Jillee's creative cleaning solutions show you all the different ways you can keep your home sparkling clean. With an extensive list of DIY home cleaning solutions and cleaning product recipes, Jillee thinks outside of the box when it comes to keeping the house clean!
Today we’ll be discussing a genius invention with a surprisingly long history: the Lazy Susan! In fact, rotating platforms like these have been in use since the mid-1700s. Although technology has advanced by leaps and bounds since the 18th century, the design of the Lazy Susan has remained relatively unchanged. It’s a brilliantly simple device that can be just as useful in our lives today as it was back then.
Today I’ll be sharing 12 different ways you can use a Lazy Susan around the house. I hope this post provides some inspiration for how you can put one to good use in your own home! I’ll also share some easy instructions for making your own super simple DIY Lazy Susan. (Look for those at the end of this post!)
12 Brilliant Ways To Use A Lazy Susan
1. Spice Cabinet
I have a handful of spices and seasonings that I use frequently when I cook, and I keep those in the cupboard above my stove. It keeps them handy, but the cupboard is pretty high up, which makes it hard to reach the stuff that gets pushed into the back of the cupboard.
It recently occurred to me that I could solve this problem easily by putting in a Lazy Susan! That way I could just spin it to find what I needed, without having to struggle to reach way into the back.
2. Baking Supplies
Keep all your baking supplies on a Lazy Susan in your cupboard. Not only does that keep all your baking stuff in once place, but it also makes it easier to keep track of smaller items like sprinkles and vanilla extract.
Keep your fridge nice and tidy with a Lazy Susan! Keep all of one type of item on one, like condiments and spreads. You could also just put one in the back of the fridge to make things easier to grab!
4. Craft Room
A Lazy Susan can make the perfect addition to your craft room (or any surface you happen to be using as a craft table). ;-) Put all your supplies for you project on it, and spin it to keep everything accessible while you work! It’ll keep you more organized and less messy.
5. Gift Wrap
You can use the same Lazy Susan technique described above when you’re wrapping gifts! Place your scissors, tape, ribbon, and whatever else you’re using onto it to keep it all close at hand.
6. Dining Table
The Lazy Susan was a popular addition to dining tables in the 19th century. The idea was that if you kept food and drinks on a rotating table, people could easily serve themselves without those pesky servants getting in the way. (The “first world problems” of the 1800s!)
But the overall concept is a good one, and can easily be applied to your 21st century dining table. Use a Lazy Susan to make food, condiments, or seasonings easily accessible for the whole table. It’s especially helpful for round-shaped tables!
7. Decorating Cakes
Putting a cake on a Lazy Susan can be really helpful for decorating! You can spin the cake as you work rather than having to move around it.
8. Barbecues & Picnics
Use a Lazy Susan for utensils and napkins at a barbecue or picnic! You could also use one for condiments. It’ll save space on your table for other foods too.
9. Cleaning Supplies
Use a Lazy Susan to keep your cleaning supplies organized under the sink! It makes it much easier to grab what you need without having to bend over so far.
10. Hair Products
Save space in your bathroom by keeping your hair products in a Lazy Susan. You could also use a small one to keep your makeup organized and handy.
Keep a Lazy Susan on your potting bench for gardening. All your seeds and tools will be easy to find and use!
12. Laundry Room
My laundry room is pretty short on storage space, so I use a Lazy Susan to help keep things tidy. I keep it in the cupboard above my washing machine, so I always know right where everything is.
You can find Lazy Susans online in many different sizes, but it’s also really easy to make your own! Here’s how to do it at home.
Place the marbles in the bottom of one of your pie plates. Add just enough so that it forms a single layer of marbles. Place the other pie plate on top of the layer of marbles. Add your items, and spin gently to use your DIY Lazy Susan! :-)
In my experience, the best recipes are often the ones that take the least amount of time and effort to make. I find that the more time I spend making a complicated recipe, the higher my expectations are for how it’s going to taste. By the time I finish cooking, my expectations are so high that I rarely end up feeling like the meal was worth all that the time and effort.
