Penny Pinching Peach

A place for those of us without the time or inclination to be "extreme" to indulge in a love of couponing & cooking, family & frugality, creativity & craftiness.


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This and That Infused Water

I’ve seen all sorts of blurbs online about this wonderful fad of making infused waters at home. Now, generally I’m not one to jump on the myriad bandwagons of fadhood, but in this case it seemed harmless. Since I need to drink a lot of water, love fruit, and always have mason jars floating around the house, I decided to give this particular fad a try. I have sampled a variety of different flavors, so I’ll tell y’all about it. Prepare yourself! ;)

Blueberry Lemon Infused Water

Blueberry Lemon Infused Water

My first test was blueberry lemon infused water. It was quite pretty, and made a truly refreshing beverage. I just sliced up a lemon, threw in a heaping handful of blueberries, filled my quart jar with water, shook it up and stuck the whole concoction into the fridge overnight. When I tried it in the morning, it was a big thumbs up. I was able to refill using the same fruit four times over the course of two days. The fourth time the flavor was starting to fade, so I just ate the blueberries and called it good. :)

Key Lime Infused Water

Key Lime Infused Water

My next try was key lime. I quartered two key limes, squeezed them into the jar, and filled it up with water. I also added two tablespoons of sugar melted into some hot water, because I figured it would be way too tart and kinda icky on it’s own. I think I was right, but it would’ve been smarter healthwise if I had just used a tablespoon of honey or something. :) It didn’t make it sweet at all, just cut the sour a bit. This one only worked for two refills, but may’ve worked for more and a stronger flavor with a large lime or more key limes. I liked the blueberry lemon better, but this still had a nice little zest.

Mango Infused Water

Mango Infused Water

My third flavor to check out was mango. I sliced up half of a mango into my jar, filled it with water and shook it, letting is sit overnight. It had a pleasant mellow mango flavor to it that lasted through a couple of refills. Try it!

Blackberry Infused Water

Blackberry Infused Water

My fourth tester to share was blackberries, since I’d just picked a big jug full of blackberries and wanted to see how it was. It came in a close second to the blueberry lemon on the taste test and the water color was a beautiful purple. By this point, my sweet husband had taken note of my new fun water trick and bought me a really pretty fruit infusing water bottle off the clearance rack at Walmart, as seen in the photo. I love it! It made it so simple, and I could take it anywhere and keep adding water as it got about half empty throughout the day for continuous lightly fruity refreshment. Infusing water with the mason jars was great, but using the nifty little Cool Gear Flavor Infuser 28oz BPA Free-red* with the insert and the top that snaps shut so my kids can’t dump it all over me took it to the next level, honey! :) (The fact it was on clearance added to his thoughtful hubby points. LOL)

Cucumber Key Lime Infused Water

Cucumber Key Lime Infused Water

My final creative flavor combination to share is cucumber and key lime together. I took a few thin slices of cucumbers and put them in the bottom half of my infuser insert in my Cool Gear Flavor Infuser 28oz BPA Free-red*, then quartered two key limes, squeezed them into the cup and threw the quarters into the infusion insert. Next morning, I had a drink best described as “fresh”. The flavor was surprisingly strong in a pleasant way. I’d thought of cucumber because I’d seen a few places that cucumber water could boost metabolism and aid in weight loss. Can’t hurt, huh? ;)

To sum it up, I’d definitely recommend doing your own infused waters of you like a little flavor in your beverages and are trying to drink more water. Don’t expect it to be as strong of a fruity taste as juice, but it is very pleasant and certainly makes me reach for my water a little more frequently than always drinking it plain. Adding a bit of citrus like lemon or lime to whatever fruit definitely seemed to amp up the flavor of the “host fruit”, from my little experiments. Play with the flavors. It’s fun! I’m thinking of trying pineapple or peaches next. What fruit would you try to infuse first?

*Penny Pinching Peach is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.


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Decorate Your Own Box Home

Peekaboo!!

Peekaboo!!

My children are like any other child I’ve known: fascinated by the worlds in their own imaginations. I am always looking to find things that keep their busy little hands and imaginations occupied without a lot of expense or mess. Something they’ve been having fun with lately is a huge box. I have given it to them as their own home within our home, to decorate as they please and have altered at whim.

