Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Fresh food in a lower waste house

Recently Corey and I have started towards our goal of a lower waste house hold. It’s amazing to how much weight I’ve lost and how much healthier we’ve felt. Not to mention the fact that the money we have is going as far as we need it instead of not coming close.

The Food Changes:

  1. All bread is homemade. I make Bread 1 to 2 times a week.
  2. All Pasta is homemade. The taste POP’s
  3. All pop is made in house. The Soda Stream  was a wonderful addition.
  4. Making fruit cordials and Ginger Beer instead of kool aid and other drink mixes
  5. I make homemade Ricotta cheese
  6. Only 1 meal a week has premade frozen or boxed products in it.
  7. Fresh Garden fair.
  8. Local butcher only.

So here’s my favorite recipe using a bunch of these things.

Homemade Ravioli stuffed with Fresh Basil, Fresh Ricotta and Sausage.


  1. Half Gallon of Milk
  2. 3 to 5 Tbsp of White vinegar or Lemon Juice
  3. 4 Cups Flour
  4. 5 Eggs
  5. Water
  6. 1/2 pound sausage
  7. 6 to 8 Fresh Basil Leaves (more if you want a stronger taste)


1.Start the night before and make your Ricotta

Bring half gallon of milk to a boil on the stove in a non reactive pan.

(non reactive being stainless steal not Aluminum)

Stir like crazy to keep it from scorching. Temp should be at least 120 degrees.

Add 3 tbsp of White Vinegar or Lemon Juice. Keep stirring you’ll notice curds starting to form. Turn off heat and keep stirring until you notice the yellow whey separate. The drain in cheese cloth to remove all the whey, don’t be afraid to squeeze it out. Refrigerate Cheese.

2. Make your dough for the Ravioli. (this can be refrigerated for up to 4 days)

Take 4 cups of flour (plain flour is fine you don’t have to get expensive flours!)   Put in mixer bowl if you have a good mixer with a dough blade. Add 4 eggs and mix until it forms a ball. You can add a little water if it’s to dry or an egg yoke.

(If you don’t have a heavy duty mixer then on your work station put the flour on the counter and make a well. put beating eggs in well and then mix dough together. Knead a bunch until it’s really soft. Wrap in cling wrap or a zippy bag and refrigerate over night)

3. Cook sausage and let drain. Refrigerate.

The Next day

1.Take about 6 to 10  Fresh Basil leaves (more if your a Basil Nut) and roll them up then slice.

2.Send them, your ricotta and half your sausage through the food processer to evenly mix and break up chunks.

3.Flour your work area. Then take your dough and break into workable sizes and roll out as thin as a piece of paper. You want it this thin because it will double in thickness when cooked.

4.Slice into strips as thick as you want your ravioli. Then place balls of your mix evenly spaced then take egg wash (egg beaten with a little water) and wipe it around the edges. Cut into squares and seal with a fork.

5.These can be put on a tray in the freezer for 2 hours and then in a bag in the freezer. Or they can be cooked fresh. About 5 to 8 minutes in boiling water.  Toss with a light sauce such as butter and Garlic, white wine, lemon butter or Pesto and the flavors will pop!

Panty Hose in the Garden?

Yep, I use a ton of Panty hose in my garden!

Weather they are to small or have a run they can be used.

Here’s a list of way’s to use them.

In the garden

  1. Tie them together and then string from post to post to support climbing plants like Cucumber's, Pea’s, and Watermelon. They are so soft that they support the plants with out cutting them when the wind is blowing.
  2. Cut the toes off and then cut 1 inch off at a time to use as ties for tomatoes. They give and stretch with the growth of the Tomato and still keep from cutting the plant.
  3. Tie around the berries to guide them where you want them to go.
  4. Tie Rose’s to the trellis

Harvest time

  1. Cut off the leg and fill with Potatoes, onions or popcorn and hang to dry.
  2. Dry corn and other seeds by hanging in the stocking.


I know there’s more ways we use them but can’t seem to come up with it right now. I hope this helps. Why spend a ton of money on specialty Tomato ties? In my experience they end up either cutting the plant or the plant grows around it, or the most likely thing they break in the wind. So let’s reuse something with many purposes and takes up very little space!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Soda Stream

I follow a lot of frugal blogs and the buzz this month is about the Soda Stream a way to make Soda at home. No more lugging home pop cans and bottles, not to mention no more plastic bottles in the landfill! Is it as good as it sounds? So far I’d say yes.

We purchased the striped down basic version of it.  I’m a simple kind of girl. That and there’s less to go wrong. I love the Soda Stream!

We did purchase an extra set of Bottles. I’m a Cola addict (Actually my migraines are a Cola addict :) And hubby can’t have Caffeine so having the 4 different bottles makes it so I can have 1 dedicated to Cola and dedicate other’s as Caffeine free.  The carbonation lasts longer then regular soda. My Cola sat out for a good 4 hours and was still extremely fizzy and not flat at all when I took a sip.. Amazing for me!

A few special notes about them from me.

Warning!! Make sure you have the plastic bottle screwed on completely if you don’t water will go EVERYWHERE!!!!!!

When you first use the soda maker use exactly as directed.

Then try these few tips. 

Make completely sure the water is very cold.

I only push the button until 1 buzz. 3 buzzes is way to much carbonation in my opinion.

As soon as you carbonate take it off put the lid on and shake gently. Then add your syrup put the lid on and shake gently again. (be very carful opening. The first bottle I made had so much fizz it fizzed over)


Cola: So far I’ve found the Cola you need about 1 and 1/4 to 1 and 1/2 lids full of syrup. 1 lid full tastes like when you get to the fountain and the syrup bag is almost out.

Orange: Use only about 1/2 a cap otherwise it’s extremely sweet and overly strong

Cranberry raspberry: Love it just how they say

Dr. Pete: Good the way they say

Energy drink: Add a little more then a cap full and it really tastes like Red bull only with more carbonation :)

You can also use fruit juice and homemade cordials and add to your carbonated water. I’m looking forward to making homemade ginger aile

I don’t know yet how much we are saving but I do know we used to spend about $50 a month on pop. ( I had a tendency to loose my cans around the house and they would go flat) So this I am hoping should pay for itself pretty fast. 

Corey told me Bob and Tom in the morning on the radio really love it also. In our area the kitchen store in the outlet mall, Kohl's, and Macy’s all carry it. At the Kitchen Store it’s $15 if you exchange and empty tank for a new tank. I don’t know the cost at the other stores yet.

I hope you found some good hints and info in this quick write up. Feel fee to leave a question if you want.