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Sunday, April 22, 2012

A bed for my Sarah

Part 1
After a lot of searching and searching I finally have a bed for Sarah… sort of. Here is the story of what I ended up doing.

This took a lot of thought (that hurts).  I really was not interested in purchasing a new bed for $1000 that I loved that my toddler would destroy, as toddlers tend to do. I ended up getting the whole bed practically free. Rejoice!

The objective: girlly wood trundle bed

A bed a Costco that fit the bill was close to $1000. So not happening!  I didn’t spend a penny on my son’s bed – gotta love grandparents who don’t need a guest room anymore. I began looking online at craigslist and keeping a look out on freecycle in my area. Bingo!

Bed frame: Wood day bed from freecycle
Trundle: This was a little more complicated.

I found a person one mile away that had a metal daybed with a trundle and they wanted $30. A steal since just the trundle would have cost me $100 plus. So I jumped on it. Now I have an extra bed frame to sell.

Now it would have been really nice if the wood bed fame was in fantastic condition. But it needed to be refinished. It wasn’t bad, the stain was a little outdated and didn’t have a consistent color. I decided it would be a beautiful bed if it was white or fuchsia. I settled on white for two reasons. (1) I don’t plan on refinishing this ever again and (2) I already had paint, primer and supplies for white. So my refinishing costs is equal to my time, which isn’t cheap, but costs no extra money. 
Just call me Tom Sawyer...
I am currently working on the rest of the painting. I can take care of clumpy primer, but the actual painting needs to be even so the kids are out of the picture at this point. I will post a picture of the finished product. It looks 100 times better at this point than it did in the beginning! So exciting.

Oh! And I am also making a rag quilt and embellishing a bed skirt too for the bed. Not that I've started on the skirt yet, but it's on the to-do list!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Time for Corn Bread

A new day – a new Mix. 
Have I mentioned how much I LOVE my mixes?!

I went to make some cornbread to go with my slow cooker chili that was simmering. The perfect comfort food for a dreary day!

I thought I could save a little time in the future by having a simple mix put together.  I mixed it all up in a ziplock bag so I wouldn’t make a mess transferring it into a container. And it was really easy to mix it up too. Then I made the corn bread with this mix and it turned out fantastic. I’m thinking that I should try making corn dogs with this. I have never made them, but seeing all the coupons for corn dogs this week in the paper makes me wonder if I can make and freeze them myself....

Corn Bread Mix

4 cup unbleached flour
4 cup yellow cornmeal
cup  nonfat dry milk
 cup   baking powder
½  cup   wheat germ
1 Tbsp. baking soda
2 tsp. salt

Combine all ingredients in a bowl.  
Store in airtight container.

To make:

¾ cup honey (you can also just add ¾ cup of sugar to the mix but I always prefer a honey taste)
1 egg
1/2 cup water or milk
2 Tbsp. oil
1 1/4 cup cornbread mix
½ cup corn (I used frozen corn because I like real corn in my bread, but this is not necessary)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Combine ingredients.  Place batter in greased 8" x 8" pan and bake for 12-15 minutes, until golden brown. If you double the recipe for a larger pyrex pan it will take 20-25 minutes

Believe it or not, 4 adults and 2 little kids ate this entire bread!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Bursting my Tupperware Bubble

I was so sad the other day and I thought I would share with everyone in Cyberland. I was looking up cooking products that will not contaminate food and found some interesting information.

This is a picture of most of my tupperware containers.
Unfortunately not all the stuff fits in here...
and there are more storing food in the fridge and freezer.
(YES, it's a mess - my little one thinks it's her personal play place)
Nonstick Teflon isn't safe because they leak fluorine-containing toxic compounds. Not good. Any metal pans can leak metal into foods. For this reason, Iron (which is way too heavy for me and requires regular maintenance) is the best bet as far as metal since iron is not bad for you. Ceramic seems to be the best bet so I am looking into gradually changing out my ancient pans. Have you ever cooked with Ceramic cookware? They clean like a dream!

The problem with plastic and melamine is that they are not natural. When they are heated or cooled chemicals can get into the food. So I guess we are SOL?!

