My Vintage Cookbook, The Start of My Love of Baking & Vintage

*This post contains affiliate links. I was not paid for this post and all thoughts are my own*

My mom went to nursing school when I was young, I believe around two years old. During this time I stayed with my grandma. My grandma is an amazing baker and she shared her love of baking with me. We baked more batches of peanut butter cookies than I could ever count. They are still my favorite cookies. However, I have to make them with sunflower seed butter now, as I’m allergic to peanuts.
Better Homes & Gardens New Cookbook

I have such wonderful memories of standing on a red vintage stool, measuring ingredients in Tupperware measuring cups, and using a vintage mixer in my grandma’s kitchen. This time made a special bond between my grandma and I, she is where I get some of my love of vintage as well. Plus I’m a pretty good baker, and my grandma gets a lot of the credit for that, much to my husband’s happiness.

My grandma had been asking what things of her’s were special to me. I told her of everything her Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book was the thing that matter to me the most. I knew I’d some day get it but she surprised me this year and gave it to me for my birthday! It was a wonderful surprise, well kind of a surprise, she told me awhile before my birthday. She isn’t the best at keeping secrets, but who can blame her, it’s hard to keep happy things to yourself.

Better Homes & Gardens New Cookbook

I will have to see if my grandma remembers around what year she got the cookbook but from looking online it seems to be from the 50’s or 60’s. It’s falling apart, it’s full of recipes from magazine and newspapers as well, handwritten notes, and all kinds of other wonderful things. It’s something I will treasure forever and I will also use it, carefully!

Better Homes & Gardens New Cookbook

The newer cookbook I use the most is a newer version of the Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book. I use it all the time and several recipes are the same and the general feel of the book is the same. There is nothing quite like wearing a vintage apron, baking a vintage recipe, and remembering spending time with your grandma. Growing up playing with vintage toys, baking from vintage cookbooks, and being surrounded by wonderful antiques, is likely one of the things that makes me love the 40’s and 50’s.

What is a favorite memory and/or item from your childhood? I’d love to hear about it, share in the comments below or on my Facebook page.

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5 Tips For Eating Organic on a Budget

Organic, real food is a passion of mine. In talking to others about an organic diet it’s clear that the number one thing preventing others from making the switch is budget restrictions. While this can seem like a large obstacle, there are many ways to get around it and save money while eating healthy food. These are my top five favorite ways to save while eating a healthy, organic diet.

organic food

Choose Your Organic Priority List

If you can’t buy all organic decide which items are most important to you. For produce check the Dirty Dozen list and always try to buy those organically and worry a bit less about the others. If you want to avoid GMOs choose organic for items that may be GMO, check the Non-GMO Project for more information. With dairy, if you can’t find or afford organic at least look for hormone free. For meat choose pasture raised with no hormones or antibiotics whenever possible, in my opinion this is more important than the meat being organic.

Extra Tip: When you do buy conventional produce be sure to wash it extra carefully with some white vinegar. Use about a 3:1 water to vinegar ratio.

 

Support Local Farmers

Farmers’ markets and food cooperatives are a great way to save money. Since you are buying straight from the source you can skip some added costs. You can also talk to the farmers and find ones that are using organic practices even if they aren’t certified. This will save you money as organic certification is very pricey and that cost is passed on to consumers.

When I buy grass-fed beef straight from the ranch I pay around $6.50 per pound, I pay around $9-$10 per pound at Whole Foods. This is an example of how buying straight from farmers and ranchers saves you money. The ranch I purchase from sells some of their beef to Whole Foods so it’s the same quality.

Extra Tip: Some farmers and ranchers are even willing to barter for other goods and services.

 

Meal Planning

“According to a report last August by the National Resources Defense Council, the average American tosses about 25 percent of food and beverages purchased. For a family of four, the money wasted could total from $1,365 to $2,275. Food spending as a percentage of the overall budget has decreased dramatically over the last few decades, but it’s still the third-largest expense for a household.” -read more

Planning your meals can help prevent a lot of waste. Meal planning may seem like a lot of work but once you get the hang of it it’s not. Simply plan for the amount of time you shop for, shop once a week? Plan for a week. Also keeping food on hand for favorite meals, assuming it won’t go bad, can help for nights when unexpected things come up. And don’t forget to stick to your shopping list!

