22
Jun

Fiberlicious Muffins With Apple and Flax

by Tiffany in Recipes

Fiberlicious Flax Apple MuffinsHere is a recipe that I made this morning. Not only are these muffins perfect for breakfast but they are sooo yummy and good for you too. They are a great source of whole grains and high fiber, and the flaxseed provides Omega-3 oils. They were a big hit with my whole family. Even when the kids were little they scarfed these down.

Fiberlicious Flax Apple Muffins

1 cup Multigrain cereal with Flaxseed and Quinoa ( I use Hodgson Mills brand)
1 cup organic, unbleached flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 cup organic sugar or coconut sugar
1 cup shredded organic carrots
1 cup peeled and chopped organic apples
1/2 cup organic milk
2 organic eggs (free range)
1/4 cup avocado or coconut oil
1/2 cup chopped pecans
Coconut sugar, sprinkled on top (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix dry ingredients first and then add the others. Mix well. Spoon the thick mixture into a muffin pan and bake for 20-22 minutes or until golden brown.

18
Jun

Summer Reading List – Bricking It

by Tiffany in Book Reviews

Bricking It Book ReviewI bought and read (or rather listened to) this book because it was a daily deal from Audible. I used to be a member of Audible because I adore audiobooks and I have earbuds in my ears roughly 40 hours a week. I am not a member anymore because I am pinching pennies but I still get their daily deals in my email inbox. Everyday they offer a new audiobook for a super low price…usually $2.95 to $4.95.

Bricking It Book Review

I look at the daily deals, read the reviews, and 9 times out of 10 I pass. Bricking It though just sounded like a winner based upon the reviews and oh it was.  It was pure joy from start to finish.

The story is basically about a brother and sister who inherit a very old, very neglected victorian farmhouse from their grandmother. When they find out what it can bring on the market if they renovate it, they decide to do just that. The sister is still shell shocked after a bad divorce to a verbally abusive man. The brother is really just a slacker with no real motivation in life. But they come together to do this crazy renovation and this brings into their lives an equally crazy cast of characters as they try to find the cheapest contractors they can.

To add a fun twist, the architect they hire is personal friends with a television celebrity who does reality TV renovations. So imagine that you buy a house, hire the help, and then one day you show up to see The Property Brothers at your new home. It would be my dream!

A slew of rich characters enter their lives while fixing the home (including a cow). They manage to identify a pot growing operation in their back garden. And they find clue after clue inside the house that ultimately leads them to a shocking revelation about their grandmother. The home’s history, the scandal surrounding it, and the fact that they had no idea who their grandmother was in her younger days, make for a delightful read. Once all is revealed, the siblings cannot help but think their grandmother knew they were directionless and flailing in their lives. She perhaps knew that her “secret” might help them discover that everyone can reinvent themselves when they find themselves hitting rock bottom and overcome any obstacle.

What I loved most about this book is that I was laughing and crying while listening to it. I am sure I looked like a loon but I could not help it. The adventures with Pat the Cow, the discovery of vintage sex toys on live TV, the no working bathroom situation, had me rolling. The end had me furiously wiping tears away…in a good way though because the book is not sad, just beautiful and inspiring.

I highly recommend it and if you like audiobooks definitely go with the audio version. The narrator for the brother has one of those phone book voices…as in I would happily listen to this guy read the phone book. Just click the link above and then click again on the “sample” icon below the image of the audiobook to hear a sound byte of that deliciousness. Hello!

Enjoy!

17
Jun

Frugal Friday – Every Dollar and Focus Groups

by Tiffany in Frugal Green

Every Dollar and Focus GroupsIt has been awhile since I did a frugal friday share but I am really trying to amp up my frugality and finance savvy recently. Primarily I am so obsessed with all things finances because we bought our house last year a bit before we were ready. We caught house fever as Dave Ramsey would say. We let emotions and a wee bit of anger about our rent going up make us jump into a big decision.

I love our house and I do not think we have bought a money pit or anything but we just should have waited until we met some other financial goals first.

In the past six months I have managed to pay off both of my cars, build up an emergency fund, cash flow a vacation to Florida (Disney & Universal), and pay down some other debt. We have definitely made traction but it is just going too slow! We have to get gazelle intense.

This week we got notification that our mortgage payment was going up by $265 a month! Say what???!

After a phone call to the company they explained that our homeowners insurance doubled (they don’t have to notify us), the required FEMA flood insurance went up a small bit, and they increased the PMI payment, saying the amount on our loan paperwork had been a mistake. Well, they gave in and fixed the PMI issue since they agreed to that amount and cannot change it after the contract is signed. If we hadn’t called or fought it though they would have gotten away with it! We also hustled and changed homeowner’s insurance and car insurance. The homeowner’s is still about $300 more than last year’s but it is far better than double. And we did file a large claim last year which resulted in us getting a brand new roof (valued at about 14k). We opted to reduce our car insurance to liability only and self insure a replacement. That saves us about $560 a year on that. So all in all we may come out a bit better off but the experience was downright scary and showed me that we need to make more progress with our financial goals.

