Thrifty ways to save

How to eat an artichoke

Artichoke Flower

Or you can just let the artichoke turn into a pretty flower.

So recently one of our  friends  just threw away some artichokes.  They said they had never had artichokes and didn’t think you could eat anything on it. Well for years my (Matt) family has been eating artichokes on fun special occasions. Mainly when they went on sale. Now this way to eat them is not the only way, you can grill them (which I never really have tried) or cut out just the hearts and stems. The way we do it is boil them. In a large pot of boiling water, add the artichokes whole. Make sure you have enough room to spin them around and position them to get them under the water as much as possible. Boil them for about 15 to 20 minutes, just long enough that you can easily stick a fork down the end of the stalk.

So here are two of the artichokes we cooked. The one on the left has all of the hard outer leaves on. When you peel these leaves off – one by one- there is not much edible bits on them. But once the outer leaves are off, like the photo above on the right of the plate, the leaves get more and more tender and lighter in color.

The white part on the base of each leave is edible. Now don’t go biting this part off. Simply dip in butter, or even by its self, and slide it over your lower teeth and scrape what comes off with your teeth. You will learn how much pressure to use as the leaves move from being hard and “woody” to really soft and tender. As they get tender, you can almost just eat half of the leave. Any thing that is really tender is edible.

I have always just dipped these in butter, like lobster. I am sure you could use the healthy fake butter stuff. Next time I might try it with those new flavored butters with garlic and such already blended in them.


The outer leaves will look like this after you scrape them off on your teeth. Just the white inside bottom part of each leave is edible. But as you get further inside the artichoke, the leaves become pale green and maybe even cream or white color. Most of these leaves are edible and I will just bite off what ever snaps off. Be careful because the tips of these have little points on them that are not edible.

The artichoke on the right side, above, shows the pale white leaves that are really soft and good. Even the stalk of the artichoke is edible if you peel back the fibrous outside.

Once you get to the inside of the artichoke you will see these small feathery looking pieces – see above photo. They are soft and intriguing, but they don’t call it an artichoke for nothing. Those little soft pieces are the “choke”. They are not edible.

Now in the above sliced view of the artichoke. If you carefully cut out the choke with a butter knife, you can then eat the “heart”. You can see the choke which is a light pale green on the very top. You can pluck off the choke down to about the darker layer right under the choke. Once that is removed the artichoke heart is the prized piece. These are the things you see in salads and sold in jars at the store.

So now you know one way to eat those strange looking artichokes. These are fun to eat after dinner, mid day snack. You can even do this while watching your favorite sports game or at family movie night. Just be careful with the butter 😉

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diy photo booth accessories, easy party ideas, thrifty party ideas, diy

You guys, you will not believe how thrifty a photo booth is to have at a party. You don’t need a professional photographer, or some intense backdrop. With a diy backdrop, some cardstock and skewer sticks, you can make your own photo booth that the guests are going to have a blast with.

*If you are using skewers, you may want to cut the sharp end off of them to make sure no one gets hurt.

You will need

skewers

cardstock

scissors

hot glue gun

It is so easy to cut out some fun shapes. I used my Silhouette craft cutter that I love. But it isn’t necessary. You can find some shapes online, many people have free photo booth props if you google it. Or make your own shape ideas. If you really want the ease of the Silhouette shapes, their software is free to use, you can print the shapes out instead of cutting them on the machine. Another great option is to search the shapes you are looking for on google and print a outline to trace on the cardstock.

Once you have them cut, hot glue them onto your skewer so that they can be held for a photo. So much fun, right?

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how to make a hooded towel, diy, thrifty ways to save. thrifty gift ideas. hooded towel, sewing

How to make a hooded towel, so easy!

This is one of my all time favorite things that my mother in law has taught me! She gave me one when I had my first baby and I fell in love with them and have been making them for baby shower gifts, and for my own babies ever since!

You will need

A bath towel

coordinating wash cloth (or for bigger kids, a hand towel)

Sewing machine

coordinating thread

sewing scissors

pins

a cute baby to wrap in the towel when you are done

We have used hand towels for making them as the kids get older. These are great at the pool, where the child might feel cold coming out of the water and they can curl up in the hooded towel for a bit. Of course,they are also great for bath time too. I meant to buy a washcloth for the one I was making today but accidentally got a hand towel. Which would be fine, but I bought it for a baby gift and those are way too big for babies! Also, I bought them on vacation at IKEA so there was no returning to get the right size. Oops. So be careful to get the correct size when buying them.

Begin by cutting off any tags that might be on the towels. The side with the tag will be your “wrong side” when you turn it wrong side out. Once the tags are cut off,turn the washcloth or hand towel wrong side out, fold it in half so the short sides are together and pin along the edge of one of the long sides. My picture didn’t show this well, so if you have your long rectangle, and fold it in half short sides together. you will not pin it closed on the ends you just folded, but one of the other 2 open sides. make sense?

Now that it is sewn there, turn it right side out again. You should have a square with the back side, and the side you just sewed meeting making a corner like this.  That still leaves you 2 open sides.

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Now the side with the edging of the washcloth (where you folded them together to begin with) will be folded over, just a little bit, this is your judgment. For a larger hand towel I do about 3 inches where for a wash cloth you want to leave the room there. so an inch-inch and a half should be good.

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Once you have that folded over you will now only have the one side left. This should be the side that is opposite the top (the half fold). Pin this last open side to the wrong side of the bath towel. To make sure you have it centered, fold your bath towel in half. Lay your wash cloth inside the bath towel so that the side you sewed on the washcloth is the back and matches up with the middle fold of the bath towel. Now pin together. Do not pin all 4 pieces together. You will sew it shut if you try that. Pin around so that they both still open, like a cape.

