Thursday, August 27, 2015

Killing Weeds a Thrifty and Healthy Natural Way

Hi everyone!

We grow all our herbs, veggies and flowers completely naturally with no chemicals. So commercial weed killer is simply out of the question for us. I’m not going to get into how unsafe and unhealthy commercial weed killers are, you already know all that. So, what do you do about weeds without the use of harsh chemicals and keep everything eco-friendly but, looking pretty?

weed killer use vinegar @thethriftygroove.com eco-friendly, natural, green, organic and thrifty

Yup! It’s that simple! Use full strength vinegar!

You can pour directly onto the weed area with the weeds still there and after a few days (depending on the weather) the weeds will just wilt and die. Then pull them up.

I generally pull the weeds first then pour on the vinegar.

Here is a lovely before weeding and cleaning area.

weed killer use vinegar @thethriftygroove.com eco-friendly, natural, green, organic and thrifty

I did say that it needed to be cleaned out as well as weeded! LOL

weed killer use vinegar @thethriftygroove.com eco-friendly, natural, green, organic and thrifty

All cleaned and weeded!

use vinegar instead of deadly toxins for killing weeds. @TheThriftyGroove.com eco-friendly, natural, green, organic and thrifty

After two weeks, only a few weeds popped up and I was able to pluck them out of the ground easily.

As with any topical weed killer, rain will wash it away. So, I generally apply vinegar every several weeks throughout the summer.

By just going out and plucking the few weeds that come up in a week and then applying vinegar every few weeks, you can keep your areas pretty and weed free without adding horrid chemicals and toxins into your soil.

Sometimes the simplest and most eco-friendly way is also the thrifty way! Love that!!

Thank you so much for stopping by and I hope you are having a wonderful day!

Diann

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

How to Make Herb Butter - Simple and Thrifty!

Hi everyone!

One of my favorite things to do with our herbs is to make herb butters. It is the easiest things to make and it gives butter a special touch.


You can use any herbs that you like. Fresh or dried will work. Play around with combining flavors.
I have made four different herb butters for you today. These are the most popular ones I make.
Rosemary, Dill, Mint and Oregano.

My rule of thumb for ratio of herbs to butter is simple:

1/4 teaspoon dried herb + 2 teaspoons of softened butter.

1 teaspoon crushed fresh herbs + 2 teaspoons of softened butter.

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Just cream the herbs and butter together.

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Refrigerate for at least 4 hours so the flavors really meld into the butter. When I make herb butters I tend to play with the butter and put them into fun molds. It is a simple way to present butter at a party or just a dinner get together. It is that extra little wow factor.
I purchased two of these deviled egg carriers at a thrift store. They did not have the lids so they were only .49 cents. I saw them and thought they would be so cute for molded butter pats for Easter. I just filled in the eggs with the softened herb butter and put in the fridge.

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Once hardened, just pop them out. If you have a hard time getting them to come out easily, dampen a dishcloth in warm water and place the mold on the damp warm towel for a moment or two.

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Since I have 4 different flavors of herb butters here, I use two of my little topiary cardholders and put two signs with the flavor in each (front and back).


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You can see some of them cracked and some just did not have smooth edges. That is a easy fix. The warmth of your fingers works the best.to smooth them up a bit.


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It is so nice to add little extra details like this. And it is fun to treat your family and friends to different flavored butter. As the hostess, it just shows that you enjoy going a little bit above and beyond for the people you care about.


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Yummy on fresh pretzel rolls!



There are so many variations you can try. Garlic butter is probably our number 1 favorite here. I also like to make a lemon or lime cracked pepper butter. So, just try some flavors you normally enjoy.

I plan on making some of these in Christmas molds to give away to family and friends this year along a loaf of fresh baked bread. It's a nice alternative to only giving cookie trays or other sweets.

Have you ever made herb butters? 

If you are growing herbs this summer, think ahead about drying some to make herb butters. You will love them!

Thank you for stopping by and have a fun day!



