Frugal Friday: nonstick cooking spray alternative

I recently bought a really cheap brand of nonstick cooking spray. It was $2-something at Smart and Final. That would have been a great find, except it didn’t work. It left gunky residue on my pans and it didn’t keep food from sticking. Ick!

I kept thinking there has to be a greener way… a more frugal way… to keep food from sticking. 

THEN. I bought a bottle of liquid lecithin at the local health-food store. I had to have one tablespoon for a recipe. (Don’t you hate it when you just have to have one tablespoon and have a whole bottle of whatever left? I’m just sayin’….)

But that jiggled my memory a bit. When I was a student at a boarding high school, we used some sort of lecithin-oil combination instead of nonstick cooking spray. We used to use wax paper to spread it around the deck pans for the food deck, etc. and I figured that wouldn’t be too green. 

What else could I use to spread around a liquid solution? I thought of using a spray-bottle, but then I would have to find a food-grade spray bottle. It would likely be plastic. And I’d rather not use plastic. I googled around, and found a stainless food-grade spray can, but the reviews were mixed. In the reviews, however, I read that “real chefs” use brushes to brush oil. Now, why didn’t I think of that?

I already had a pastry brush. I decided to use an old applesauce jar to store the lecithin solution. But what is the recipe for this nonstick liquid?

One part liquid lecithin + one part liquid oil = nonstick liquid

(I don’t know what else to call it… nonstick liquid sounds boring, to be sure, but that’s what it is.)

Oh, and I used canola oil in case you’re wondering.

Directions: You just dip your brush into this liquid and brush it onto your casserole dish, baking dish, etc. I don’t use very much. I just get it nice and greasy-looking, but not so there are puddles of liquid. Spread it evenly. 

I have been using this for a few days now and it works very well on everything that I have tried it on. I can’t vouch for it on all surfaces, but I’ve even tried it in my breadmaker and it works like a charm. (The bread used to stick to the bottom of the machine.) 

Nonstick cooking 101

For more Frugal Friday tips from everyone else, visit Fish Mama’s website.

Published in: on August 20, 2009 at 10:09 pm  Comments (4)  
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How to plan a frugal wedding

I got married a little over a year-and-a-half ago. So the process is pretty fresh in my mind still. 😉 I am sure that there are other ways to be frugal with weddings, but here’s what worked for me. 

  1. 022__mg_3885I picked up a copy of How to Plan An Elegant Wedding for $5,000 or Less. Seriously. (I probably should have just googled ideas, but that’s where I started.)
  2. I wanted a modest wedding gown, but I also wanted an inexpensive gown. I googled “modest wedding gown” and found a local place where I could try on some dresses, which I did. I didn’t like anything there, but I figured out what size I was in the brand I liked best. Then I went online to the store and bought a dress on clearance from that dealer. It cost about $300 with shipping and a dress bag because my wedding was in another part of the country (see our story for the complete explanation). I did have to get some alterations but I got them at the dry cleaner’s in the small town where my family lives and where the wedding was held. My parents paid for the alterations.
  3. Have a friend do your flowers. I was blessed that one of my bridesmaids used to work at a florist’s shop. She did my flowers for free. We did pay to get her dress altered, and for the flowers themselves. We ordered the flowers from a co-op kind of flower market. I think all the flowers (5 bridesmaid bouquets, my bouquet, 5 groomsmen boutonnieres, 1 child boutonniere, and maybe 8-12 other corsages and boutonnieres for other family members and wedding participants) came to a bit over $200. We did roses for some of the boutonnieres and all 025_img_3890corsages. The groomsmen and child boutonnieres were made from mini calla lilies and the bridesmaid bouquets were 3 calla lily stems wrapped and pinned. My bouquet was a clutch rose bouquet with stephanotis throughout with little pins in them. Looked like it was out of a bridal magazine but for MUCH cheaper!
  4. Grow your own flowers and pick wildflowers. For pew bouquets, we ordered a few supplies on Save-On-Crafts, an online website with lots of great craft resources. Then, one of my family’sneighbors grew a bunch of cosmos flowers. We ordered some asparagus fern and snapdragons with the order of flowers from the co-op. The night before the wedding, a bunch of friends picked the 008__mg_3840249_img_4602cosmos, wild Queen Anne’s Lace from the fields around our house, and grapevines. Then the next morning, my cousin (another wonderful decorator!) blessed us by making the pew arrangements. We had pre-wrapped cones with leftover material from the bridesmaid dresses. So we had “pew cones.” Once again, it was a look like out of a bridal magazine… but for a fraction of the price!
  5. Speaking of bridal magazines… I did buy a few “idea magazines.” I didn’t invest in those huge, fat bridal magazines though since I had shopped for my dress online. I just bought a couple of magazines with just decoration ideas, flower ideas, or cake ideas. All my flower ideas came from the magazines.