One thing that is really helping is the Every Dollar program. It took me awhile to plunk down the $100 to get the paid version but it is so worth it. Now I can really track every penny and the time investment is almost nothing. I use the software to make a new budget every month and every transaction is entered automatically. Love it!

Frugal Wins:

  • Participated in a focus group and earned a $100 gift card, which I then used to pay my cell phone bill.
  • Packed a lunch to work all week!
  • Saved on groceries by planning more simple, summery foods and fewer meatcentric crockpot meals.
  • Sent away two Menard’s rebates worth $25. I usually forget!
  • Harvested radishes, lettuce, parsley, and cilantro from our garden.
  • Worked overtime four days this week.

Frugal Fails:

  • Not my failure but we did recently lose a rather large work bonus because our oldest child stuck the wrong car keys in my purse and without their keys “someone” missed work as a result. Ouch! Thankfully I don’t budget for or rely on those bonuses.
  • I spent way too much last week in the cafe at my work.

Hoping for more successes this week!

15
Jun

Fun Funky Molds for Homemade Popsicles

by Tiffany in Tidbits

lolly ice cream

Why Popsicle Molds?

Do I even have to tell you how fast kids can go through popsicles in warm weather months? I doubt it! Heck, they like popsicles all year long. If you are relying on store bought popsicles then you are wasting money on something that you could easily make yourself. You are also putting the health of your kids in questionable hands because conventional popsicles have loads of refined sugar and synthetic dyes.

Opt to make popsicles yourself with DIY popsicle molds and you can keep your kids in frosty treats all summer with minimal expense. For pennies you can make “healthier-for-you treats that kids and adults will love. You won’t even have to worry about finding your yard littered with wrappers or discovering a gooey popsicle stick stuck to your carpet… homemade popsicles are waste free!

Home popsicle molds also allow for some unique frosty creations. Get creative and make striped lollies or blend up some spinach and fruit for a healthy and tasty “green” treat. The possibilities are endless, you just need to invest in an affordable popsicle mold or two and enjoy!

Top Reasons to Make Your Own Popsicles:

  • Making them is fun
  • Control over ingredients
  • Healthier summer snacking
  • Cheaper than store bought
  • Waste free popsicles
  • Kids love them

** BPA or Bisphenol A is a hormone mimicking chemical found in many types of plastic. Make sure to look for molds that have no BPA in it!

Tovolo Rocket Ice Popsicle Molds
Blast off!!! These popsicle molds are out of this world! The set comes with six popsicle molds that create frozen rockets and a base for easy setting in the freezer.

tovolo-rocket-molds

Boat Shaped Popsicles

These will put some wind in your sails come spring and summer! Unique snap system not only saves space in the freezer but enables you to remove one mold at a time. Create delicious recipes made with fruit juice, yogurt or ice cream. The reusable molds are easy to release and can make up to 6-frozen pops at a time.

boat-shaped-popsicles

Tovolo Twin Pops

Want to make pops that look like the classic version? These molds are awesome!

tovolo-twin-pops

 

Tovolo Star Pops

Encourage children to aim for the stars while serving them healthy popsicles made with Tovolo’s green shooting star molds. Simply fill the six stars with favorite beverages, attach the handles, and set them upright on their custom tray in the freezer. Built-in drip guards also keep kiddie clothing and hands clean. Crafted of durable plastic with a cheerful lime hue, the molds offer a fresh, summertime look.

star pops
They also come in pink!
Mastrad Popsicle Molds

  • Set of four silicone molds
  • Tabs for easy removal
  • Attached cup for catching drips
  • Dishwasher safe
  • 5 year warranty
  • Colorful!

orka-pops

Also available with a brown base.

Zoku Quick Pop Maker

This amazing popsicle maker can help you turn homemade popsicles into edible works of art! Plus it makes them fast! Make your favorite pops right at home or park in as little as seven minutes without electricity. you simply store the compact base in your freezer and then you could make your Pop at a moment’s notice and enjoy in in 7 minutes This unit can make up to 9 pops before refreezing the unit again. BPA and phthalate free.

zoku-pop-maker

If you want fancy pops check out the companion book for this pop maker: Zoku Quick Pops Recipe Book.

