1
May

Making Yogurt in a Lux Instant Pot

by Tiffany in Recipes

So you have an instant pot and you want to make yogurt. Everyone is making yummy yogurt in their Instant Pot’s right? Sadly, all the recipes you come across tell you to use the yogurt button and you don’t have that button because you have the Lux version. Well you too can make yogurt, no worries.

Here is is the basic process…

How to Make Yogurt in a Lux Instant Pot

Add a half gallon of milk (I prefer whole, organic) to the pot. Select the keep warm feature. In about 30-40 minutes it will be good and warm. I like to let it warm up more gradually and I like to make yogurt while I am doing other things…like house cleaning. Once warm, give it a good whisking and then press the saute button to heat it further until you get to 180-185 degrees. Use a thermometer to be sure.

Once it has reached full temperature remove the inner pot and allow it to cool to about 110 degrees. Once it has cooled sufficiently add two heaping tablespoons of plain yogurt and whisk. Put it back inside the instant pot, which is now turned off, seal the lid, and close the vent. Wrap the whole Instant Pot unit in a towel and allow it to sit for 8 hours or overnight. When done remove the pot, transfer to a glass storage bowl, and place in the refrigerator. Enjoy! You now have homemade yogurt!

This recipe makes super creamy yogurt. If you want thicker, greek style yogurt, simply let the yogurt strain through cheesecloth for a couple hours to remove the whey. This will leave you with a thicker yogurt.

30
Apr

How to Make and Use a Bullet Journal

by Tiffany in Tidbits

Of all the journaling methods around, the bullet journal is the probably easiest but has the most confusion surrounding it. You may have seen a bullet journal before and loved how they can be customized into your own perfect personalized journal. You may have also seen one of these journal styles and thought “What the heck? It looks like graphing paper.” They do allow you to create a journal perfect for you in every way but the operative word is “create”. They do require you to get the creative juices flowing and make something that works for you. But once you do, you will fall in love.

Once you know how to make your own bullet journal, and how to use it properly, you can create an effective way to organize your life…every detail small and large, if you want to. Here are some simple steps to making and using a bullet journal effectively.

The Set-Up of a Bullet Journal

A bullet journal is different than most types of journals. The initial set-up is to determine what symbols you will use in the journal. A bullet, for example, may simply be to mark something that you need to do. You may then want to use an asterisk to mark something that is a long-term goal. This will go on until you have a symbol for each thing you want to track such as your daily to-do list, long-term goals, short-term goals, fitness goals, and even financial goals. You will need to put these symbols in an index to keep track of what you are doing. What other journal can track as many goals and projects as you can dream up?

Feel free to make your journal a reflection of you by using various colors, fonts, doodles, stickers, stampswashi tape, etc. If you create something you love to use, you will only set your self up for success.

When to Use a Bullet Journal

You should be using your bullet journal on a daily basis just as you would an agenda book or planner. When you make your index and you start the journal, make sure you have a date at the top of the page. Mark off what you have accomplished each day. At the end of the day, start the new day by moving the uncompleted tasks over to the next day. Having to do this keeps you accountable and it serves as a daily reminder of your goals.

How the Bullet Journal Helps You

The bullet journal is primarily there to help you with organizing your tasks and making it fun to do so. It is for the person who procrastinates or who has far too much on their plate to keep up with. It helps you organize your goals, keep them in line, and keep on top of them in order to make sure they reach their goals. You will also find that it helps you declutter your mind and your life as you get used to having the journal that works best for you.

Photo Credits: María Garridoflakyredhead

14
Apr

Frugal Friday and Craigslist Love

by Tiffany in Frugal Green

Whew! It has been a long while since I did one of these posts. Truth be told I don’t feel as though I have been very frugal or smart with my money lately. I never even got around to making a budget for last month, let alone sticking to one. That said I did have some frugal wins, even if it meant I spent a wee bit too much.

Got two loft beds on Craigslist. I was about to buy a loft bed for my daughter from Ikea for about $300. The one she actually wanted was from Pottery Barn for $800 so the Ikea one felt like a deal. At any rate I checked my local Craigslist ads and found two loft beds for $100 each. One was brand new and the other barely used. They both retailed for over $400 new. Now both of my younger kids have new beds. Score!

loft bed

My husband meets tons of people through his line of work and awhile back he met a man who empties out the apartments at an assisted living facility when they are vacated. Thanks to this connection we got two free exercise bikes we paid $100 for a barely used washer and dryer set.We turned around and sold the set for more than double our money. I sold one bike for $60 and the other we are keeping.

My Goodwill meanderings have paid off recently too. My fave Goodwill is next to a Target store and I am always finding brand new Target merchandise there. I got a 5-Shelf Trestle Bookcase ($69.99) new in the box for only $29. I had been admiring this style of bookcase for years! I also scored some storage baskets from target there for only $1.99 each and then later saw them at Target for $8.99 each.

I was desperate need of some new shoes and pretty much the only kind I buy are Reebok Nanos. They last, they fit my wide feet, and they are super comfy. The last time I bought some, Reebok was selling the 2.0 version of my beloved shoes. When I looked this time they are selling 7.0 versions. Knowing nothing about the 7.0 and not liking any of the designs I was not about to buy any for $130. They are seriously ugly! So I looked on eBay and found some new in box 3.0 Nanos in pink for $75 shipped. I adore them!!

I discovered a consignment furniture place near me and sold three older lamps we had laying around and made $15.