  6. Have friends cook for your reception!
     My mom had two friends that volunteered to put together a reception menu and cook all the food. It was incredible. We decided not to have a sit-down reception, but more of an hors d’oeuvres reception with a couple of salads, crackers, meatballs to be eaten by toothpick, etc. It was simple but really tasty! We trimmed a lot there by not having it catered.
  7. 265__mg_4653110_img_4264Have a friend bake your cake! One of our family friends came all the way from Hawaii on free military travel (her husband is in the army) to bake our cake. And it was beautiful! I wanted a vegan cake. It was delicious – even our friends who aren’t vegan thought it was wonderful! It had a lemon “cream cheese” raspberry filling and was very moist and tasty.
  8. Venue. My dad teaches at a theological seminary, and I’d always liked the chapel, so we reserved it for FREE! It seated about 300 people. I think we had somewhere around 200 guests. We did have to pay for the reception venue which was a fellowship hall at a local church.
  9. Photography. Unfortunately, you may need to splurge in this department. My parents didn’t – they had a friend do their pictures, and it didn’t work out. I know so many others with similar sad stories so I decided I would splurge a little bit. I found a friend who was in school running a photography business. His work was beautiful, it was the style I like, and it was fairly reasonable. And he provided a CD of the pics to his clients. So I went with that photographer. And I’m SO glad I did. The pictures turned out beautiful.
  10. Tuxes and bridesmaid dresses. We just had the guys wear black suits and had matching ties made out of cloth to match the girls’ dresses. The girls’ dresses were made by a family friend. She charged about $80 per dress.
  11. Make your own invitations. One of my friends made gorgeous invitations for us (with engagement pictures that another one of our friends took, also for free.) They were vellum overlaid on our picture on top of another solid sheet of paper. The vellum, picture, and paper were tied together with a pretty organza ribbon.
  12. Clip coupons for JoAnn’s or Michael’s stores, and watch their sales! You’ll need ribbons, and maybe even artificial greenery or flowers depending on your style. I was blessed to have coworkers who brought me their extra coupons on a weekly basis! I became a regular at those stores. 
  13. Buy your honeymoon on Orbitz. We bought our honeymoon on Orbitz and we went to Montréal, Quebec. The hotel that we stayed at was gorgeous and it was a fairly good deal for a flight plus hotel. (Oh yeah, and this was back when the exchange rate was better!)

I uploaded a couple of our wedding pics here.

Anyway. Here’s a list of how you can start out your marriage on a happy financial note! For more frugal ideas, visit Frugal Friday.

Published in: on February 26, 2009 at 9:45 pm  Comments (2)  

Goals Progress Update

Well, here is a quick update about some of my goals and how they’re coming.

1. Journaling. Well, I haven’t done it every week. But I have written twice since the new year. Not bad.

2. Exercise – well, perhaps once a week. Need to increase that a bit to make it up to 4 times a week.

3. Going green. Yaaay, I’m making progress here! I bought some glass pyrex containers to take my lunch to work in, because I’ve been a little worried about using plastic and its effects on health. So the food isn’t as separated as those nice plastic microwave containers, but I don’t have to worry about plastic byproducts either. I also bought a really nifty set of reusable utensils to take to work. They are GREAT! I feel wonderful using them. And my coworkers all look at them and say, “Oh, those are cute!” And I feel great because I’m not throwing away plastic utensils every day. Also, I’ve been taking my reusable Trader Joe bags with me when I go shopping. I’ve remembered them for every grocery shopping trip so far. (It’s the other shopping places that I forget to bring them.) But I am doing better over all and cutting way down on the plastic bags that I bring home. I still need to get some produce bags.

4. I am currently working on getting my finances in order in Quicken. I finally figured out how to get it to work correctly. Now I’m just going through and itemizing all expenses since last March. Ayiyi… big job. 😛

*Edit: See how others are coming along with their goals this year at the Happy Housewife’s blog!

Published in: on January 27, 2009 at 9:28 am  Comments (1)  
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New Year’s goals…

I have been contemplating what kinds of goals (er, resolutions – but I like calling them “goals” much better) to make this year and have come up with several.

  • Journal at least once a week. (I used to be faithful at journaling, but I have been slacking ever since I moved to my current location.)
  • Exercise at least 4 times a week, with DH.
  • Simplify, organize, and go green. Recycle. Re-use more and buy less. Avoid unnecessary plastic and paper (remember to take my bags with me when I go shopping!!). I’ve been doing some interesting research on the internet and have come across several ideas about how to “go green.” I have been considering joining a CSA. (Community supported agriculture.) What you do is put a certain amount of money into some farms and they give you a box of organic fruits and veggies every week. So. I don’t know, I’m still thinking about that option but the more I think about it the more I like the idea. Fresh, non-supermarket organic veggies and fruit… every week… mmmm.
  • Finances. I happen to be in charge of finances at my house, and I plan to get organized in this department. I bought Quicken 2007 for Mac which will help me itemize stuff and help with taxes (I hope). We need to wipe out some credit card debt from when my dh was in med school, so we’ll be getting busy on that (we’ve been chipping away at it, but we really need to wipe it out…)
Published in: on January 2, 2009 at 9:14 am  Comments (3)  
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