On the other hand, when making a recipe where all I have to do is literally “dump” a few ingredients in my crockpot (or Instant Pot), my expectations remain reasonable. And I’m usually much more likely to enjoy eating that meal, and I’ll likely make it again! And that is certainly the case with the recipe that I’m sharing with you today. This creamy chicken dish could not be any easier to put together, and your crockpot does all the hard work for you. (I’ve also included pressure cooker directions for those who want to use their Instant Pot!) If you’re on the lookout for easy and delicious recipes, make sure to add this one to your collection. :-)
Cream Cheese Chicken
2.5 – 3 lbs frozen chicken breast tenderloins
8 oz cream cheese
15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
15 oz can sweet corn, drained
10 oz can Ro-Tel (or diced tomatoes)
Directions For Slow Cooking:
Add all the ingredients to your crockpot and cook on low for 6 hours. You can also use the “Slow Cook” setting on your Instant Pot!
After 6 hours, turn your crockpot off. Remove the chicken from your crockpot, shred it, and return it to the crockpot. Give it a stir to incorporate, then let the whole thing rest for about 30-45 minutes to thicken up. Serve as desired (see below for ideas!) It doesn’t get much easier than that!
Directions For Pressure Cooking:
If you want to speed things up, you can use the “Pressure Cook” or “Manual” setting on your Instant Pot. Add all the ingredients EXCEPT the cream cheese to the pot, then pressure cook for 8 minutes.
When the time is up, use Quick Release to depressurize the pot. Then remove the lid, and pull the chicken out onto a plate or cutting board and shred with two forks. Or you can use a stand mixer for especially fast shredding.
Whenever I venture into makeup or beauty stores these days, I’m almost overwhelmed by how many different types of products there are for sale. My personal makeup routine has always been pretty streamlined, but I can easily imagine getting swept up in the “I need one of everything” mentality. But the reality is that many of your favorite beauty products can serve multiple purposes, even if they aren’t advertised that way. Knowing what those other uses are could help you cut back your makeup collection significantly! So to that end, today I’ll be sharing alternative uses for 12 common makeup products.
And just to clarify, I don’t mean this as an attack against people who love makeup. If you’re the type who has every shade of eyeshadow and every makeup tool under the sun, more power to you! :-) My goal is to simply share alternative uses for people who could benefit from cutting back on the amount of beauty products they own. So whether you’re short on storage space, looking to save some money, or even if you just want to be prepared for beauty emergencies, I think you’ll find these tips as useful as I do!
12 Beauty Products That Can Do Double-Duty
1. Lip Balm
You use your trusty tube of lip balm to keep your lips soft and smooth, but that’s not all it can do! You can use lip balm to soothe cracked cuticles, prevent blisters, minimize mess while you’re coloring your hair, tame flyaways and rogue brows, and erase mascara smudges. Learn even more ways to use lip balm at the link below!
There are plenty of useful things you can do with hairspray! Spray your bobby pins before putting them in your hair to help them stay put. Spray your tights before wearing them to prevent runs. And spray your freshly-painted fingernails to make the polish dry faster! You can also use it to tame unruly brows! For more uses for hairspray, check out the link below.
Vaseline (or my homemade non-petroleum jelly) is a serious multitasker. Use it to keep lipstick off your teeth, or use it like mascara to define and add volume to your lashes. You can also use it to relieve razor burn, mask split ends, and give matte lipstick a glossy finish! Get more details and more uses for Vaseline at the link below.
I like to keep a few inexpensive toothbrushes in my bathroom to use for non-teeth-cleaning purposes. You can use a toothbrush to gently exfoliate lips, to separate and fan your lashes, and even to help re-dye your roots. (Use a separate toothbrush for each different use, and preferably not the one you use to clean your teeth!) ;-)
5. BB Cream
Your favorite multi-purpose BB cream just got even more useful! Apply BB cream to your legs to make them look even better while wearing skirts and dresses. The cream will hide imperfections and highlight the definition in your legs, making them look long, lean, and shimmery! You can also use it around your collarbone for the same effect when wearing shirts with lower necklines.
