Thursday, January 24, 2013

Frugal Cosmetics: Foundation

The beauty industry makes their money by convincing people that they need a specialized product for each step of makeup application.  This simply isn't true; many cosmetics can have multiple uses, even if they are labeled for a specific use.

Let's look at foundation and concealer.  Concealer is basically a highly pigmented (concentrated) form of foundation.  It can easily be thinned down and used as a foundation, then used in it's concentrated form, as it is intended, to cover blemishes and dark areas.

Mix a drop each of concealer and your daytime moisturizer on the back of your hand.  Apply using your fingertips or a brush.  Don't use a sponge; they soak up too much product.  You will be amazed at how natural your skin will look.  I truly think this combination makes a wonderful foundation.

So, now you only have to buy one product for two uses.  And concealer is much less expensive than foundation because you are not paying for all of the fillers used to thin the pigment.

Oh by the way, don't match your concealer to your face.  Match it to your neck for a more natural look.

God bless,

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Easy Frugal Beef Stroganoff

This simple meal is easy to put together and uses an inexpensive cut of meat.

1 pound of beef stew meat
1 onion chopped
1 cup of beef broth
1 can cream of mushroom soup
Montreal steak seasoning
1 package of egg noodles
8 oz. sour cream

Add oil (just enough to coat bottom) to a pan and brown meat that has been sprinkled with Montreal Steak seasoning.  Remove meat, add more oil to pan and brown onions.  Return meat to pan and add beef broth.  Simmer on low, covered, for at least two hours.  Add in soup.  If it appears too thick add some more broth or water.  Continue to simmer while you cook the noodles.  A couple of minutes before serving stir in the sour cream and low simmer until heated through.  Serve stroganoff over cooked noodles.

This is a hearty dish and is best accompanied by a light salad.  Enjoy!

God bless,

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Brining Lean Meats

The first time I ever heard about brining was when my grandma (Dad's mom) took me into her kitchen to teach me how to fry chicken.  She filled a bowl with ice cold water and dumped in a handful of salt.  Then she told me how when you butcher a chicken it is important to soak the cut up pieces in salt water to draw the extra blood out.

What people quickly learned is that your chicken tastes much better after being brined.  The salt flavor is inside the meat, and the meat cooks up tender and moist.  Now days I brine chicken and lean cuts of pork on a regular basis.

Brines can be like Grandma's salt and water only mixture or can be a complex mix of flavors.  There are many family secret brines out there passed down from one generation to the next.

Sunday I decided to fry some pork chops, but they were frozen hard.  The best way I've found to quickly defrost meat, without losing quality, is in a cold water bath.  So why not defrost them in a cold water brine?

Deciding to go with asian flavors I mixed up this brine:
4 cups cold water
1/2 cup soy sauce (not low sodium)
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 1/2 pieces of star anise
1 teaspoon of dried lemon grass pieces

After a couple hours of soaking in the brine the pork chops were completely defrosted, but quite cold.  I breaded them with a flour, salt, pepper mixture and fried until done in canola oil.

The chops were tasty and moist with a hint of Asia in the background.  Served with a simple scalloped potato casserole they made a hearty Sunday supper.  Enjoy!

God bless,

Friday, January 4, 2013

What To Buy In January

I hope everyone had happy holidays.  Unfortunately my family succumbed to the flu right before Christmas and this nasty stuff is still hanging on.  Fortunately it happened when we had two weeks to lay around, feeling miserable and watching television (which is sad, just sad).

So, the new year is here and my mind immediately goes to the post Christmas sales.  According to Consumer Report's What To Buy When January is a great month to buy big ticket items: appliances, houses, cars.  Oh, and don't forget the traditional white sales and winter clothing.  It is also a good time to buy cosmetics since the industry is clearing their stock out in order to release their Spring lines.

If you can predict your childrens' sizes for next year I would consider picking up winter clothing.  And don't forget networking with your friends that have older and younger children.  It's fun to have a clothing swap party, let the kids play while you spend some time with your friends and get your kids clothes for next year.

Don't forget ebay.  One year I sold our outgrown clothes and shoes on ebay, then used the Paypal credit to buy our winter clothes for next year.  Buyers are looking for name brands in good condition.  I wouldn't bother listing clothing from big box stores, just donate them and take the tax credit.

I am feeling that this is going to be a slim year for us.  It is important to think ahead in order to save money.  Buy at the sales or eschew money and barter or trade for goods.  Frugal people are creative people.  Happy New Year!

God bless,