No-Spend January

I’m going to try to join Carla over at 1/2 Dozen Daily in a no spend January.  The rules (adapted from Carla’s) are:

1.  Track purchases. Write down every single penny we spend!
2.  Start a “sealed pot challenge”.  Any coins we find go into the pot and it doesn’t get opened until December 3, 2012.
3.  Menu plan & shop from a list. We will need some fresh produce and dairy, but the rest will come from the pantry and freezers.
4.  Find free & cheap activities to have fun
5.  Focus on simplicity, organizing, & donating/tossing.
6.  Medicines/medical care doesn’t count.
7.  If we must fix or replace the refrigerator it does not count against us – it just must happen 😦

Here’s what we have on hand to play with:

  • Regal Cinema giftcard – $25.00
  • Amazon giftcard – $25.00 + $11.08 previous balance
  • American Express giftcard – $50.00
  • Starbuck’s giftcard – $25.00
  • 2 certificates from Essence of China – $25.00 with minimum purchase of $35.00
  • 1 free birthday coffee from Starbuck’s
  • 1 free birthday burger from Red Robin
  • Yeah! – I found another $25.00 giftcard for red lobster/olive garden

Monthly Do-it-Yourself for 2012

One of the things I’m going to try to do in 2012 is to try one do-it-yourself project every month. I’ve picked projects that I’ve never done before — some I’ve wanted to try for a long time.

  • January: Make Goat Milk Soap – Using Rhonda’s recipe at Down to Earth
  • February: Make a Woven Bookmark
  • March: Make Hand Lotion
  • April: Make a Kitchen Apron
  • May: Make Hand Lotion
  • June: Make Smoked Salmon
  • July: Make a Lavender Wand
  • August: Make Candles
  • September: Make Laundry Soap
  • October: Make Tortillas
  • November: Make Lip Balm
  • December: Make Bacon

Plans for 2012

Each month in 2012 I want to try to look at some of the ideas that Rose came up with in a post from August in the Down to Earth Forum. I want to be more intentional with things this year, rather than letting another year just fly by. So for January I want to:

I made a great meal of: I want to make a fantastic vegetarian dinner
I baked: I’m going to try sour dough again
I preserved: not quite sure here
I stockpiled: I need to replenish the water supply
I handmade/started to hand make: I want to crochet another wash cloth – maybe an even one this time.
I repurposed: hmmmmm? I’ll keep checking in at the thrift store
I saved money by: This month I want to try to live out of the freezer – except for fruit, veg and dairy
I sowed seeds/planted seedlings/cuttings of: Kind of cold for this now
I harvested: I have turnips in the garden
I tried something new: I want to try to make soap
I read and was inspired by: I want to finish Mindset by Carol Dweck
I finally tackled: I want to tackle the leaky faucet in the kitchen sink
I really enjoyed: I want to really enjoy my birthday

We’ll see how things go…….. Happy 2012

Eating Healthy – Smoothies

I think I’m going to try to add more fresh fruits and vegetables to my diet next year.  These smoothies that I read about at Marcus Samuelsson’s website look like a great way to start.

• 1-2 bananas
• frozen peaches
• frozen mango
• a couple handfuls of spinach
• water
• ice (if desired)

Add enough water to blend and enjoy, that’s it

Homemade iCcessories

I decided to try to make an envelope to protect my new iphone from scratches in my purse.  I used a double layer of felt fused together with heat activated fusing.  I added an old plastic card to the front to help protect the screen.  The top flips over is held closed with a strip of elastic.

I liked it so much that I made a larger version for an iPad too.

Lefse for Jul

Our Lefse Recipe

• 8 cups riced potatoes
• 1/2 cup butter – melted
• 1 cup whipping cream
• 4 tsp sugar
• 2 tsp salt
• 3 cups unbleached flour

Day 1:
Peel, rinse and cut 5 lbs of russet potatoes.  Place them into a large pot of salted water and boil until fork tender.  Drain them and run them through a Ricer and cool, uncovered overnight in the refrigerator – this will help them to dry a little which will make the finished lefse better.

Day 2: When your potatoes are cooled, mix in melted butter, cream, salt, sugar. When it is well mixed, add the flour. Once added, stir until the flour is worked in and then knead  in the mixing bowl until the mix comes together into a smooth dough.

When the dough is ready, use a 1/3 cup measuring cup to make patties so the size is fairly consistent. Shape each ball into a round patty

Turn on your lefse grill and let it heat to 450 degrees. Using a lot of flour, roll a patty into a 12-14″ round. This is easiest using a lefse pastry board and rolling pin, both with a special cover.

Slide a lefse stick under middle of the disc, lift gently it from the board, and move it quickly to the lefse grill (matching the edge of your lefse to the edge of the grill). Lay the disc down and unroll the folded over half by twisting the stick.

Let it cook for about 30 seconds (it should bubble up a bit) then, using the lefse stick, flip it over to cook the other side for 10-15 seconds.

From there simply transfer your lefse to lefse to a clean towel stacking them about 10 to 12 sheets high.

When your lefse is cool, fold them in half, then in half again and store in zip-top freezer bags. They will keep in the freezer for about 6 months.

The recipe and instructions were found at Lefsetime

Cinnamon Rolls or Ring

1 cup milk
0.25 cups warm water
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cups butter, room temperature
2 each eggs, room temperature and beaten
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
5 cups bread flour
1 tablespoons instant active dry yeast
Cinnamon Filling
1/2 cup butter, melted or softened
1 cups brown sugar
2 Tablespoons ground cinnamon

Butter Frosting
2 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
0.25 cups butter, room temperature
1 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoons pure vanilla extract


1.  Combine all of the roll ingredients into a mixture with a dough hook. Knead for approximately 10 minutes. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rest for 10 minutes.

2.  Butter a baking pan; set aside. After dough has rested, roll  the dough into a 15 x 12-inch rectangle. Brush with the butter and sprinkle the Cinnamon Filling  Starting with long edge, roll up dough; pinch seams to seal.

3. Use a sharp knife to cut the dough into 12 1″ pieces.   Place cut side up in prepared baking pan, flattening them only slightly. The unbaked cinnamon rolls should not touch each other before rising and baking. Do not pack the unbaked cinnamon rolls together.

4.  Allow rolls to  rise in a warm place until doubled in size.  Bake in a regular oven at 350 degrees for approximately 20 to 25 minutes or until they are a light golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool slightly. Spread Butter Frosting over the cinnamon rolls while still warm.

In a large bowl, combine cream cheese and butter. Add powdered sugar and vanilla extract and well mixed and creamy. Spread on warmed cinnamon rolls.

*** new for 2016

after resting the dough and rolling out into a rectangle, use only half of each of the fillings.  Roll into a long tube and cut lengthwise.  Twist the two side with the open sides facing up and form into a ring.  Bake until golden.