Throughout the Home....

Recycling & Energy Conservation Saves You Money!
Check out the EPA site for lots of good info… While you’re saving money, you are also helping to protect the environment. 
Insightful & practical piece on everything from recycling to energy conservation in the home… Using Rainbarrels, Cutting Electricity Costs, etc. 

Clorox is an environmentally safe germicide and is inexpensive to boot! check out for great tips on sanitizing your home. Great ideas for combating the flu bug and 99.9% of all of the other nasties out there, including Staph, Strep, Pneumonia, E-Coli, Salmonella, Herpes, etc.! Be sure to check out the “The Healthy Home” and the “Room by Room Cleaning Guide” sections for some really great information! 

In the Kitchen…

When greasing a baking pan use a small square of waxed paper instead of a paper towel to spread your shortening in the pan. The waxed paper will not absorb the fat so you will use less shortening to grease your pan and your hand stays grease-free! 
I have several recipes that call for only a tablespoon or two of tomato paste. Instead of throwing the rest of the can away, I spoon out the paste in tablespoon-sized dollops on waxed paper and freeze until firm. I then remove the dollops from the waxed paper and store in a freezer bag until needed. There’s no waste plus I don’t have to measure or wash a spoon every time I need tomato paste! 

Does half of your bread go stale before it’s eaten? Pop it into a freezer bag and freeze until you have the time to “convert” the leftovers into french toast, bread pudding, dressing, bread crumbs, croutons, etc. (Look for some tasty recipes in my Cuisine de Mères section.) 

A real time and energy saver, the motto at our house is cook once, eat twice. Why roast just one chicken when you can roast two at the same time? Eat one, freeze one or do your good deed for the day and share the second meal with the stressed-out new mother down the street. Another great thing about this method? Clean up for the second meal is minimal. 

Don’t throw that roasted chicken or turkey carcass away! 
Pair it with veggies in your pantry…an onion or two, some celery (with leaves), carrots, bay leaf, leaf sage and thyme, a cup of a good dry sherry, a sprig or two of fresh rosemary, about 12 cups of water, salt and several whole black peppercorns. Place in a large stockpot, cover and simmer for several hours to concentrate flavors. Remove the carcass from the broth. Cool a bit, then remove any bits of meat still clinging to the bones and set the meat aside. Strain the broth and toss away the spent veggies and herbs. Makes a light, delicious stock. Or, for a delightful, warming lunch, add the meat back to the broth and toss in any leftover, cooked noodles or pasta (without sauce, of course!) and your choice of chopped veggies. Simmer until veggies are tender. This is also a great way to use up those single potatoes, turnips, carrots, etc. 

Another cost saver…don’t throw away the celery and carrots that have gone limp in the fridge. Toss them in the pot along with the other ingredients for stock. They are still full of flavor even though they are no longer crisp enough for use in other recipes. (Be sure to always scrub and peel veggies before using.)

Don’t pay higher prices for pre-cut or deboned chicken parts. 
Invest in a good pair of poultry shears then purchase whole chickens and cut them into pieces yourself. Debone the breasts for cutlets, nuggets, tenders etc. Freeze the bones and when you have plenty, make stock for recipes or soups. Nothing goes to waste! 
Typical freezer wrap and zip-type freezer bags honestly don’t cut it 
when you’re talking about long-term food preservation. Shop around to find your favorite of the many food-preservation gadgets on the market. Shop the sales for your meat, poultry and seafood and buy and freeze in quantity. (My personal favorite is the Tilia FoodSaver.) Always think outside of the box.

Educate yourself on the different cuts of meat and forget the labels your grocer uses! Last week my grocer ran a wondermous sale on Chuck steaks & roasts. (They were actually cheaper per pound than ground sirloin or beef stew meat!) I stocked our freezer and will custom grind some into ground beef for burgers, meatloaf, etc. Others, I'll cut into chunks for beef stew or soup. By the way, if you're looking for an inexpensive cut of beef for pot roast, try a Seven-Bone Chuck Roast. The cut typically includes a portion of the tenderloin and will yield a piece of beef that honestly, will melt in your mouth. Check out "Roasts of the Season" in my Cuisine de Mères section for some awesome pot roast recipes. 

In the Bedroom…

A slightly cool room is ideal for sleeping. 
This mimics your internal temperature drop during sleep, so turn down the heat and save on fuel bills! 

In the Garden…

Use your worn-out sheets and bath towels to protect tender plants from frost damage. Always use a mulching mower and keep the cutting blade sharp.


Do Mother Earth a favor…enrich your garden soil without harmful chemicals and keep garden debris out of the landfills. Save money because you never have to purchase those expensive lawn & garbage bags ever again!
Don’t have the time or energy to continually turn a compost pile? 
“Adopt” some red wigglers and set them up in a plastic garbage can “home”. They’ll snuggle in layers of old newspaper, will simply adore your vegetable peelings, spent tea leaves and coffee grinds and will spin it all into brown gold for your garden! (Alas, if you can bear to part with them, an old fisherman has told me that they work great on the business end of a fishing pole, too. For my part, I’d put the old fisherman on the hook and keep the worms…they don’t talk back and won’t fight you for the remote…) You will find the hungry buggers for sale through Gardens Alive ( (also a terrific resource for natural/organic pest control) or The Gardener's Supply Company (  P.S. I've also been told that raising these critters and selling them along with their castings and worm tea can be a great cottage industry for enterprising folks! Hum...since this is related to improving the environment, I bet there are some gov't grants available out there to help you get started too!
For a lot of us in the southern United States, pine needles are a great, free source of mulch for acid-loving plants such as azaleas, gardenias, camellias, magnolias, etc. Unfortunately, their woody structure makes them resistant to composting and they tend to bind nitrogen in the soil. The best bet is to leave them whole and use them as a cozy winter blanket for the root systems of these plants and then remove them in the spring. Another alternative is to help the composting process along by running them through a shredder before adding them to your compost pile. Be sure they are fully composted (broken down to the point of being unrecognizable) before you add them as amendments to the soil. 

Install plastic rain barrels at every downspout. 

Not only is this a FREE source of irrigation water for your garden, it is the preferable one! Rain water is nitrogen rich and free from chlorine and fluoride and other chemicals that can kill the friendly bacteria in the soil. (“Friendly bacteria?”, you ask. It’s bacteria that breaks down “stuff’ in the soil into “bio-available” nutrients for your healthy, living plants!)