Your mascara can double as an eyeliner if you know this easy trick! Place your mascara wand at the base of your lashes, but instead of sweeping up, move the wand side to side. This creates an artfully smudged eyeliner effect without actually using eyeliner.
7. Coconut Oil
You might already use coconut oil as a conditioning hair mask or as a moisturizer, but you can also use it to help nourish your lashes! Use a clean mascara wand to apply coconut oil to your lashes (and brows, if desired) to moisturize, strengthen, and promote growth. It’s much cheaper than any lash & brow serum!
If you’re out of foundation or you misplaced it, you can use your concealer as a stand-in. Just apply some of your concealer to the back of your hand and mix in some of your moisturizer. Use a sponge or brush to apply the concealer mixture like a foundation, and voila! Beauty crisis averted. :-)
Mix your favorite shade of eyeshadow with a small amount of vaseline to create a custom lip color! The color options are endless, and it’s a great way to put eyeshadows you don’t use often to good use.
10. Body Wash
In a pinch, a good moisturizing body wash makes a fine substitute for shaving cream. Why spend the extra money for a fancy shaving cream if you don’t have to?
11. Eyebrow Pencil
Your brow pencil can serve double duty as an eyeliner. Using a brown shade for eyeliner is a great daytime look, and makes a great alternative to traditional black eyeliner.
12. Translucent Powder
A translucent powder is great for setting makeup and creating a flawless matte finish. You can also use it to add extra body to your lashes! Just dust a bit of powder into your lashes, then apply mascara as usual. The mascara will cover the powder and make your lashes look larger and fuller.
Today I want to talk about one of the most underrated products in the cleaning aisle—Bar Keepers Friend. I’ve kept a bottle of this cleaning powder under my sink since back when I originally posted about using it to clean your dishes. (You’ll find out more about that below.) While I was amazed by how well it did that one specific job, I didn’t really of any other ways to put my bottle of Bar Keepers Friend to good use!
I didn’t think much of it, until recently when I spotted a new Bar Keepers Friend product at the store. It still has the same formula, but in the form of a “soft cleanser” rather than a powder. (I would compare the texture to Soft Scrub.) I bought a bottle out of curiosity, and it got me thinking about how I never really took the time to look into more uses for Barkeeper’s Friend. So this week I did just that, and I came away with more useful tips than I ever could have hoped for! Today I’ll be sharing those tips with you, so you can see just how useful this cleaner can be in your home! :-)
14 Genius Uses For Bar Keepers Friend
You can use Bar Keepers Friend to remove those light scratches and marks on your plates, bowls, and other dishes. I wrote a whole post about how well it works, and I got some great before-and-after photos out of it. You can check it out at the link below!
Whether your kitchen knives or flatware are starting to rust, or if they’re just looking a bit dull, a quick scrub with Bar Keepers Friend will do wonders.
3. Tarnished Silver
You can use Bar Keepers Friend to clean tarnished silver trays and serving dishes. Use it sparingly, as a little goes a long way on silver! You’ll be shocked at how shiny and clean your silver can look. This little pitcher was a vintage thrift store find that was horribly tarnished. I honestly didn’t think it would ever look new again! But after a couple of minutes of scrubbing it was bright and shiny!
4. Pots & Pans
You know that burnt, cooked-on layer of grime that clings to the bottom of your pots and pans? Bar Keepers Friend can remove that stubborn grime, no sweat! Your pans will look as clean as the day you bought them. I decided to just clean a small spot on the bottom of this frying pan so you really see the difference. I let the soft scrub sit on this pan for a few minutes. All of that grime came off with virtually no scrubbing!
5. Showers & Tubs
Keep a container of Bar Keepers Friend with your bathroom cleaning supplies, because it’s a miracle cleaner when it comes to showers and tubs! Clean your porcelain or fiberglass tub, along with glass shower doors, and tile and grout!