Sunday, August 23, 2015

Don’t Store It, Use It

Hi everyone!

As you know, I live in a small 2 bedroom townhouse. Space is very limited. So, I really try to maximize my space as much as I can. I use things that may be considered “decorative” for mini storage areas. Doing double duty with items around the house is pretty much the norm around here.

About 6 years ago I found this old white ironstone tureen. It had a matching plate but, no lid or ladle. It was only a couple of dollars and I had been looking for something to put a potted shamrock in. This was perfect!

 Use things you love in different ways. @ Thethrifygroove.com

Well, my shamrock died a couple of months ago. I cleaned out the tureen and it has been sitting on my kitchen counter since. Everyday I looked at it and try to figure out what to do with it. Yes, I could use it for fruit on the table but, I already have a large bowl for that and I really like it. So, it continued to sit there day after day. Finally I thought, “Well, I love the tureen and don’t want to get rid of it. So, I suppose I should just wrap it up and put it in storage.”

Oh no! Not storage! I have been working diligently to clean out stored things. I don’t want to store any other items! So, I had a heart to heart discussion with myself (yes, I talk to myself all the time!), “Okay Diann, here’s the deal. You have one week to come up with a way of using this tureen and not just adding it as clutter!” I hate when I get so strict with myself! But, it had to be done!

Use things you love in different ways. @ Thethrifygroove.com

I thought maybe I would use it in the kitchen to put all the k-cups in. I tried that and it just took up too much room on the kitchen counter. Then I thought, I could use it to store all my tealights in. Great idea except once again, where would I put it? This went on for several days. I was really working at trying to find an appropriate place for it, where it would be functional. I was getting to the point of realizing I was probably going to have to get rid of it and that made me very sad.

I have gotten rid of many items that I really liked and felt okay with it (after a mourning time LOL) but, this is a white ironstone tureen! I LOVE white ironstone tureens!

And then one day I was buying the paint to redo our upstairs bathroom. I was mentally pulling the things that I have thrifted and planned on re-doing or using in this bathroom once it was repainted. And I thought the tureen would fit in perfectly with the décor but, once again, I want function and not just clutter.

Use things you love in different ways. @ Thethrifygroove.com

Then I realized it would be a nice way to contain my blow dryer, curling irons and flat irons.

I had been trying to think of a way to store all these that I could easily get to. since I live in a rental, I can’t attach anything permanent to the cabinets and I have tried baskets on the sink before and things have a tendency to get piled on top of each other and that created a mess. I had planned on using some other white ironstone pieces in this bathroom. This just fit in with my decorative vision.

Use things you love in different ways. @ Thethrifygroove.com 

The point of the post is not the tureen or how I decided to use it. It is about being mindful of what you have, why you have and how it makes you feel. Do you really love an item? If not, let someone else love it, donate it. At the same time you can’t always just love something if it is going to add clutter. We all have things we keep just because we love them and that is how it should be. However, if that gets out of hand it becomes a problem. You can’t love every item.

I have learned the hard way. If I have too much clutter around me it weighs me down mentally and that can manifest into physical stress. I’m done with that.

Thank you for stopping by! I am so happy you visited. Have a wonderful day!

Diann

Thursday, August 20, 2015

10 Ways to Reuse Wax Cereal Liners

Hi everyone!

One of the wonderful side effects of being thrifty is it generally means being eco-friendly and green. Instead of contributing to the "just throw it away" mentality, we as thrifters try to reuse and repurpose things before tossing them to the landfills. Getting double usage out of normally thrown away items means at least we didn't throw away our money to buy something when we already had something available that we have already purchased.

Wow, that last sentence was kind of convoluted. I hope you got the meaning of it. LOL

10 ways to

Today’s thrifty tip is an oldie but, goodie. I know a lot of us save our bread bags to use for various things. But, do you save the inside bag that your cereal/crackers comes in? These waxed bags are sturdy and almost never leak.

