Posts tagged free

Simple Sunday

Let’s make vegetable broth for free. How?

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This is very simple. It requires little effort, and makes use of what would otherwise be waste. Woo hoo.

 

What do you do with vegetable peels and parts that don’t quite make the cut for your dinner dinner? You most likely throw them in the trash, but they are still good.

 

How, I imagine you are wondering? Let me share.

 

As I chop my vegetables for dinner I keep a gallon size freezer bag on the counter. The parts that I would have otherwise thrown in the trash, that are not moldy or rotten, go into the bag.

 

I store the partially filled bag of veggie scraps in the freezer. Adding to it as needed.
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Once the gallon bag is full I then use the scraps to make vegetable broth. Yes, for real.

 

I place all the contents from the bag into my crock pot (slow cooker, whatever name you choose to call it) and fill with water. Add desired amount of salt and let it cook on low for the day. The first time I made this I did not add enough salt, the resulting broth was lacking in flavor. I added as much salt as one might sprinkle on your dinner, if you did that sort of thing. I clearly wasn’t thinking about broth going into several dishes. The second time I made this I added probably around half a tablespoon of salt and the flavor was much better.
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After cooking the vegetables and salt on low all day turn the slow cooker off and let it cool. Then strain everything out, keeping only the broth. I just use the same strainer that I would use for pasta. I do often have some small flakes of herbs left, but it doesn’t bother me. You could avoid this by using cheese cloth.

 

Freeze. Then thaw and use as necessary.

 

I used to spend $2 on 32 oz boxes of vegetable broth, and would buy 4 at a time. In the winter I use about 32 oz of broth a week, sometimes more. Doing this has saved me some money. So I am sharing with you so you can give it a try.

 

An extra tip; don’t freeze in one large tub. Break it up, and freeze into amounts you would use for a recipe. I do 2 cup segments for example.

 

Ta da! Easy peasy.

Family Night

As a parent on a budget I often struggle to find low, or no cost things to do. It is easy to go and spend lots of money, even when you have just a small family.  Being on a budget makes cheap family nights a necessity.

 

Out of this necessity, I created what has quickly become a family tradition.

 

Pajama Movie Night!
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So what makes Pajama Movie Night special?

 

Here are our basic rules;

  • You must wear pajamas (adults included)
  • You get snacks mommy and daddy would not typically let you have
  • You watch a movie

 

I told you they were basic. Beyond that there is a little bit more to it.

 

You can get your kids snacks that are still healthy (if you want). I just try to give them things they don’t get during the week, so that they are special. You can see the inside of one of our snack bags below. The kids got Whales, Animal Crackers, and Veggie Sticks.

 

We try to get them a new movie they haven’t seen before. Think Redbox, a borrowed movie from a friend or neighbor, but really in a jam, any movie will do. Even that one they have seen 100,000 times.
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Now that we are past the basics let’s make it even more special.

 

What do I mean?

 

Here in San Diego county for the summer they offer a series of free movies in the park. For us that would qualify for a pajama movie night. We take blankets and pillows and lay in the grass.

 

Our very first Pajama Movie Night was actually at the drive in, with our Jeep. Back seats laid down, blankets and pillows every where, and fun snacks.

 

Now, however, most of our Pajama Movie Nights are at home. I still make it different from the every day. I take a few blankets and lay them on the floor. Collect all the pillows off the couch and beds. I then arrange them on the floor in front of the couch and TV. Lastly I let each child select a blanket and stuffed animal to keep with them for the movie.

 

And that’s basically it. Snuggle down, start the movie, and get your snack on.

 

I realize that this isn’t rocket science, but my kids seriously love it. The squeals and screams that come from the excitement after announcing that there will be a Pajama Movie Night, let’s me know it’s a hit. K2 calls it “Neno night” because the first PJ Movie night we did at home we watched Finding Nemo.

 

During the summer we did this twice a month, and it didn’t lose it’s charm. Now that the summer is over and so are the movies in the park, we will keep it to once a month.

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