then cooked in a ‘fricasee’ with tiny meat balls and rice.

Once you adopt the ‘recycle’ policy, you dovetail meals. You save a lot of money.

You don’t need to take new vegetables for the soup, you use all the left overs; that spoon of peas from Tuesday, those broccoli stems from Wednesday, the corn from Thursday, the smallest bits contribute.

As I mentioned before in once you get the hang of it, you can dovetail your meals.

You don’t have to buy a tomato for the sauce, use thosed removed pieces when you were making stuffed tomatos. You can use that leftover stir fry as part of the stuffing of those tomatos.

One of the most useful things to do is to make smaller portions. If you must, buy smaller plates so that less looks like more. This helps in fighting obesity.

You begin by learning just how much you need to eat to not feel hungry as well as the others in your family and you set the portion to that size. If you do it right, the eater won’t notice that the amount of food is 20% less.

After a time you can cut it a bit further. There should be nothing left on the plate, and the portion should be just that bit less.

No food should ever be thrown out.

Scraping a plate into the garbage should never be done. Do not waste food. You don’t waste it if you serve just enough to get the empty plates and what you keep back goes for another meal.

Cutting Down on Electricity

Getting solar panels or using a windmill or biogas should be on the ‘To Do’ list.
But until you do, appreciate that right now you waste a hell of a lot of electricity without even thinking about it.

Let me give you an example; during the summer months, Jim had his air con on to keep the house at 75o. During the Winter his heating at 80o.

Huh?

During the winter, wear a lot of clothes so that your thermostat doesn’t have to be above 70o. During the Summer, wear thin garments and get used to 84o.

(Yeah, just like people lived in the 1950s when there wasn’t much air conditioning, heating and people lived more ‘green’.)

When the ambient temperature is in the 70 – 85 range, open your windows. Enjoy fresh air. It is far better for you than the stale air in hermetically sealed rooms.

When the temperature drops to 68o inside, close the windows, turn on the heat to 70o. When the temperature climbs above 85o set your air con to 84o.

Get used to being a tiny bit cold and a tiny bit warm and use clothing to compensate. This saves thousands of dollars in a year.

I am NOT exaggerating. Thousands.

Unplug your fridge at night. In the morning the stuff will still be cold, and if it is not a self defrosting, you have painlessly defrosted and can toss out the water under freezer before replugging it.

Unpluging T.V.s and other appliances when you aren’t using them, for example, when you leave for work or at night is extremely wise.

TVs suck electricity as do a few other applicance. Further, in case of a lightening strike your property is safe.

Speaking of T.V. why is it on?

Too many people have the T.V. as ‘friend’. They aren’t watching the program..(my show comes on in 30 minutes, why bother to shut off the T.V.?)

When it comes to computers, notebooks and those which have batteries are a far better deal than the P.C. Not only do they burn less electricity but using the batteries each day prolongs their life and cuts down costs.

More offices are moving from the cumbersome P.C. to the notebook making the savings in cost via lower electricity bills, convenience, (you don’t need to have a computer in each area when people can carry theirs from one place to another).

Cutting down on electricity should become part of your life style.

Using ambient light, enjoying the outdoors, ceasing to be ‘plugged in’ is sense which saves you cents and dollars.

Washing Jeans

Jeans are the toughest items of clothing. The power of soak is stretched to it’s limit.

Soak jeans for a time in plain water, agitate, then wring. Fill the bucket with your best detergent, let it suds, then put the jeans in, doing the dip method to agitate the water.

Don’t be surprised if the water turns really murky and the suds disappear almost immediately. This is because jeans tend to get really dirty and hug the dirt.

As soon as your water is dark and sudsless get rid of it. Use it to flush a toilet or water the grass; but this is Dirty Water. Treat it that way.

Catch another bucket of water, add more detergent, agitate the water to create suds and let the jeans soak for at least thirty minutes in the soapy water.

When you return, if they are outside out, turn them inside out, or visa versa. Check the jeans to see if they look clean or are still dirty.