Have you ever looked at the inside of your dishwasher closely? If you haven’t taken any steps to clean it lately, chances are it looks pretty rough. Use Bar Keepers Friend to scrub away any residues or buildup lurking in your dishwasher. A clean dishwasher equals cleaner dishes!
7. Kitchen Sinks
You don’t know how clean your stainless steel or porcelain sink can look until you’ve cleaned it with Bar Keepers Friend. It erases scuffs, scratches, and residues with easy, leaving you with a shockingly clean sink!
8. Auto Scratches
It might sound strange, but you can actually use Bar Keepers Friend to erase mall scratches and marks on your car. It works similarly to those polishing compounds you can get at auto supply stores. Just use a small amount, and make sure to wipe up any leftover cleaner afterwards!
9. Glass Stovetops
Any glass stovetop will looked a bit scuffed and scratched up after using it for a while. A quick scrub with Bar Keepers Friend will make it look like new!
10. Water-Stained Wood Furniture
We all do our best to prevent water rings on our wooden furniture, but accidents happen! Luckily Bar Keepers Friend works well to remove those unsightly marks from your wooden surfaces. Use it sparingly, and scrub gently!
11. Stainless Steel Appliances
Use Bar Keepers Friend and a soft sponge to clean your stainless steel appliances. Make sure to use a soft sponge to avoid scratching the finish!
12. Vintage Pyrex
If you own or collect any of those brightly colored vintage Pyrex dishes, you can use Bar Keepers Friend to clean them up! It will make scuffs and scratches disappear. (How gorgeous is this Pyrex collection from Esther Lee – @vampyrex on Instagram?)
13. Oven Door Glass
Sometimes it seems like that layer of grease that builds up on the glass of your oven door is impossible to clean without harsh cleaning products. But Bar Keepers Friend can take care of it easily! Just smear a layer onto the glass, then rub or scrub it away. The grease will disappear, and you’ll be amazed! Just look at how brown the cleaner is in this photo. That’s all grime that scrubbed right off in just a couple of minutes!
Use Bar Keepers Friend to remove scuffs and marks from your countertops. We use it religiously to keep our bright white countertops at the studio clean. Nothing else works quite as well to keep them shiny, clean, and mark-free!
It wasn’t until a few years ago that I rediscovered the magic of good crusty bread from a bakery. As a mom to 4 kids, my consumption of bread was mostly limited to the loaves of white sandwich bread that were a staple at our house. (Of course, that was before my son Kell was officially diagnosed with celiac disease, but I digress.) Sometime after my kids became capable of making their own sandwiches, I quickly fell back in love with crusty baguettes, boules, and other delicious artisan breads.
But since I was the only one eating them at the time, my delicious bakery breads would often get stale before I was able to finish them. But then I was introduced to a genius trick to revive stale bread, and my problem was solved entirely! I was skeptical that it would work, but I was honestly shocked by the result! I was able to take stale, nearly inedible bread and transform it back into soft, chewy, bread with a beautifully crusty exterior.
This is a must-know trick for anyone who enjoys good, crusty bakery bread like I do. (The emphasis here is on “crusty bread,” because since this method involves water, it won’t work well on soft, spongy types of bread.) It’s also great for entertaining. Impress your guests with “fresh out of the oven”-tasting bread with dinner!
Give this bread-reviving trick a try, and I’m sure you’ll be just as pleasantly surprised as I was! :-)
How To Soften Stale Bread
A stale loaf of crusty bread
Run the loaf of bread under water to moisten the outside. (If the bread has been cut, try to avoid getting the cut end wet.)
Next, wrap the loaf in a piece of tin foil.
Place the loaf in a cold oven, and set it to preheat to 300°F. Once you’ve turned on the oven, set a timer for 10 minutes.
When the timer goes off, remove the foil from the bread and place it back in the oven. Bake it for 5 more minutes to allow the exterior to get nice and crusty.
Then eat and enjoy! I have found that “revived” bread is best when eaten within 30 minutes of reheating (and when smeared with a thick layer of butter, of course!)