They scribble on it at whim. I’ve put in window flaps and ceiling flaps and little eye shaped peepholes galore. They think it is awesome, and have spent hours and hours pretending it’s their castle, house, doctor’s office, art center, restaurant and who knows what all else. It’s their creative corner. I am thinking I should give them stickers to put on it, but I’ll have to supervise that one pretty well. :)

This is a simple, free activity that brings them endless fun. I’d encourage you to try it with your kiddos. :)

Decorate Your Own Box Home

Decorate Your Own Box Home


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Kids Eat Free

Kids Eat Free

Kids Eat Free

Ideally, we’d all have time to cook a balanced and delicious dinner every single night. Since we don’t live in an ideal world, and many of us just plain enjoy going out to eat at a restaurant with our family now and then, I’ve scoured the web for resources for finding those infamous kids eat free specials that make eating out with children so much more affordable. I’m sharing a few of my favorite links here.

Kids Eat Free This site lets you search for your state and city, giving you a list of restaurants who have any sort of free kids meals, including details about times and eligibility. Really great site!

Kids Eat 4 Free Super duper user friendly, this site allows you to either search by city & state or by zip code and distance. It also gives clear details about the when, where and how of all the bargains listed.

Kids Meal Deals Not only listing free kids meals, but also places with super special bargains, this site has a simple search engine where you type in your zip code, select a day of the week (or all days) and there you have your results. Click for details of each. :)

Out to Eat With Kids This site has a similar search system to Kids Eat 4 Free, but each of these sites seem to have slightly different lists of restaurants where munchkins can eat free. It’s worth doing a quick search of each to see which you can take advantage of.

What restaurant do you wish had free kids meals? Which are you happy is participating? What is just plain your favorite restaurant to eat at with your kiddos?


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Super Yummy Don’t-Tell-Them-They’re-Healthy Snacks

Veggie Snack

Veggie Snack

My kiddos are always munching on something, and often when I really don’t have time to make a quick snack. I decided to come up with healthier versions of premade snacks my four year old can just open the fridge and get out when I’m in the middle of something. By the way, I actually do tell my kids when their food is healthy, because I want them to know they are eating well and still enjoy what they’re eating instead of thinking junk is better. It sounded cute, though. ;)

One idea I came up with for inexpensive premade snacks of the healthy variety is to chop up some veggies into little stick shapes, get some ranch dressing or other preferred veggie dip and put it all together in a two sided container. In this case, I used a KFC Go Cup, because it is about the right size and already divided into two sections for the two parts. I have a lot of cucumbers from the garden and carrots are cheap, so that was my choice for this particular cup. Some other suggestions would be celery sticks, cherry tomatoes, sugar pea, broccoli, cauliflower or baby carrots.

Using the same KFC Go Cup, or a similar divided container, such as these awesome Easylunchboxes 3-Compartment Bento Lunch Box Containers “Classic” (Set Of 4). Bpa-Free. Easy-Open Lids (Not Leakproof)
, try slicing apples or green grapes and making a dip of peanut butter and honey.

The above suggestions have to be refrigerated if not being used immediately, but the ideas below are good for a snack drawer or shelf the kids can free range graze. :)

In small sandwich baggies, put in handfuls of homemade snack mix. One that I tried recently was Taco Seasoned Chex Mix. It could be adapted with your own seasonings you’d normally use in tacos, I was just trying it following their recipe to start. I like that it has very little sugar (a small amount in the cereals) and is fairly filling.

Another sandwich bag filler is GORP: Good Old Raisins and Peanuts. I mix two parts each of raisins and peanuts with one part M&Ms or chocolate chips, and it is soooooo yummy! I wouldn’t call it a health food, but it will fulfill your kiddos’ junk food cravings without allowing them to completely binge on sugar.

You can whip up a batch of my Yummy Oatmeal Banana Healthified Cookies and put a couple in each baggie for a great quick and healthy snackeroo that will satisfy even a hungry hubby. :)

This premade healthy thing can be applied to simply putting various fruits, veggies or nuts into serving sized containers for your kids to grab at will. Children tend to eat what is easily accessed, just like adults, and it is up to the grownups in their lives to provide them with solid choices.

What are some of your favorite homemade convenience snacks?

*Penny Pinching Peach is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.


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Freezing Peppers

Bell Pepper Bagged

Bell Pepper Bagged

Bell Pepper Tray

Bell Pepper Tray

One of the ways I try to stretch a dollar while feeding my family with healthy foods is to keep a garden and put up what we won’t eat while fresh for later. To be honest, I haven’t progressed to the point of having a humongous garden to provide limitless bounty to can for stocking a huge pantry of shelves I don’t yet have. I was raised doing it, but haven’t been able to do it myself yet as an adult on my own. This year I have a little semi raised bed measuring roughly 16′ by 3′, plus a few potted veggies. It won’t provide enough food to last us year round, but it does provide a large chunk of our produce for the spring and summer, plus a bit to put up for later. One of the things I put up last year was excess peppers.

