Be patient with homemade alternatives
Making food from scratch can save money, but it often takes more time than convenience foods. It tastes a lot different, too. Some family members may initially protest, but don’t give up. It will take a while for them to adjust to the change in texture and color, as well as the reduction or lack of sugar, salt and preservatives. Start small and don’t do a major overhaul all at once. Some shortcuts can save your sanity, so try one new homemade recipe at a time and adopt what works for your family.
The first reader tip shares a couple of homemade recipes to get you started:
Make it yourself:
Any time you start using a recipe that doesn’t taste exactly like what you’re used to, it takes a few tries before your taste buds adjust, so give it time. My husband didn’t like this syrup recipe at first, but now he prefers it. It’s pretty hilarious when my hubby has convinced himself he doesn’t like the homemade as well as the store-bought stuff, then after buying the store stuff he discovers that he really doesn’t like it anymore!
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoons molasses
Bring to rolling boil, stir until sugar dissolves. Turn off burner, leave on stove until bubbling stops. Cool and store in fridge. Be very careful with this, especially if you have kids, as it takes a long time for sugar to cool and it can burn you easily if it’s still too hot. You can add extracts to flavor it the way you want. Leave out the molasses if you like and add maple flavoring, for example. I like this version because it’s simple and extracts are more expensive than molasses!
And here’s a tip for those who like Dairy Queen’s Flamethrower sauce:
Our local DQ manager told me it’s just Tabasco mixed into mayonnaise. — S.D., Minnesota
Control water spots on glass shower doors:
I hang a plastic shower curtain (mostly colored ones for decor) and the shower curtain keeps the glass clean and spotless. Just wash the curtain periodically, since it collects soap/hard water spots. — Mary Jo, email
My tinsel garland had seen better days. I wanted to toss it out because it didn’t suit my taste, and I’d been wanting to buy a pre-lit pine/spruce garland to replace it. But I decided to hang on to my old garland and get creative. I added bows, silk flowers and berries to it and hung the garland on my stair railing, then added family photos by attaching them with clothespins. I like it enough that I can wait for a good sale on the more natural-looking garland. — Lori, Wisconsin
Easy hot sandwiches:
I put cupcake liners in a muffin tin and fill them with cooked barbecue pulled pork or Sloppy Joe mixture. Then I freeze them, remove them from the tin, put them in a freezer bag and label them. The kids pull one out and microwave it for one minute, then put it on a bun. This has really cut down on our fast food stops! — L. Lynch, Georgia