Umbrella Shaped Popsicles

Lolly Makers With Stand Kitchen Craft set of six umbrella shaped lolly moulds for making delicious 3D shaped juice or smoothie ice pops. Easy to use and clean, each mould sits on the stable stand in the freezer to set. Dishwasher safe.

umbrella-pops

Ice Cream Pop Molds

How cute and clever are these?!?! You can avoid having to take your kids to get ice cream cones on a hit summer day with these soft-serve style cones that catch sticky spills. The base features a hard “cone” that looks just like of a real cone, except of course that it can be reused over and over again. Fill the top sleeve with your favorite ice cream, juice, smoothie, yogurt, or other beverage, twist the cone on, set into the base and freeze. Voila!

ice-cream-popsicle-mold

NorPro Squeezable Silicone Popsicle Molds

Create frozen popsicle treats similar to otter pops or push pops at home with Norpro’s set of 4 Ice Pop Makers. Easily create frozen treats using juices, purees, yogurt, soda, ice cream, pudding, applesauce, gelatin, fruit, berries, candies, chocolate, caramel, whipped cream, and more. Ice Pop Makers are easy to use: simply fill, seal, freeze and enjoy. Flexible silicone makes it easy to squeeze and push up frozen treats. A handy lid holds in ingredients before they freeze and keeps pops secure in an ice chest for picnics and BBQs.

norpro-mold

Monster Popsicle Molds

  • Monster Design
  • Cute colors
  • Fun for kids
  • Can stand on their own to help with spilling.

monster-ice-pops

There are also monster push up pops too…

push up pops maker

14
Jun

Feeding Rabbits on the Homestead

by Tiffany in The Homestead

Feeding Rabbits on the HomesteadLike all pets, rabbits need a balanced diet in order to thrive. Because 20% of a rabbit’s entire body weight is occupied by its digestive system, diet is especially important to a bunny’s health. Many of the pellet foods that are provided in the US market contain everything that your rabbit will need nutrition-wise. They are also the simplest option – even though some of them are high in calories compared to what a rabbit would eat out in the wild. They can be kind of pricey though. If you are raising rabbits for their manure or for eating then you have to consider the return on your investment. Are you getting enough meat and/or manure to justify feed costs? If not, how can you reduce costs and still make sure they are eating a balanced, healthy diet?

Pellets lack essential water content, which is crucial to a rabbit’s urinary tract health and so are disliked by some. Even so, if nutritious pellets are chosen, they can be very beneficial. Bunny owners should look for fresh pellets that are high in fiber, contain sufficient non-animal protein, and have very little calcium. The best option will probably be some sort of soy free, non GMO rabbit pellet.

Pellets should not be the primary component of any pet rabbit’s diet. Because of their nutritional value and water content, vegetables should be offered in abundance. Most rabbits should receive between 2 and 4 cups of vegetables a day, depending on the bunny’s weight. Veggie food scraps can be given to rabbits and you can also dedicate an area of your garden for homegrown bunny food. The classic carrot is a great vegetable to feed your homestead rabbits, but other healthy options include romaine lettuce, pumpkin leaves, broccoli, turnip greens, sweet peppers, and parsley. The best vegetables to feed a pet rabbit are those that are grown organically to avoid exposure to harmful pesticides – something that smaller animals such as rabbits are particularly susceptible to.

Although fruits should play only a limited role in a bunny’s diet, high fiber fruits are good to offer in limited amounts. These fruits include peaches, nectarines, apples, strawberries, plums, tomatoes, and pineapple. No seeds or pits.

That brings us to hay and grass. All rabbits should be given some type of hay on a daily basis. In a rabbit’s diet, hay is the key source of fiber, which helps to ensure proper functioning of the digestive system. Additionally, hay is great for bunnies to chew on and promotes healthy teeth. The most nutritious hay is timothy hay, although oat and alfalfa hays are also fantastic options. You can make your own hay from grass too. Let your grass get a little higher than you typically like, mow it, and spread the clippings out on a plastic tarp to dry in the sun. Once dry, feed it to your rabbits. Don’t forget that they can eat weeds too. Clover and dandelion are bunny favorites.

During the summer months rabbits can do quite well on grown produce, grass, weeds, and supplemental hay. During the colder winter months you will not have the garden or the lawn to source from. In the winter you can grow other types of fodder indoors such as sprouted wheat grass. I buy non GMO wheat berries and I sprout them in sprouting trays. After only a week or so in the trays they can be sectioned apart and given to the rabbits. If you have enough trays and keep them going you can feed your rabbits this home grown fodder a couple times a week in addition to hay and pellets. In the photo below you can see one of my trays with wheatgrass on my kitchen counter…

A photo posted by Tiffany Washko (@tiffanywashko) on

With some good planning you can reduce reliance on pricey pellets while still making sure your buns have a healthy diet! Enjoy!