Do you have any tricks for reviving stale foods? Share it with us in a comment below! :-)
Whether you have a spacious kitchen or a tiny kitchen, chances are you have at least one item you just can’t figure out how to store properly. It may be a stack of things that always seem to be disorganized, or it could be an item that doesn’t quite fit in the space you’ve stored it in. Regardless of what the specific problem is, it’s really annoying, and it adds unnecessary stress to your day.
I’ve had my fair share of annoying kitchen storage issues over the years, and I’ve managed to find simple solutions for many of them. I wanted to share a collection of those solutions with you today, in order to help you tackle your own kitchen storage nuisances! After all, it’s almost time to start thinking about spring cleaning. And if you’re going to be deep cleaning your kitchen, you might as well get more organized while you’re at it, right? :-)
10 Smart Solutions To Annoying Kitchen Storage Problems
1. Bulky Items
We all have one or two bulky kitchen items that drive us crazy. I used to have this potato masher that would always get stuck when I tried to open the drawer I stored it in, and it drove me crazy!
For those bulky, annoying items that just don’t fit anywhere else, why not store them on pegboard? It’s an easy and effective solution for storing just about anything in your kitchen.
2. Paper Towels
If counter space is hard to come by in your house, even keeping a paper towel holder on the counter can be out of the question! Luckily there are a lot of clever alternatives for keeping paper towels close at hand, but off your countertops. You can find paper towel holders that you can attach to your wall, under a cabinet, or over a cabinet door.
3. Printables & References
Keep your printables and other helpful references close at hand by hanging them up on the inside of one of your cupboard doors. (If you haven’t downloaded any of my helpful printables, I’ve linked to a couple of them below!) The inside of a cupboard door is also a great place to keep measuring cups and spoons!
It can be difficult to reach the items in the back of a cabinet, especially if that cabinet is up high or down low. One simple way to make those items more accessible is to add a lazy susan to your cupboard! Place the items on top of it, then just spin it to easily find what you need.
5. Small Items
Your kitchen cupboards can store a lot of stuff, but it can be tricky to keep things organized when you’re storing small items. Corral your small items together with an under-the-shelf basket like this one. You’ll be able to store more stuff in a more organized way!
6. Mixer Accessories
While I love my KitchenAid stand mixer, finding a place to store the big attachments can be a pain! I kept them in a drawer for a while, but they would often cause the drawer to get stuck as I was opening it. I finally just decided to store my mixer attachments in the bowl of the mixer itself! Other options for storing those bulky mixer accessories are hanging them on pegboard, or hanging them on Command hooks in your pantry or cupboard.
I used to keep my cookie sheets stacked flat in one of my larger cupboards, but I quickly realized I needed a better solution. They don’t stack very nicely, so stuff kept sliding off of them and creating chaos in the cupboard! Now I use a rack so I can store my cookie sheets vertically! You can also achieve the same effect using tension rods placed vertically, or using a few bungee cords!
8. Mason Jar Lids
Mason jar lids and rings can be annoying to store too. The trick is to use a container with two compartments, so the lids and rings are stored in together without becoming a jumbled mess.
9. Utensils & Tools
If your utensil drawer is a mess, or gets snagged when you try to open it, try using a utensil crock. I keep my bigger items like wooden spoons, whisks, and spatulas in a crock on my countertop, which keeps my utensil drawer much more organized than it used to be.
10. Spices & Seasonings
One of the best things I ever bought for my kitchen cabinets is a tiered spice rack. It makes it so much easier to see what spices I have and to locate the one that I need. You can also find ones that pull down to make them easy to reach if they’re in a high cupboard.
Cleaning your oven is one of those chores that is easy to put off. You only briefly look inside it a couple of times a day at the most, so it’s easy to let the problem remain out of sight, and out of mind. But I’m here to tell you that cleaning your oven is actually way easier than you might think! Today I’ll be showing you a super easy way to clean your oven that doesn’t require expensive store-bought cleaners, or massive amounts of elbow grease.
The keys to this method? Simple household ammonia, and time. (This method actually has a lot in common with the way I clean my nasty stove burners!)
