Archive for the 'Thrifty Tip Tuesday!' Category

Thrifty Tip Tuesday: Sheet Pan Pizza

There are two things in life that I can honestly say I could eat endlessly: pizza and chinese. I’m not ashamed to say it because even though I like to cook with a lot of local, organic produce, it does not by any means mean that I don’t enjoy a sesame chicken combination plate and pepperoni slice from time to time. To be completely honest, I probably get pizza or chinese at least once a week. There, you now know my dirty little secret.

Chinese is too hard to cook at home, contains too many ingredients, and just never tastes as good as the divey  corner place (Flower Drum House, represent). Pizza, on the other hand, is a really simple way to cook with good ingredients, save a couple bucks, AND make something that tastes better than most pizza you can get in your neighborhood. Unless of course you live next to DiFara in Brooklyn, in which case you can stop reading this post and go grab a pie.

The best part about making pizza at home is that you don’t need any fancy pizza making tools, cooking stones, or wood burning ovens–all you need is a sheet pan.

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Thirfty Tip Tuesday: Super Flaky Pie Crust

photo credit: wellpreserved.ca

Today’s Thrifty Tip comes from one of my favorite blogs, Well Preserved. If you haven’t heard of it before, take a look. It’s absolutely fantastic. Dana and Joel have built quite the impressive urban homesteader archive, and I look forward to each and every new post.

If you’ve been following the Handjobs (For the Home) on Facebook, you may have noticed this tip yesterday, but I’m going to write about it again because I’m so in love with it.

You see, pie crust doesn’t have to cost upwards of $4 for an unimpressive, too crumbly, store bought rendition. If you have the right ingredients on hand, it doesn’t have to cost you anything at all. And it tastes oh so much better. But it’s important to take all the necessary steps to achieve that brown, buttery, flaky, goodness that is the perfect pie crust. The secret key? Really cold butter.

Well Preserved came up with the most awesome idea, which is to use frozen butter sticks and grate them on a box grater. Not only does this keep the butter cold, but it also helps to evenly distribute it throughout the pie crust. Such a great idea!

To read the full post and get the recipe, head over to Well Preserved right now!

If you have a Thrifty Tip you’d like to share on the blog, e-mail me at Handjobsforthehome@gmail.com

Thrifty Tip Tuesday: No Sew Curtains

Today’s Thrifty Tip is a little more complicated than the usual, but thrifty nonetheless. You see, I’ve had this really awful folded up curtain hanging in front of a makeshift storage space the previous tenant created in my apartment. It sits right above my bathroom and hall closet in the “foyer” and I hate it. But it’s useful, so I keep it. It’s just a piece of plywood that holds a bunch of bulky things. I keep suitcases, winter clothes, and some other (currently) unusable odds and ends up there. It’s one of the only spaces in my apartment that isn’t meticulously organized, so no one is allowed to see it, which is why it requires a little curtain loving.

The problem is in the mismatched, ugly green curtain I’ve had up for a year (omg, I can’t believe I’ve kept it up for an entire year). So I decided it was time to finally take it down. I have really poor sewing skills, and no sewing machine (yet— I’m working on it), so sewing a new curtain was not an option.  But what I do have is an iron, scissors, and some hem tape, which is all you need to make a good, clean, thrifty hem.

I’m going to give directions for making a curtain for my weird storage area, but the same instructions can be used to make adorable little café curtains.

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Thrifty Tip Tuesday: Keeping Nuts

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I never knew that nuts could go bad, until I actually ate a bad one. It wasn’t the worst thing I’d ever tasted, but it definitely wasn’t good.

You see, for years I’ve been making this really fantastic toffee brittle candy-bar-thing that my family calls Cape Cod Crunch. It’s a super simple recipe and I love making it around the holidays for gifts. The topping on this deliciously crunchy, savory sweet treat is chopped up nuts (of any kind). I love to make it with walnuts, and I had some in my pantry so I chopped ‘em up and made a batch. But when it was done and I tasted it, something was noticeably off. I thought that maybe I had burnt the chocolate, or that something had gone awry with the caramel. But I tasted each element as best I could, and lo and behold, it was the nuts that tasted so strange.

I called my always knowledgeable mother to ask if nuts could actually go bad. She said, “Of course they can, that’s why I always keep them in a Ziploc in the freezer.” Who knew?!

The next time I bought nuts for a recipe, I froze the leftovers to see how they would fare for the next time I needed them. I’m happy to say that they were absolutely perfect. The texture and flavor was right on.

The great part about this Thrifty Tip is that when you see nuts in bulk or on sale, you don’t have to worry about them going bad. Just pop them in a bag and stick it in the freezer. I currently have about 4 different varieties in my freezer, fresh and ready to go, whenever I need.

So keep those nuts frozen!

Thrifty Tip Tuesday: DIY Produce Wash

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My CSA share is getting bigger and bigger by the week, which means lots and lots of produce washing. It’s funny, you’d think that straight from the farm would mean less cleaning, since everything’s local, organic, blah blah blah. But that’s really not the case. I find more dirt and critters in my CSA fruits and vegetables than I’ve ever seen in any produce at the grocery store. You don’t even want to know what I found in one of my peaches this past week… seriously.

Dirty veggies are totally fine, though, because it means that the produce is super fresh, and that the spider growing inside my peach (told you you didn’t want to know) wasn’t killed from pesticides. I can deal with the occasional bug if it means that I’m ultimately getting uncontaminated produce.

However, the task of cleaning vegetables can be a pain at times. So to make it easier, I decided to make my own produce wash out of some everyday kitchen products. Pick up a new, clean spray bottle (I got mine at the dollar store), fill it up with the mixture below, and keep it on your counter for squeaky clean vegetables every day.

What You’ll Need:

1 C. Water
3/4 C. Distilled white vinegar
1 Tbsp baking soda
1 Tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice

Place all your ingredients into a spray bottle and shake it up until well combined. Spray your produce and let it hang out for about 5-10 minutes. Then rinse everything under room temperature water.

Simple and cost effective!

Quick little FYI: Don’t use this sort of produce wash on fruits like berries—it will get into the fruit and make it funky tasting. But go wild on stone fruits, apples, etc.

Thrifty Tip Tuesday: DIY Aromatics

This weekend was pretty crazy. I beat my personal canning record, and jarred 15 half pints of jam in one morning. Thankfully, the coffee was flowing, and I had some new tunes (Beirut’s The Rip Tide) to keep me company.  In addition, I boxed up all of my fabulous preserves, which are just itching to be sold at next weekend’s craft market. I’ve got a few pictures up on the new Facebook page if you are interested in seeing what the final product looks like.

Anyway, enough about me and my long weekend. It’s Tuesday, which means I’m here with another Thrifty Tip. I meant to post this earlier in the day, but that just didn’t happen, so I’m giving also giving you a bonus tip today to make up for it. That’s right, two tips. And both are so easy that you could probably do them in the time it takes to read this post.

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Thrifty Tip Tuesday: Keeping Flowers

At first glance, this week’s thifty tip doesn’t seem all that thrifty at all. It’s purchasing fresh flowers on a weekly basis. Now when I say flowers, I don’t mean a fussily arranged $20 bouquet. No, a $5 bundle will do you just fine.

Having something green in your home not only helps contribute to cleaner oxygen, it also makes for a cozier home. You might think that buying a $5 bouquet won’t make much of a difference but it really does. And if you follow these few quick and easy tips, you can make them last all week long (and then some)!

Continue reading ‘Thrifty Tip Tuesday: Keeping Flowers’


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