Here are 10 ways I reuse these wax cereal liner bags:

  1. gross stuff I don’t want stinking up my trash can. You know the kind of trash I am talking about. Like all the fat and bones for chicken, meat or fish.
  2. When grease cools off, I scoop it into these bags and use a twist tie. No more rancid grease smell in the trash.

3. They also work great if you need to take something liquid like soup somewhere. Put the container of soup into one of these bags and if the container leaks, it will stay contained in these waxed bags.

4. Use for “shake and bake” kind of thing. Ever start shaking a bag with a piece of chicken with the bone in it and the bone jabs a hole in the plastic bag?

5. Press down rice krispy bars

6. When making dipped chocolate treats (strawberries, cherries or cakeballs) place the treat on these wax liners to dry so they don’t stick

7. Popper scoopers for out in the yard or kitty litter boxes

8. Crushing crackers or nuts

9. Rolling out cookie dough or pie crusts

10. Use between cookies or other treats when storing or freezing. Same with hamburger patties.

I use these liners generally anytime I would normally use wax paper. And most of the time, these wax cereal liners are stronger than plain wax paper.

For smaller uses, many other boxed items come with the wax insert bag you can use such as cake mixes.

Ziplock bags can be expensive, especially if you are just using them to throw something away. Not too mention, the cheap brand can leak.

I have a couple of more ideas on a post I wrote 4 or 5 years ago if you want to check it out. It’s here Wax Package Liners.

You may be thinking that you don’t have drawer space to keep this kind of stuff. Well, time to think outside the drawer! you can see where I store mine in this post “Keeping Clutter Under Control By Using Small Hidden Spaces

I hope you got some thrifty tips from this post.

Have a great day and thank you for stopping by!

Diann

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Easy & Thrifty Change Up the Front Door Wreath

Hi everyone!

One of the things I am really trying to get back to doing is changing up what is on my front door. I have always had a wreath or some kind of hanging décor on the front door to welcome people. It just makes me smile. But, for however long (I feel like I am just coming out of a fog) I have really been remiss in so many things and changing up my front door is one of them.1

Back in the beginning of summer I added this metal pocket hanger filled with tulips.

front door tulips_thumb[3]I realized that tulips have been gone from the yard for quite a long time! So, for inspiration, I just walked outside to see what was blooming now.

Quick, easy and thrifty Blacked Eyed Susans front door wreath It became very obvious…Black Eyed Susans!

Quick, easy and thrifty Blacked Eyed Susans front door wreath

This was going to be quick and simple. Just run to the dollar store and pick up some black eyed susan bushes and I decided to grab a couple of faux ferns because they are in season now as well.

Quick, easy and thrifty Blacked Eyed Susans front door wreath

Since this metal pocket is such an easy switch out, I just decided to leave it hanging on the door and put the new flowers in.

Quick, easy and thrifty Blacked Eyed Susans front door wreath

As I am adding the flowers something very obvious hit me. Where is the “Black Eyed” part?! Great, I have it half way assembled and I just realize that these flowers have yellow centers. Not that anyone else probably would have even given it a second thought when they came up to the door. It would really bug me every time I saw it!

Quick, easy and thrifty Blacked Eyed Susans front door wreath

Easy fix! Just use a black Sharpie pen! I didn’t mind not covering all the yellow. I just wanted to get a black eye in there! LOL

Quick, easy and thrifty Blacked Eyed Susans front door wreath

Solved the problem and it was a thrifty fix! I didn’t take the bushes apart so, they can easily be used in future projects.

Quick, easy and thrifty Blacked Eyed Susans front door wreath

When you are having a difficult time getting inspired, step outside and look around your yard or go for a walk around the neighborhood. You will get lots of inspiration!

And remember, something like a welcoming front door is not about spending a lot of money to buy just the perfect flowers or wreath. It’s about just adding something that will make you and your visitors smile!

What do you have on your front door?

Thank you for stopping by and have a wonderful day!