Inexpensive ammonia helps to loosen and dissolve those tough baked-on messes inside your oven. Instead of scrubbing for hours, you’ll be able to wipe your oven clean in just a few minutes. Although this homemade oven cleaner doesn’t do all the work for you, it does make a difficult job much, much easier!
But before I show you how it’s done, let’s get a couple of important warnings out of the way:
If you have a gas oven, make sure the pilot light is out and the gas has been turned off before you start cleaning.
Never mix ammonia with other strong cleaning agents, such as bleach or commercial oven cleaners.
Okay, now let’s get started! :-)
How To Easily Clean Your Oven
Pot of water
Scrubbing pad or sponge
Step 1 – Prep
Start by preheating your oven to 150 degrees F.
While the oven is heating, put your pot of water on your stovetop and bring it to a boil.
When the oven has reached 150 F, turn it off. Pour 1 cup of ammonia into a baking dish, then place the dish on the top rack of your oven.
Finally, place the pot of boiling water on the bottom rack of your oven, and close the oven door.
Step 2 – Wait
You’ll want to give the ammonia and hot water several hours to work their magic inside your oven. The most convenient way to do it is to do the prep right before you go to bed, and let it sit overnight.
Step 3 – Empty The Oven
In the morning, open your oven and remove both the bowl of ammonia and the pot of water. (But don’t dispose of the ammonia; you’ll want to use it later!)
Remove the oven racks as well, and leave the oven door open to air out for about 15 minutes.
Step 4 – Scrub
Now that the ammonia has had time to work it’s magic, it’s time to scrub all that nastiness away.
Add 1-2 teaspoons of dish soap to the dish of ammonia, along with a quart of warm water. Then pull on your cleaning gloves and grab a scrubbing pad.
Dip the scrubbing pad into the ammonia mixture, and use it to wipe away the softened grease and grime along the sides and bottom of the oven. (It should be a fairly easy job at this point!)
If you’re willing to give it a try, I promise this will be the easiest way to clean your oven you’ve ever tried! (And if your oven racks look like they could use some love too, check out the link below!)
If you’re having a hard time reaching the back of your oven, you can make it much easier by removing the oven door. I know, it sounds complicated – but it really isn’t! To remove the door from the oven at our studio, we simply pulled it all the way open, then used a grilling fork to pry open a latch on each side. It came right off, and was very easy to put back on.
If your oven door doesn’t have latches like ours, just Google “remove oven door on [your oven make and model]” and I’m sure you’ll find the right instructions!
Bonus Tip #2 – Keep Your Oven Clean
Once your oven is clean, you can help keep it that way by utilizing oven mats. I’ve lined the bottom of my oven with these washable, heat-resistant mats. When the mats get dirty, I just pull them out and give them a quick wash in some soapy water. I’m just sorry that I didn’t start doing it sooner! :-)
It might seem silly, but one of my biggest pet peeves is having to carry a purse. But since I have to have the things I need with me during the day, carrying a purse is unavoidable. So I try to make carrying a purse as painless as possible by finding cute bags with practical features. While I do have a few bags at home that I use regularly, I wouldn’t say that I’m crazy about any of them.
A few months ago I took to my Facebook page to ask my followers about their favorite pair of comfortable shoes, and I wrote a whole blog post featuring their answers. (You can read that post at the link below!) I decided that it might be helpful to get similar feedback about purses, to help me in my search for a great bag that I don’t hate carrying around. So I asked my Facebook followers to tell me about their favorite bags and purses, and today I’m sharing their incredibly useful insights!