Since I don’t get enough of anything at once to make a big batch of anything, I tend to freeze things more than canning. I can always can most things later if I get enough of something frozen and want to make a sauce or jelly or some such delicacy out of them. Last year I froze bell peppers and cayenne peppers to use in cooking. Wanna do it yourself? Here’s what I did…

Cayenne Pepper Tray

Cayenne Pepper Tray

Cayenne Bagged

Cayenne Bagged

Wash and seed peppers, then slice and lay out on cookie sheets. Pop them in the freezer just like that. This step keeps them from clumping together in a big mess in your freezer bags. I left them in for about an hour, then got them out and tossed them into labeled freezer bags. I squeezed out all the air I could before sealing, then laid them flat to freeze. They should keep like this for at least several months. I still have a couple of bags left from last August, and they are fine & dandy.

Which veggies and fruits do you prefer to freeze to keep them fresh & yummy? Which would you like to try freezing, but haven’t yet?

For some great recipes, please click the Chef’s hat!

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http://pennypinchingpeach.com/2013/10/04/swagbucks-savings/


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Ramen Noodle Meals

Ingredients

Ingredients

If you are like me, you make an honest attempt at feeding your family healthy meals, but sometimes…you settle for kinda sorta healthy. One of my “I’m too busy to be truly healthy” meals is to make souped up Ramen noodles.

One beyond easy option? Merely fix a box of the teriyaki flavored noodles in the microwave while sauteeing some fresh spinach and mushrooms in a pan with a bit of butter. When the noodles are finished, just stir it all together and eat. I only use half of the seasoning, because the sodium content is through the roof and it tastes fine without it all.

Fancy Pants Ramen Noodles

Fancy Pants Ramen Noodles

Another way? Get the regular type of ramen you have to boil. The flavor doesn’t matter because you aren’t going to eat it. While the noodles are boiling, shred a carrot, slice a few mushrooms and toss some mushrooms into a pan with a little butter or olive oil. Saute until just tender, then push to the edges of the pan and scramble an egg or two in the middle. Add the noodles. For seasoning, I either saute some minced garlic with the veggies, sprinkle a generous ammount of parmesan with the finished product or spritz it with some soy sauce. Whichever way you choose, it’s yummy and even moderately healthy. :)

Yet another yummy Ramen twist? Make it into tuna casserole. Cook the noodles while you mix a dollop of mayo, dollop of sour cream, handful of cheddar cheese, diced celery, and sliced mushrooms (canned or fresh). Stir it all together in a small baking dish and top with either crushed Ritz crackers or cheese. Bake at 400 degrees F until warm through, usually about 20 minutes.

One last version for the day? Boil two packs of the noodles at the same time as microwaving a steam bag of broccoli florets. When they are both ready, throw together in a large pot with a can of cream of chicken soup, half a cup of sour cream, and about a cup of cheddar cheese until warmed through. Supper is served!

What are some of your favorite twists on Ramen noodles?

For some great recipes, please click the Chef’s hat!

For a great way to earn even more while spending even less, please see my post on Swagbucks!

http://pennypinchingpeach.com/2013/10/04/swagbucks-savings/


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Egg Carton Flowers

Egg carton flowers

Egg carton flowers


I had a stack of egg cartons piling up, waiting on some inspiration, and my daughter brought them to me wanting to do a project. I came up with egg carton flowers. She was thrilled! Since my little princess enjoyed her new project, I thought I’d share it with other folks who might want something new to do to keep their munchkins happy. :)

We gathered together our supplies: An egg carton (of course! :) ), then some scissors, markers, marker stampers and some stickers that aren’t pictured below.

Egg carton flower supplies

Egg carton flower supplies

First, I cut the top off of the egg carton, then cut between the cups. Next, I cut the cups into a smoother rounded shape around the top. Last, I went snippety snip around the cup to make the petals. The different stages of development in the picture should help fill in any confuzzlement left by my description. :)

From there, it was up to Princess Peachy to finish up. She smashed the petals flat with her little hand, then got to work decorating. She had a good ol’ time being creative with decorating them all sorts of different ways with the supplies we had on hand. When she was finished, we arranged them in a flower shape on a green piece of construction paper. You could glue them on, if you want, but my little one enjoyed rearranging them too much to let me glue them on.

What household item do you have overflowing, but don’t want to throw out because you think you can find some nifty way to upcycle it? Maybe I can come up with something. :)

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