Handy Kitchen Substitutions

Save time and money with this printable list of 35+ Kitchen Substitutions . Substitutions for sweeteners, leavening, flours, spices, measurements and more.
Since I live out in the country, when I don’t have an ingredient on hand, it’s not very handy to pop out to the store to pick up what I need.  Over the years I’ve found an assortment of kitchen substitutions that have worked well for me, so I thought I would put them all together in one spot and share them with you.  These won’t work *exactly* like the original ingredients, but they should do in a pinch.  You may even like them better than the original. [Read more…]

Troubleshooting Tips to Help You Bake the Perfect Loaf of Bread

Have trouble baking homemade bread? Get answers to the most common bread baking questions to help you turn baking flops into bread you'll love.

I got a phone call from an old friend yesterday.  As we were talking, his recent bread baking mishaps came up.  He told me, “Next time we’re over for a visit, you have to show me how to bake bread.  I’ve been trying, but one loaf of bread was flat, another loaf of bread looked great and then in caved in, and I just can’t get my bread to turn out right.”  Since he and the family won’t be able to come and visit until summer, I decided to write up a list of troubleshooting tips to help you bake the perfect loaf of bread, or at least bread that won’t do double duty as a door stop.  We’re going to tackle things in a question and answer format, so hopefully if there’s a question you’ve run into while bread baking, you’ll find it in the list. [Read more…]

How to Make Wool Dryer Balls

How to Make Wool Dryer Balls to fluff and soften your clothes, reduce drying time and save energy.  Eco-Friendly, non-toxic, can also be used as a soft toy.

This is a guest post by Leigh Dudenhoeffer of Frozen Tundra Fiber Arts.

A lot of people have brought it to my attention that my wool dryer balls are ‘too bouncy’ to be 100% wool. If you were to say this to me in person, I’d invite you to cut one in half and see for yourself. I would also consider it to be a waste of the hard work I put into my dryer balls. The halved ball, on the other hand, I would be able to recycle into new dryer balls.

I don’t like to share anything about my process or the processes my art or craft goes through to get from point a to point b. This time, I will share my process. I find that it’s necessary for a dryer ball to have some bounce in it to bounce its way around the clothes dryer. It’s this bouncing action that is what actually softens the clothes as they’re being propelled around the inside of the clothes dryer.  The balls wedge themselves between the items of clothing, reducing  drying time and saving you money. [Read more…]

12+ Easy Homemaking Tips for the Busy Homesteader

12+ Homemaking tips and tricks to keep the clutter under control and make things a little tidier and easier to use. Save time and money, reuse and repurpose.

I am not a super awesome housekeeper.  Every so often I rehome rarely used items and do more thorough cleanings, but for the most part our home is unlikely to end up in a photoshoot for Better Homes and Gardens.  That said, I do use a number of homemaking tips and tricks to keep the clutter under control and make things a little tidier and easier to use.   A minute saved here and there; reusing, repurposing and extending the life of items so we don’t need to buy replacements so quickly – every little thing adds up to make a difference.  Plus – a new study has linked clutter with depression, so keeping things neater may help improve your mood! [Read more…]

5 Uses for a Vacuum Sealer Everyone Should Know,Plus a Review

5 Uses for a Vacuum Sealer Everyone Should Know, Plus FoodSaver® FM2000 Vacuum Sealer Review. Vacuum Sealers protect more than just food.

I’ve owned a Foodsaver® Vacuum Sealer of one type or another for a couple of decades now, and I can’t imagine my kitchen and pantry without a vacuum sealer.  Okay – that’s not really true.  I can imagine it, and I don’t like it.  During harvest season, my vacuum sealer lives on the counter.  It simply can’t be beat for extending the freezer life of produce.  (It works great for meat, too.  We always get our bulk meat purchases vacuum sealed at the butcher.) 

I can easily carry over food items for a year or more if needed, which is great if we have a bumper crop of something one year and a crop failure the next.  Two year old vacuum sealed berries look like they were picked and frozen the day before.  Try that with produce in a regular zipper bag, and you’ll end up with a block of ice.  Below is a comparison of two packages of broccoli, one vacuum sealed, one not.  I thought I’d use the second package up quickly, so I didn’t take the time to vacuum seal.  Big mistake.

vacuum sealer comparison - vacuum sealed bag versus zipper bag

I put together a quick list of five uses for a vacuum sealer everyone should know, just to highlight some of the cool stuff that these sealers can do.  We also have a review and giveaway of the new Foodsaver® FM2000 vacuum sealer, which reminds me of the original vacuum sealer I had for over 10 years, except it’s black and the old one was white. [Read more…]