I’ve included the few brands that were mentioned by name, but some commenters didn’t mention a specific purse brand or model. Many comments listed features that they liked in a bag or purse, so I found some bags on Amazon that had similar features. My hope is that the following list gives a good indication of the range of styles, prices, and features that were mentioned. There’s a little something for everyone here, and it has definitely been helpful for me in my search for the perfect bag! :-)
11 Of The Best Types Of Purses, According To OGT Readers
If you’re looking for a bag that’s practical, functional, and durable, this daybag is a great option! It has a wide strap that won’t dig into your shoulder after a few hours of wearing it. This bag is a favorite of travelers, because it has spaces for water bottles, wallets, an umbrella, a phone, and pretty much anything else you could need while exploring! Here’s what one reader had to say about it:
“This is my favorite… and over the last 15 years I have had 3 [of them]. I am not a person to change my bag unless it wears out and this thing wears like steel. [It is] machine washable, and converts in seconds from a shoulder bag to a crossbody. It has more room in it than my first 3 apartments combined and I LOVE a well organized bag.” – Joan
This bag is perfect for anyone who prioritizes pockets. It has three zip compartments so you’ll have a place for everything! It also comes in 21 different colors, so you can have a bag to match every outfit. :-)
Some people prefer a backpack-style bag like this cute, faux leather option. It’s not as large or capacious as a school backpack, so it’s much more convenient to carry around. It will keep your hands free without getting in the way.
This is a cute option for those who like roomy, slouchy hobo bags. You can pack all your stuff into it with room to spare! And thanks to the removable strap, you can use it as a shoulder bag or a crossbody bag.
I’ve definitely become more of a fan of totes in the past few years. (As long as they’re not TOO big, because that just leads to me carrying around more stuff than I actually need.) This one is inexpensive, comes in small, medium, and large sizes, and you can pick from a wide variety of colors!
This doesn’t necessarily qualify as a purse, but I felt it was worth including! Purse organizers are really helpful, especially if you like to switch between bags often. This one comes in two different sizes and six different colors, and they have plenty of pockets to keep your stuff organized.
If you’re looking to splurge on an expensive, well-crafted purse, you can’t go wrong with Dooney & Bourke! Dooney & Bourke bags come in a variety of sizes, styles, and prices. This was by far the most frequently mentioned brand in response to my question on Facebook! Here’s what a few people had to say…
“My big old Dooney bag. I’ve carried it for the better part of five years and will until the strap falls off. Then I’m getting the strap fixed and carrying it until the bottom falls out. Then I’m giving it a good Christian burial in the yard because it is the best bag ever!!!” – Erin
“Dooney & Bourke. Cost me $400 but lasted 10 years without even so much as a scuff.” – Lacey
“Definitely Dooney & Bourke!!! I love all of mine!!!” – Mary
I think we pay a lot of money for convenience these days, especially when it comes to grocery shopping. If you’re trying to stick to a grocery budget (and who isn’t?), then you’re probably already avoiding many of the items that are purely convenient, like pre-cut fruits and veggies, etc. But there’s another somewhat less obvious way to save money on your groceries, if you’re willing to put in a little bit of effort!
Today I’ll be sharing a list of common pantry staples that you can easily replicate at home–some of which you may not have thought of before. Making these items at home instead of buying them at the store is a simple way to save even more on your groceries. And you’re sure to save yourself a few trips to the grocery store too! :-) So without further ado, here are 10 pantry staples you whip up right in your own kitchen.
10 Pantry Staples You Can Easily Make At Home
1. Brown Sugar
Make your own brown sugar by mixing 1 cup of granulated sugar with 1 tablespoon of molasses (or slightly more for dark brown sugar). When stored correctly in an airtight container, molasses can stay good for a year or more. So as long as you have some granulated sugar and molasses on hand, you can just mix up your own brown sugar whenever you need it! :-)
2. Self-Rising Flour
Self-rising flour sounds complicated, but it couldn’t be easier to make. Just mix 1 cup of all-purpose flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt together. Double, triple, or quadruple the recipe as needed to make enough self-rising flour for your baking project.
3. Bread Crumbs
If you keep bread on hand, you should never have to buy store-bought bread crumbs! Just toast a few slices, blitz them in your blender or food processor, and voila! You’ve got perfectly delicious and crispy bread crumbs.