Extra Tip: If you have a favorite meal that is freezer friendly, double it next time you make it and stick one in the freezer for a quick dinner.
Reduce Food Waste

This goes along with the above but you can take it a step further. A lot of things we consider scraps are useful. Chicken carcasses for chicken stocks, orange peels can be made into candy or even used to clean your garbage disposal, veggies scraps can be thrown into veggie and chicken stocks, there are so many ways to use scraps to make more meals.

Extra Tip: Save scraps in the freezer when possible. No use saving them just to let them go bad!
Shop Sales and Use Coupons

You may think coupons are for packaged food but you can find real food coupons sometimes. You won’t often find them in your newspaper but you can find many online. The sites I like to check before shopping include Mambo Sprouts and All Natural Savings. I also check the companies websites, they often have coupons you can print. And don’t forget to check the stores you are going to be shopping in for coupons and sales. If possible, stock up when things are on sale and plan your meals around the sales.

Extra Tip: Sometimes when you email companies to give them good or even bad feedback they will send you coupons. 
Using these tips is sure to help lower your food bill in no time. Also remember that healthy food is an investment in your families health. While healthy food won’t cure all health issues it can go a long way in making us healthier. As many like to say, pay the farmer or pay the doctor.

What are your favorite ways to save on organic food? Share in the comments below.

 Part of Homemade Mondays, check out the other posts.

Photo Credit:  Some rights reserved by mikecogh

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Flame Retardant Free Furniture, Coming to a Store Near You

sofa

Flame retardants were added to furniture to help keep us safe but they may be harming our long term health. Studies have linked the flame retardants polybrominated diphenyl ethers, or PBDEs, to memory and learning problems, delayed development, fertility issues, and thyroid disruptions. Some flame retardants have also been linked to cancer.

Studies have also shown these flame retardants may not be effective. Leaving us questioning their use even more.

In 1977, brominated tris was banned from children’s pajamas, when DNA damage was shown in animals. Two PBDEs were pulled from the U.S. market in 2004. Yet the chemical banned in the pajamas is still used in upholstered furniture!

Thankfully, last month New York Senator Chuck Schumer introduced a new bill, The Children and Firefighter Protection Act, to ban the ten most toxic flame retardants in upholstered furniture and children’s products.

And even better news, some companies are already making the changes! NRDC conducted a survey of 16 major U.S. furniture stores to find out which were taking the harmful chemicals out.

The Futon Shop and Crate & Barrel already have flame retardant free products available. La-Z- Boy will starting later this year. William-Sonoma (Pottery Barn, Pottery Barn Kids, West Elm),  IKEA, and Interline (Scandinavian Designs, Dania, Plummers) will have flame retardant free options starting in 2015.

Ethan Allen and Wal-Mart say they are committed to phasing out the chemicals but aren’t sure when the products will be available. Pier 1, Restoration Hardware, and Target haven’t addressed the issue yet. And American Signature, Cost Plus, Macy’s, Rooms-to-Go and Sears didn’t respond to NRDC’s requests for information.

Click this chart to read the full report:

Flame Retardant

Also be sure to check out Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families Five Easy Steps to Take Action for Toxic-Free Furniture.

Will you be shopping from the stores that are removing flame retardants in the future? What will you do until then?

Photo Credit:FASTILY

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Fall Carpet Freshener

carpet freshener

 *This post contains affiliate links. I was not paid for this post and all thoughts are my own*

Carpet can hold onto odors and leave your home smelling less than fresh. There are many carpet cleaning and freshening products out there but they often contain harmful chemicals like synthetic fragrance. Making your own is a cheap and safe alternative. This is my favorite version for fall.

Ingredients

Directions

Pour baking soda into jar, add essential oils, and shake well. Add bay leaf and close jar. When not using keep the lid without the holes on the jar to maintain the scent. To use simple sprinkle over the carpet, allow to sit for 15 minutes- 1 hour, and vacuum normally.

Tip: Use more or less of the essential oils to fit your tastes.

What are some of your favorite ways to freshen your home naturally? Share in the comments below or share on my Facebook page.

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Happy National Coffee Day! (includes recipes!)

Today is National Coffee Day but you don’t have to rush out to the local coffee shop. Making your own tasty coffee drinks at home is easy and can reduce a lot of waste. Here are some of my favorite recipes.

cafe au lait

Mint Blended Coffee

cookie dough coffee

caramel coffee

black forest coffee

What is your favorite way to drink coffee? Share in the comments below or join the conversation on Facebook.

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