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Sew them together. When you get to the back, with the layering it may catch on your machine. Just guide it through gently. This is pretty easy to sew straight here. I simply follow the edge of the towel as my guide. If you line it up and follow that, it should have a nice, straight seam when it is done.

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Once that is sewn, you are done! Now all that is left to do is wrap it around your freshly bathed kiddo!

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How to make Butter – Homemade Butter in a Jar

How to make butter

It’s Matt. I made Butter in a Jar back when I was a kid at a youth activity. Making butter at home was very easy and just took some time. So the other day at the store I grabbed some Heavy Whipping Cream and planned a night with the kids to make DIY homemade butter. It is really easy and will provide some tasty and easily homemade butter!How to make butter

home made butter in jar

Ingredients:

  • Heavy Whipping Cream – any amount 6 cups makes about 1 pound of butter
  • Salt – 1/2 teaspoon per pound of butter- optional, used for preserving butter
  • Jar – with lid, any size, baby food jars are great for kids to make it with

home made butter heavy whipping creamDirections:

Pour Heavy Whipping Cream into jars no more then 3/4 the way full. It is best to leave room for the shaking and turning action. Next begin shaking! And Shake and Shake. Some music to shake too makes it fun for the kids and helps pass time. Something with a fun and quick beat. The best way I figured to shake the jar was to hold it length wise in my hands with the lid in my palms and the base of the jar wedge in my forearms.

It takes about 5 minutes before you notice a thickening forming in the jar. This heaviness is the beginning of the fat changing and sticking together. At this point you really just have a thick whip cream in the jar. Keep shaking. At this point the jar edges will look like:
home made butter foam

 

As another 5-10 minutes pass you will notice the jar filling with the foamy cream.  It feels as if there is no room in the jar as the thick Heavy Cream is aerated even more with the shaking, but keep shaking. It will look like this:

home made butter cream

Keep shaking and don’t stop you are almost done when it gets thick. I have heard some add a large marble to the thick foam. But I don’t think it really matters. Just the pressure of the shaking will continue the fat to congeal together. Don’t worry if you don’t think the foam is “churning” or rotating in the jar, gravity and pressure is still working to form the butter.
Before you know it you will see the foam separate and a thin liquid forms in the jar. That thin liquid is buttermilk! The butter is in the last few moments of shaking. Keep shaking until the butter or mass inside is a consistent size.
home made butter buttermilk
At this point you can separate the buttermilk out and save it for biscuits or pancakes and other fun recipes. Then you can add the 1/2 teaspoon salt which is optional. Some say the taste is different, but the main reason is to preserve the butter. Now with the remaining butter you can place it in a small container for refrigeration and easy of using it. So congrats you just made you own butter!  Enjoy your work!
home made butter bowl
As the butter sets you may see drips of buttermilk on the butter. Just let it drip off and drain.
home made butter
DIY - Homemade butter in a jar
 
Recipe type: Condiments
Ingredients
  • Ingredients:
  • Heavy Whipping Cream - any amount 6 cups makes about 1 pound of butter
  • Salt - ½ teaspoon per pound of butter- optional, used for preserving butter
  • Jar - with lid, any size, baby food jars are great for kids to make it with
  • home made butter heavy whipping cream
Instructions
  1. Pour Heavy Whipping Cream into jars no more then ¾ the way full. It is best to leave room for the shaking and turning action. Next begin shaking! And Shake and Shake. Some music to shake too makes it fun for the kids and helps pass time. Something with a fun and quick beat. The best way I figured to shake the jar was to hold it length wise in my hands with the lid in my palms and the base of the jar wedge in my forearms.
  2. It takes about 5 minutes before you notice a thickening forming in the jar. This heaviness is the beginning of the fat changing and sticking together. At this point you really just have a thick whip cream in the jar. Keep shaking. At this point the jar edges will look like:
  3. home made butter foam
  4. As another 5-10 minutes pass you will notice the jar filling with the foamy cream. It feels as if there is no room in the jar as the thick Heavy Cream is aerated even more with the shaking, but keep shaking.
  5. Keep shaking and don't stop you are almost done when it gets thick. I have heard some add a large marble to the thick foam. But I don't think it really matters. Just the pressure of the shaking will continue the fat to congeal together. Don't worry if you don't think the foam is "churning" or rotating in the jar, gravity and pressure is still working to form the butter.
  6. Before you know it you will see the foam separate and a thin liquid forms in the jar. That thin liquid is buttermilk! The butter is in the last few moments of shaking. Keep shaking until the butter or mass inside is a consistent size.
  7. home made butter buttermilk
  8. At this point you can separate the buttermilk out and save it for biscuits or pancakes and other fun recipes. Then you can add the ½ teaspoon salt which is optional. Some say the taste is different, but the main reason is to preserve the butter. Now with the remaining butter you can place it in a small container for refrigeration and easy of using it. So congrats you just made you own butter! Enjoy your work!
  9. home made butter bowl
  10. As the butter sets you may see drips of buttermilk on the butter. Just let it drip off and drain.

If you enjoyed making your own butter, then you will enjoy making your own cheese!

DIY Make your own Cheese

 

 

IDEAS ON USING & PRESERVING APPLES

 

 

 

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Filed Under: A Thrifty Dad, Be Prepared, DIY, DIY / Crafts, Easter Ideas, Family Reunion Ideas, Food Storage, Food Storage Recipes, Light Recipes, Look What I Made, Mother's Day, Sauces, Thrifty Crafts for Kids, Thrifty Gift Ideas, Thrifty ways to save, Toppings / Condiments

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