I have always thought that I was safe from BPA. I am aware of what I have and purchase and I was told that Tupperware (because it is more expensive and well known) was BPA-free. But just to be sure, I decided to write them a letter:
I am a long time user of tupperware. I have always thought that your products are BPA-free. But cannot find a place on your site that states that fact. Is this true and has is always been true? I have many older pieces (like 20 years) are those also safe? 
I would appreciate an answer. I love my microwave tupperware but would consider switching to all glass if they aren't safe to eat from. Thank you!
My reply made me feel... well, just read for yourself:
Dear Stephanie,

Thank you for contacting us and we appreciate the opportunity to address your concerns. Please be assured at Tupperware Brands we
re firmly committed to the safety and well-being of our consultants and the many consumers of our products worldwide.

Polycarbonate is a high-strength plastic made from a monomer known as bisphenol-A (BPA). Certain Tupperware products are made from polycarbonate, including serving products and Rock 'N Serve
Polycarbonate is a high-strength plastic made from a monomer known as bisphenol-A (BPA). Certain Tupperware products are made from polycarbonate, including serving products and Rock 'N Serve
/Vent 'N Serve storage and microwave reheating containers. However, currently in the United States and Canada we do NOT use polycarbonate in any children's products.
Of Tupperware's wide range of products around the world, less than 10 percent are made from polycarbonate. Tupperware's Research and Development group has found that polycarbonate creates the highest quality and most durable products for our consumers. Polycarbonate is used primarily in products intended for high heat resistance, as well as some serving lines. Consumers have consistently asked for durable, microwave-safe products, and we believe that polycarbonate has been a good choice for meeting this need.

However, consumers have also become concerned by questions that have arisen from the scientific community over the possible health effects from polycarbonate.

Currently we do NOT use polycarbonate in any children's products, and in March 2010, we began to use other materials for non-children's products that had been made from polycarbonate for sale in the U.S. and Canada.

Weve posted a statement on which discuss our views on polycarbonate, as well as a Q&A which should help answer any questions you may have as to the safety of our products containing this material. We would also like to direct you to the following web site for some additional information:
If you wish to know what materials are used to manufacture our products, please go to Click on Product Information, then go to Recycle Codes at the left hand side of the page.
If we can be of further assistance, please contact Tupperware Customer Care at 1-800-366-3800 between the hours of 8:30 AM ET to 9:00 PM your local time Monday through Friday. Any of the Customer Care Representatives will be happy to assist you.

Thank you, Stephanie, for your email.

Tupperware Customer Care

What I find interesting is that they don't use polycarbonate in children's products but they use it in all the heating and cooling containers that I use and serve my kids from. I looked at the GoodHousekeeping link and it is great that BPA wasn't present in any of the food heated in their containers... But how old were those containers? Were they well-used like my entire cabinet of stuff is? no they weren't. The test items went through 30 washes and uses... so they were about a month old. I don't know how realistic that is.

So the search is on for alternatives. I figure one of my next ongoing projects will be to sell some of my tupperware on ebay and replace it with glass, ceramic and mason jars. I think I will keep some of my newer items. I love my set of white Corningware with lids. Perhaps I will get some more pieces. I found some great bpa-free lids for mason jars on amazon that I will order and see how that works out for us. 

My bad mood over this is that plastic and microwave-ware is so darn convenient!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Bread Epiphany

I had this amazing “Ah HA!” moment and had to share with the cyber universe.
I have a million things on my mind this morning since we are planning on driving to Tahoe tomorrow (last minute trip!) and so I am packing and menu planning and thinking of what I can do now to make life easier this week. One thing is make a couple loaves of bread so we don’t have to buy some – I have become rather spoiled with my yummy homemade bread.

So there I was in the kitchen with all my millions of ingredients making my wheat grain bread and then – Bam! I have been making all these mixes lately (Cappuccino MixMuffin Mix, Cornbread Mix, etc.) and I’ve been brainstorming on other mixes I can make to make life a little easier. BREAD MIX!

Bread doesn’t take that long so I don't find it a burden, but who wouldn’t love a couple extra minutes to do something else?

So I took my recipe that I already had all the ingredients out for and realized that by adding the dry ingredients in a bag. I would only need 3 ingredients when I next make bread, which will be right when I get back from my trip with the kids.

I put all the ingredients and measurements in a bag and labeled it with the ingredients that will need to be added to the breadmaker later. The ingredients to be added are: water, oil, and yeast (which I keep in the freezer). Easy right?!

In fact, I’m going to make a dinner roll mix to take with us for dinner one night. This idea has just changed my life!

* linked at The Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways Wednesday Blog Hop