In some cases, you’ll only have to do a quick agitation and rub, to get rid of any excess dirt, then soak in clean water because they are not longer dirty.

In others you might need The Brush.

The Brush should Never be Used unless the clothes are that dirty. And then, only on the dirty places. This is usually the knees and cuffs.

Don’t use your full strength. Start gently going back and forth starting from the edges. Work inwards.
Take your time.
Soak the item again in strong detergent after your first brushing. You may need to use washing soap on the dirty area.

Often, one leaves jeans to soak overnight, then in the morning, pours out the dirty soak water and places them in clean water. Trust me, you will never know how dirty those jeans really are until you go to handwash them.

Once your jeans are clean, soak them in fabric softener. If you don’t they will have the texture of sandpaper.

Hang them up inside out on the line. Snap the legs and smooth them so that the jeans dry without wrinkles. Zip the fly, tuck the pockets in correctly. The way the jeans dry is the way they will look.

When they are almost completely dry, turn them outside out and hang them in shade.

You will not have to iron them.

Washing Silk…

Silk needs to be soaked in a particular way.

To wash Silk by hand is not hard, it just takes patience.

Here’s How:

1) Fill a bucket with cold water.
2) If your pipe water is warm or tepid use cold water from the fridge.
3) Turn the blouse inside out, hold it by the shoulders over the bucket and dip it in the water many times, quickly. Up and down, up and down.
4) Keep going until the water looks unclean.
5) Pour out the water, get another bucket of cold water and repeat.

You don’t waste this water. You can use it to soak jeans, to flush a toilet, wash a car, a floor, or clean the bathroom. You just can’t use it to soak silk or white clothes.

You may have to do the Up and Down thing for three buckets of water if the blouse is very soiled.

The next step is to put a small amount of a very delicate detergent in a bucket of clean water. Agitate it with your hand to make a little suds, not much. You are not going for the mountains of foam, just the soapy feel.

Now do the dipping thing again.
This should remove the dirt.

Go over the blouse, cuffs, collar, hem. You may have to put a little detergent directly on these places and rub it with a finger. Nothing else.
A finger.

When the dirt is gone, go back to your dipping with cold clean water until the water is clean.

Take the wet blouse and keeping it inside out, put it on a hanger, smoothing it as you go, setting it just as you want it to dry.

Make sure the sleeves are straight. Use your hand to separate the front from the back. Swirl it around and hang it up to dry.

Do not hang it in the sun, hang it in the shade or inside, but make sure the place you hang it smells good.

Silk dries fast. You must constantly be smoothing, and swinging around on the hanger.
If there are buttons, make sure they are buttoned, if there are cuffs or folded collars, make sure they are done up properly.

Keep smoothing, and when it is only slightly damp, turn it outside out, and let it finish drying.

The blouse will be clean and unwrinkled.

And you have washed silk!

You Can Wash it!

The tag says “Dry Clean Only.”
Yeah.
I know.

Behind this computer is a warning not to remove the back.
My geek doesn’t read that warning.
He takes his screw driver, removes the back and the world doesn’t end.

If you know what you are doing, unless your clothes are made out of some totally synthetic something that can only be thrown away after wearing; you can wash it.

If you know how.

The Power of Soak

Water removes some grime and gets the item ready for washing. Washable clothes can be tossed in plain clean water for awhile before washing.

The Power of Soak is unleashed when clothing is put into the clean water for a short while. The amount of filth that comes off is sometimes amazing. The clean water is now dark and dirty.

Sweat alone will turn that water sort of gray.

You soak your clothing, remove them, wring them, and if the water is that dirty, put them to soak in clean water to soak again.

Sometimes you’ll use a bit of disinfectant, sometimes a bit of stain remover.

This prewash soak saves on soap, time and effort.

I know it seems like you aren’t doing a thing. It seems extra lazy and you’re supposed to be washing, instead your clothes are sleeping in a bucket of water and you are typing on blogjob. But the soak has a lot of value.

Often you will soak new things.

