Good Friday to you and it’s the last one in February. The weather’s taken a winter like turn but I know spring is around the corner.
The Ragu Giveaway
I don’t know if there was a glitch in the system last week or what, but no one entered the Ragu sauce giveaway so I’m running the contest again. The first person to e-mail me, gets the Ragu sauces.
I’m a huge fan of artisan soaps and if you’ve tried buying them you’ll know they’re pricey. However, as every Budget Smart Girl knows there’s always a way around the price. While I was doing some research I discovered that makers of the soaps are oftentimes left with bits and pieces of soap or ones that didn’t turn out quite right. Nothing wrong with them but they’re too ugly. Rather than have all this ugly soap piling up many of them sell you bags of the not so pretty stuff for a steep discount. I purchased one pound of ugly Dead Sea mud soap for around $14. So take a look to see if any of your favorite artisans offer the same deal or even ask them if they’d sell you some of their ugly soap.
Long Lasting Soap
While I’m on the topic of artisan soap, or any soap for that matter, we all want products to last longer. One way to do that with soap is to let it air dry between uses. I purchased a bamboo soap dish with slats and let the soap dry completely before I put it make in the shower or in a drawer…wherever. I’ve found it lasts twice as long.
You might remember me mourning the loss of my nearest supermarket when it closed about three years ago. In its place a gourmet supermarket opened its doors with prices that weren’t in my budget. However, things have changed. Over the holidays I went in there when they had a sale and was happy to see their prices have come down and in line with other stores, they often have great BOGO sales, and even offer a couple of discount lines, including an organic one that fits my budget. So my tip is at least go inside a gourmet supermarket and roam around because you’d be surprised what you can find.
Budget Smart Classes
Okay guys, it’s time where you can help me out again. Some of you might know I teach writing classes but someone recently suggested I teach classes about saving money too. I have an idea about one platform that might be perfect because it would allow me to give away some free spots for the class for anyone who can’t afford to take workshops.
What do you think? Is the Internet already overcrowded with classes about saving money or just saving money in general? Let me know your thoughts?
Another thing you can help me with which will allow me to put more targeted content on this site…tell me what’s you biggest financial challenge? Is it buying food and staying within your budget? Paying off debt? Saving money…funding your retirement maybe?
Leave me a comment or e-mail me and tell me what you think about the classes and/or your money dilemma.
For those of you who are new to the site and maybe this post doesn’t make sense I’ve been experimenting with various recipes to make homemade bread.
What exactly made me determined to come up with the perfect one? In one word, the price.
I like whole wheat bread and where I live, to get anything decent tasting, is close to $4. It might not seem like a lot but when you use if for toast for breakfast, sandwiches for lunch, and sometimes a snack, loaves disappear fast.
And who doesn’t like the smell of homemade invading the house or the feel of dough as you knead it on the countertop?
I’ve tried four different recipes, adapted them to my own tastes and then figured out which one I like best based on ease of making and the overall result and narrowed it down to one. Yes, I’m a picky cook so I’ve made this following recipe five times now.
Here it is along with some of the tricks I’ve found work best. I hope you enjoy it. Leave a comment and tell me how it turned out for you or if you have any other bread making tricks to share for your fellow Budget Smart Girls.
1 ¼ cups warm water
1 Tablespoon sugar or honey
1 package or 2 ¼ teaspoons of dry yeast
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons of oil or melted butter
3 cups flour (I’ve been using about 2 cups of all-purpose flour and 1 cup whole wheat flour because too much whole wheat flour doesn’t allow it to rise enough for a great tasting dough and tends to be more gummy which I don’t like. You can also try bread flour too…next on my list to experiment with).
In a large bowl, add the water, honey and yeast. Mix it together well and let it stand for about five minutes.
Slowly add in about one cup of the flour and then add the salt and oil, and slowly add another cup of flour…I’ve been adding the whole wheat flour at this point.
Mix it well and slowly add about another ½ cup of flour.
At this point I’ve been sprinkling the countertop with some of the remaining flour and placing the dough onto it and slowly adding more of the flour as I knead the dough.
Make sure to knead it for at least five minutes…I’ve found this is the key.
Spray another bowl with some non-stick spray or oil and place the dough into it and roll it around a few times. Cover the bowl in plastic wrap and place it somewhere fairly warm. I’ve been putting mine by the patio door (perfect when the sun’s shining) and close to a heat vent.
Don’t be impatient for the bread to rise. I’ve given this dough about an hour or more to double in size.
When it’s ready, sprinkle the countertop with flour and place the dough onto it and knead it again for a few minutes…another key step.
If you’re using a loaf pan, spray it with non-stick spray and place the dough into it. Cover it once again with plastic wrap and put it into the same spot to rise for yet another hour or more and while you do this pre-heat your oven to about 375 degrees. You can also use this as a boule style loaf or even bread rolls and just follow the same process.
When the dough is ready, put the pan into the oven for about forty-forty-five minutes or until golden brown.
Leave it in the pan for about five minutes and then turn it out onto a wire rack to cool.
There you have it, homemade whole wheat bread for a fraction of the cost.