Earned $11 cash back this month via Benefit. Whenever I buy on Amazon or go out to dinner with my hubby to Texas Roadhouse we buy a gift card on Benefit first and pay that way. Then I print out a check for my cash back and deposit it through my bank’s app on my phone. Easy peasy!

Earned $25 through Ebates last month.

Lastly we bought new stainless appliances for our kitchen remodel. Did you know Lowe’s negotiates? I didn’t! We got a $2500 fridge that was a floor model and had a dent so they discounted it to $1400. Then they mentioned that one handle would not attach properly so we offered $1000. They agreed. With an energy rebate and selling our current fridge we ended up getting it for $700. So you never know. Oh and we fixed that handle issue in two seconds and covered the dent with a magnet. We also got a refurbished dishwasher allowing us to get a $800 dishwasher with bottle jets for only $311. Amazing!

See what I mean about spending?? I need to do a spending freeze.

5
Apr

Kombucha Recipes for Beginners

by Tiffany in Recipes

So you are brand new to kombucha brewing. Or maybe you have tried your own brew and decided you are ready to branch out and be more adventurous with flavors. Either way, here are a few recipes that are good for beginners to try and easy to add to your routine.

Basic Kombucha Recipe

If you are just trying to make a basic kombucha you will need a few items. Keep in mind, most of these items are available in kombucha kits but you can also reuse items you already have. I use bulk pickle jars. You will need jars, cheesecloth or People Towels (my fave), rubber bands to secure the cloth to the top of the jar, and a wooden cooking spoon. For the kombucha itself, you will need black loose leaf tea or black tea bags, white sugar, filtered water, and Kombucha SCOBY. The SCOBY is the yeast activator for kombucha. You will combine the hot water and sugar in the jar. Add the tea bags or tea and allow it to steep, cool down the mix, add the SCOBY, and let it ferment for three to 30 days.

Ginger Kombucha

All you need for ginger kombucha is fresh ginger, the basic kombucha tea mix, and some turmeric powder. Make the basic kombucha as normal. When the kombucha has fermented, before you add it to the bottles that you want to use, drain off the kombucha into the bottles. Add ½ tablespoon of fresh ginger and ¼ tsp of turmeric powder. Mix well and place in the fridge to cool.

Chia Seed Kombucha

If you are working on a weight loss routine, then you may already know the benefits of adding the superfood chia seed to your diet. You can make a powerful kombucha that contains this superfood. When you have removed your kombucha tea from the fermentation process, drain the tea and begin pouring it into your bottles. Add ½ cup of rehydrated chia seeds to each bottle. You can now get the power of the superfood along with the power of the bacteria in the kombucha.

Keep in mind, each kombucha recipe starts with a base that is very similar. You can use that base of tea, water, and yeast and build on that with your own ideas and recipes. Don’t become discouraged if the new recipes you create don’t workout. You can keep trying and find your own special drinks that work for you.

31
Mar

Living and Working Off the Grid

by Tiffany in The Homestead

Living and Working Off the GridYou’ve seen the old movies where there’s a cabin out in the middle of nowhere and the people utilize their talents to live off the land rather than work a 9 to 5 job.  If this appeals to you, even in the modern world this is still possible. You will have to do without some of the conveniences you take for granted, but if you’re tired of wasting your life away and want to enjoy more time doing things for you, this might be something to pursue. 

Purchase a piece of land

Before cutting strings with society and the modern conveniences make sure that you have a clear plan in place and stick to it. First, you’ll need to purchase a piece of land. Shop around for a farmer who may want to sell off a portion of his estate or an estate that the children don’t need or want. You should also take into consideration that you’ll need a private water supply and enough land to build a home, a shop, and grow vegetables.

How to heat your home

Once you have your land secured, you will need to decide how you want to heat your home and cook your meals. The good news is there are several options. You could install a wood stove, use propane, a solar inverter or wind or hydro power. Check out your options carefully and weigh the pluses and minuses. You can always change to something else at a later date but absorbing the cost a second time may not be in your budget.

Building a home

Living off the grid without mandated power supplies and electric wiring gives you a world of freedom with your design. If you have carpenter skills you could build a small cabin to start with and expand as time moves on. If, however, you don’t possess these skills, solicit a family member or friend to assist with the process. You’ll need a sound, well-insulated structure to retain the heat and keep you cool in the summer months.

Establishing a reliable food source

If you want to truly escape the hustle and bustle you’ll need to have a large garden that produces enough food to feed you for the year. Farming is a great way to significantly reduce your monthly food bill. You can also raise chickens for eggs and cows for milk if you have the land to accommodate them and the skills to care for them as well. Otherwise, you could simply plan a trip into town once every couple of weeks for the essentials you can’t produce on your own.

Employment

The nice thing about living off the grid is that your bills virtually disappear. There’s no heating, electric, cable, gas or water bill. Since your overhead is low, you no longer have to make a large salary to support you and your family. Instead, use your skills and talents to earn income to cover your costs. You can paint, sculpt, build, write, or sell your fruits and vegetables.

Living off the grid is not a lifestyle for everyone. If you enjoy having access to 200 channels and want cellular service at your fingertips, this may not be your cup of tea. However, if you want the freedom to spend quality time with loved ones and travel as you wish and you don’t mind a few compromises to achieve it, this could be something you enjoy. If you want a sure way to see if you are cut out for this lifestyle rent a cabin out in the woods for a month or two and see how you feel after. If you find it’s not your cup of tea there are still ways to join in on a smaller scale, even in more urbanized areas.