To make your own seasoned bread crumbs, add the following spices to your food processor along with the toasted bread:
1/2 teaspoon each of dried parsley flakes, garlic powder, kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon each of dried basil, dried oregano, onion powder, and ground black pepper
4. Powdered Sugar
I’m rather embarrassed to admit that I didn’t know I could make my own powdered sugar until recently! And it turns out that it’s actually really easy. Just pour 1 cup of granulated sugar in your blender or food processor, and pulse until the sugar gets superfine and fluffy. (Be sure to sift it before using it to make sure you don’t have any big granules left!)
5. Seasoning Mixes
It’s easy to make your own seasoning mixes at home! I like the flavor of my homemade mixes better than the store-bought ones, and I think you will to! If you follow the link below, you’ll find recipes for taco seasoning, ranch seasoning, onion soup mix, brown gravy mix, country gravy mix, and more! You’ll also find a handy shopping list that included everything you need to make all of the spice mixes from that post.
This is one of the more useful items you can keep in your pantry, in my humble opinion! It’s a dry mix that you can add water to for an easy substitute for any “cream of” soup that a recipe calls for. You can also use it as a creamy base to build other creamy and delicious soups. Get the recipe and all the details at the link below!
Anyone can divvy oats up into individual bags and call them “oatmeal packets.” But if you want to replicate the thick and creamy texture of store-bought oatmeal packets, you’ll need to do one extra secret step. (But don’t worry, it only takes a few seconds!) Learn the secret to making perfect instant oatmeal packets below!
I think everyone should try making homemade mayo at least once. (Unless you have a good reason not to, of course!) It’s a completely different experience from store-bought mayo, and it’s surprisingly easy to make. Give it a try and see what you think! You’ll find the full recipe at the link below.
While you can’t really replicate pure maple syrup at home, you can make a classic pancake syrup that everyone is sure to love! The recipe you’ll find in the post below is the same one my mom used to make for us back when we were kids. It has a nostalgic flavor that is sure to take you back! Get the simple recipe below.
And while you’re making pancake syrup, you might as well whip up some pancake mix too! ;-) You can easily replicate those convenient “shake and pour” pancake mixes at home. It’s a great way to make pancakes anytime, but it could be especially convenient for camping and other outings! Get the recipe at the link below.
A couple of weeks ago I shared a recipe for one of my family’s favorite and most frequently requested meals, Parmesan chicken. It’s also one of my favorite meals too, and only partly because it tastes so good. :-) The other big reason I love it is because it’s actually one of the easiest recipes in my arsenal! (If you missed the recipe for Parmesan chicken, you can check it out at the link below.)
Since that post proved to be quite popular, I’ve decided to make a concerted effort to share more of my favorite quick-and-easy recipes. You can never have too many of them in your recipe collection, in my opinion! The speedy and delicious recipe I’ll be sharing with you today is another favorite of our family: Honey Garlic Chicken. (Mmmm!) These Asian-inspired chicken thighs come together with a sweet and tangy sauce that will have you reaching for seconds (and possibly thirds), and all this deliciousness is achieved in just one pan! Give it a try the next time you’re in need of a quick win at dinnertime. :-)
Honey Garlic Chicken
6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
Salt and pepper
2 tsp garlic powder
6 cloves garlic, crushed
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup water (or chicken broth)
2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
1 Tbsp soy sauce
Season the chicken thighs well with salt, pepper, and the garlic powder. Set aside.
Heat a skillet over medium-high heat on your stovetop. Sear the chicken thighs on both sides, and continue to cook until done (about 5-6 minutes per side).
While the chicken is cooking, mix the honey, water, vinegar, and soy sauce together in a small bowl and set aside.
When the chicken is done, add the crushed garlic to the pan and cook for about 30 seconds, until the garlic is fragrant.
Next, pour the liquid mixture from the bowl into the pan. Cook the liquid and chicken together until the sauce thickens slightly, about 3-4 minutes.
Garnish with green onions if desired, and serve warm. I like to spoon the chicken and sauce on top of rice, but you could put it over veggies, pasta, or even a salad.
Do you have a go-to quick and easy dinner recipe that you’d like to share? I’d love to hear about it! Tell me all about it in a comment below.
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