Not washing clothes before that first wear may be proper when you are dealing with ball gowns or business suits, but… and this is a big but…it depends on how long they hung in that store. It depends on if anyone tried them on before you came.

Yeah, I think you got the point without me having to spell it out.

Being Too Cheap

Many years ago I met the cheapest person ever. “Lloyd” was so cheap that he was a legend. To spend time with Lloyd was a journey to the surreal. He’d spend hours calculating how much money he could save here, cut there, every stray piece of paper had figures on it.

He opened a business and it would have been phenomenal if he wasn’t so cheap. If he’d paid fairly, if he’d bought new office items, and if he’d pay people properly.

Never under pay anyone. They will make it up, two fold by unworking and stealing.

For example, Joan feels she should get 2X her salary a week. She now decides to work 1/2 as much as she should. Instead of 8 hours of work, she gives 4. How? Take out the lunch hour, take out the 30 minute start up and close down, (we’ve got 6) now add in the fact she cuts these to 4 by taking 30 minute pauses every hour.

From bathroom visits, to smoke breaks, to walking back and forth, to playing game on the computer. When she leaves the office on ‘business’ she makes sure that she takes extra time to get back.

If he’d paid her 2x she’d give him 2x the work.

Stan steals. He goes home with thumb drives, paper, pens, pencils, and when Lloyd restrict, he steals other people’s supplies.

He does his own business on the side using Lloyd’s equipment. When he gets fired, he is replaced by a clone, for anyone who works for Lloyd will unwork or steal.

Lloyd is always trying to save a buck so he’ll take a bus to a city to get a flight to his destination, because it saves $20.

When Lloyd has to pay for anything he whines and whines for a discount. So he gets a half job.

There is a difference between saving money and being cheap.

Blending Meals

Stuffed Tomatos have the extra kick of giving you tomato chunks when you clean out the tomato.

Put the chunks in a container. Add the extruded liquid which emerges on microwaving the tomato. This gives you a fantastic base to which you add your seasonings.

Open a can of Tomato Soup. Pour this into a freezable container. Pour your tomato chunks and liquid into the freezable container. Mix. Pour an amount for a meal into another container for the fridge.

Put water into the ’empty’ tin of Tomato Sauce, not too much, stir, and add to your fridge blend.

Pour back some into your freezable container, and into the freezer, leaving only what you will use This Week in the fridge container.

What makes this sauce so good is the fresh bits you’ve taken when you hollowed out those tomatos in preparation for stuffing. The fresh tomato bits are the secret of the best sauces.

Usually alternating, this week pepper, that week tomato, keeps the balance, for the liquid which comes from the pepper has a special flavour as does that from the tomato and they blend perfectly.

The beauty of stuffed vegetables, is that they are catchalls for all those tiny bits of left overs. Four strands of spagetti, three peas, have a home.

One would usually start with stuffed peppers, soaking the mince in whatever flavour one has at hand. The liquid run off would be saved and stored, frozen if necessary. The stuffed tomatos would be stuffed with mince using the liquid from the peppers. The chunks of tomato along with the liquid from microwaving is saved and mixed with tomato soup.

Tomato soup is cheaper than sauce and lets you put in a lot of spices without going bitter as it is naturally sweet.

A little of the fridge sauce can be used to season the mince to stuff a pepper or tomato, making a circle.

A good addition to your stuffing are broccoli stalks, which many people don’t like.

Cook the broccoli, keep back the stalks, cut them into small pieces. Mix them with the mince, enhance the stuffing of the tomato or pepper.

This is just one set of meals in which each one adds to the next, and there is no waste.

Off Hand Savings

You are going to clean the floor. You have a new bottle of cleaner. You open it, pour an ounce into any empty bottle, add water, and use that. Most of these products are concetrated. Using one ounce of it in an eight ounce bottle and filled with water, makes a useful cleaner, which you use as if it were not diulted.

If you are to pour two capful into this bucket of water, do it. Use it to wash the floor. You’ve done a small portion of the floor, the water is dirty.