Diann

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Decluttering the Kitchen

Hi everyone!

The recent trip I took to our trailer gave me the time to really declutter! We haven’t spent a lot of time at the trailer in years and when we did get a chance to go up, it was only a few days at a time. So things like going through the cabinets and purging was the last thing I really wanted to do in those few says. But, getting the chance to be there for 3 weeks, I actually enjoyed taking my time and getting my home away from home more organized.

Over the years, things just kind of got shoved here and there. It was time to tackle it!

july 4th 2015

Holy cow! The plates and bowls cabinet!

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And large bowl area.

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I can’t believe I am showing y’all this mess!

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Everything came out of those 3 cabinets!

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I completely scrubbed down the insides of all the cabinets.

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Let the purging begin! A couple of bags go straight to the trash.

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Lots of things to be taken to donation.

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Phew! All cleaned out, organized and easier to deal with.

I have to admit, while I was alone tackling this job, I felt my mind purging stuff as well. sounds weird huh? But this task made me feel a sense of accomplishment which in turn made me feel more positive.

And what was a total surprise was when I got home, this feeling carried over into my house! I decided to tackle my kitchen cabinets at home. Woohoo!

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This baking cabinet was so crammed full, I didn’t even bother trying to get things out from the back.

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I was so shocked at how many muffin pans I had! Why so many? I forgot they were in there! I couldn’t see them so, I would pick up a new one! Talk about waste and non-thrifty!!

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Just like the trailer, everything came out and the cabinet got a complete scrubbing!

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Wow! Would you look at that! I can actually see everything in this cabinet now! What a great concept! LOL

I ended up throwing away several pans and donating a lot.

The simple act of purging these cabinets both at home and at the trailer has been very therapeutic for me. It just feels like I have lightened up and can breathe easier. Do you ever get that kind of feeling from accomplishing a project like this?

When was the last time you went through and purged your kitchen cabinets?

Thank you for stopping by and have a happy day!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

I Needed a Mental Retreat!

Hi everyone!

Wow, I have been missing in action for 6 weeks! I didn’t even realize it had been that long.

I needed a mental retreat, I also needed a physical one. Sometimes the two go hand and hand. It’s hard to mentally get away if all the physical stresses and demands are still around you.

So, I took a three week break.

I went up to our family cabin in Northern Michigan the last week of June. This is also where our travel trailer is. We like to refer to it as our private wing of the cabin. LOL

4th of July 2015

The first week up was kind of chaotic. My parents were there as was one of my brothers. And then each day of the week more people arrived. My nephews had invited a bunch of their friends for a four day weekend. They all brought up camping gear, fishing gear and golf gear. all the guys set up at the river right by our property so, they had their own campground area. It was like tent city over there. We had between 20-24 guys ages between 19-26 camping.

July 4th 2015 

Besides all those guys we had about 10 other people here at the cabin at various times. It was a bit of insanity! And my mom, whom now I believe really is crazy, cooked huge, and I mean HUGE breakfasts for all these men! We’re talking homemade biscuits & gravy, eggs to order, bacon, sausage, toasts and anything anyone would want. So, 10:00 each morning an army would invade the cabin. Thank goodness I am not a breakfast eater! I stayed in my trailer and drank my coffee in peace. LOL

And then the insane woman, also know as my mom, would fix a huge dinner for everyone! One night she and my dad did a Low Country Boil. It had shrimps, several types of sausages, corn on the cob and potatoes. We covered the kitchen table which is a huge old farmhouse table with newspaper and the whole thing just got dumped onto the table. Of course she also had various breads and rolls and a couple of salads. And she always had two homemade desserts everyday! She made a blueberry pie, a coconut cream pie, a lemon pie and a chocolate cake for this dinner event. I think everyone gained 10 pounds during the food-a-thon weekend!

July 4th 2015

Every night we had a big bonfire. Fortunately the weather was perfect while everyone was there. Pretty sunny days and cool nights.

July 4th 2015

It was a nice to see so many people having fun and laughing at the cabin! My grandparents would have loved it. When the last of the people left on Monday, it was just my mom, dad and me, wow was it quiet! Then the relaxation kicked in! Much needed relaxation!

Troy was able to come up and enjoy some time the last week.

I can’t believe how much better I feel since getting back from this retreat! It was long over due! Not only mentally and physically but, spiritually I feel renewed. What a blessing to have a place like this to go to! I am so grateful!!

Thank you for stopping by. Have a fun day!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Bobby Flays Cuban Style Burgers Recipe!

Hi everyone!

This is one of my favorite recipes for grilling hamburgers out on the grill. So good!!

 Bobby is the Grillin’ King! So, lets grill us up some burgers!
Bobby Flay

Cuban Style Burgers ~Bobby Flay recipe
Cuban Style Burgers
Serves: 4
1 lb 80/20 ground chuck,
Salt and freshly ground pepper
½ cup best quality mayonnaise
3 cloves roasted garlic, pureed
¼ cup Dijon mustard
4 soft, classic hamburger buns,
4 slices thinly sliced smoked ham
8 slices thinly sliced Swiss cheese
2 dill pickles, sliced into ¼ inch thick slices

1.Preheat grill to high. Form the meat into four ¼-inch thick burgers. Season the meat with salt and pepper on both sides and grill for 2-3 minutes on both sides for medium doneness.

2. Combine the mayonnaise and roasted garlic in a small bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste. Spread both sides of each bun with mayonnaise and mustard. Place a slice of cheese on the bottom portion of each bun, place the burger on top of the cheese, then top the cheese with a slice of ham then another slice of cheese then the pickle slices. Place the tops of the bun over the pickles, wrap the burgers in aluminum foil and place on the grill. Using a heavy pan or a brick wrapped in foil, press down on the burgers for about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Lower the lid on the grill and continue grilling for 1-2 minutes or until cheese has melted and the bun has become pressed and firm.
recipeGetting my garlic ready to roast. I peeled some fresh garlic cloves added about a teaspoon of oil and sprinkled with salt & pepper. Toss to make sure all is coated. OMG, you should smell the house when this is roasting!!
recipe 083Nicely roasted. I roasted the garlic in a 400 degree over for 15 minutes. Time to mash them up.
recipe 084I have the roasted garlic mixed in the mayo in the fridge to get all yummy. Every time I roast garlic, I always think to myself, “Oh yum! I need to do this more often!”
recipe 088Salt and peppered and on the grill! Here is my little tip for the day:
When making something like hamburgers up and you need to salt and pepper them, you don’t want to reach with your raw meat covered hands. This is when those little salt and pepper packets you get with your fast food meal come in handy! Just rip them open before you start to work with the raw meat.  Just sprinkle on and throw away!
recipe 089Another tip:
Put your dried Rosemary stems and branches inside your grill. Gives a lovely flavor to your meat! 
recipe 090Looking good!
recipe 091The rest of the ingredients: Dijon mustard, the mayo/garlic sauce, smoked ham, Swiss cheese and pickles. 
recipe 092Assembled and ready to be wrapped and put back on the grill.
recipe 093recipe 094recipe 095I choose to use a patio block because it would easily cover and weigh down all four burgers at once. 
recipe 096recipe 097recipe 102Did you honestly think I was NOT going to show you some new pretty dishes along with the recipe? Of course you didn’t!   I just bought these fun and pretty brightly colored plates at the Home Goods Store. They were clearanced at half off! How could I refuse?  And the dish towels were also new and clearanced from HGS! I thought they looked pretty with the plates instead of placemats.
recipe 103recipe 104Oh yum! Look at all that melted cheese! Let’s cut one open now! 
recipe 105recipe 106  These are so good! I will make them again. But, I think next time I will add a slice of onion and some yellow banana pepper rings to it.
recipe 107 I hope you enjoyed your visit! Have a great day!

Diann