Pour the dirty water into the toilet. If the toilet is empty, you then use the toilet brush. If not empty, then you’ve used it to flush.

You go over the floor again, with another two capfuls of your diluted cleanser. The water isn’t that dirty. You pour it into the toilet, use the brush to clean the toilet.

You have cleaned the floor and the toilet at the same time with less than one ounce of cleaner.

It may seem shrug now, but at the end of a year, the savings add up.

This kind of off hand savings is something you need to be conscious of once you are, the inherent ability to save rises to the fore.

For example, when you use the dishwashing paste, it is so much easier to put water on the paste, then pour it into a bowl, add more water, and use that diluted liquid to wash your dishes.

Instead of putting your sponge or scrubber into the paste, you put it into the liquid you have made.

By using the liquified paste you make the paste last longer, get a product which works just as good but takes less water to rinse.

Many times when cooking you get a gravy, whether it is the ‘leakage’ of stuffed peppers, or a left over sauce, or a moistness from an item. These various liquids should be combined and used as a base for a gravey or for rehydrating soy mince, or whatever. The liquids will bring exotic flavours, one of a kind and are far better than mixing spices or bottled sauces.

Meal Planning

In a previous article I touched on this topic.

Beyond not wasting food, meal planning is the wisest method to ensure you get the nutrients you want at the cheapest cost with the least waste.

For those who eat meat, this is nothing new. The roast chicken potatoes and vegetables served on Friday which becomes a stew on Saturday and the left overs are used to stuff something else, be it sweet peppers or a taco, or used to make soup.

This kind of planning gives you three meals for the price of one.

One can do this with any type of food or diet, all it takes is planning And setting smaller portions.

Waste comes when one loads too much on their plate and can’t finish. With kids one must break them into the small portion to ask for seconds. Being raised to eat small portions is the best training to prevent overweight. Too many parents heap a child’s plate. Often a kid just eats without thinking. But buying smaller plates and leaving space between the various items, one can then ask for seconds, get another small portion so that what is left over is not left on the plate, but still in the container.

This assists in keeping the left overs pristine.

When you plan your meals you can see what you need. Do you have green vegetables? Orange? What is your protein? How much Starch? There is no accident, no mistake.

You also ‘book’ desserts, going for fruit dishes, and things with a little nutritional value when you can.

Always try to put meals in stream so that they match/compliment each other. Be concerned with calories, of course, meat consumption, fried foods. For example, if you fry potatoes you can fry fish in that oil. If you roast something, the potatos can join it.

You save money and time.

Kids and Money

Trying to save money when you have kids is not easy. Kids always want things, always break things, always need things. Kids are one continous outgoing.

To save money when one has children depends on how many tricks one has up their sleeve.

One of the best is to encourage kids to play outside. To play games with other kids, whether tag, hide and seek or make believe. Games that require no equipment.

A ball is not expensive, hence a make up game requiring just that ball is great. Avoiding expensive pasttimes does not merely avoid spending money but calls upon the children to create their own games, use their own thoughts.

Inside play should not be computers. There should be something bringing out the child’s ability. Drawing is good, colouring, playing games which do not require more than pencil and paper should be created.

We used to write down the Alphabet then read a sentence from a newspaper and write down the first twenty six letters next to the Alphabet. Then we would have to find famous names which have the letters, both front and back.

The game was interesting, engrossing, and cost thought, not money.

When it comes to clothing parents should focus on cheap. Kids grow fast. That expensive suit may be worn no more than once. Why buy it? This is the time where you go for the cheap.

Getting two, three even five wears is all you expect from a cheap product. Which is not a problem as children grow so fast.

There is no sense in buying ‘name brand’ sneakers when a child will outgrow them in perhaps two months. When kids complain, tell them that it is better to change their sneakers a lot as their foot grows.

Too many parents buy too big items so the child ‘grows into them’, making the child feel like a ragamuffin. The Cheap Chinese knock offs are the best choice. The longer they can last the better for your pocket.