The Everyday Products Every DIYer Should Have!


Yes, this list is based on what ‘I’ use, keep and think everyone should have on a day-to day basis if you want to make things and save tons of money as well. These are products that have multiple uses. To me, that is a good investment! I hate products that can only be used for one thing!

Vinegar-white distilled and apple cider (cleaning, cooking)
Epsom salts (laxative, garden fertilizer, bath soak)
baking powder (cleaning, baking)
cornstarch (cooking, making shirt starch, cosmetics)
Olive oil (cooking, cosmetics)
borax (cleaning, laundry, cosmetics)
bleach (cleaning, crafts)
lemons (cooking, cleaning)
vodka (drinking, cleaning, herbal extracts)
peroxide (first aid, crafts)
rubbing alcohol (first aid, crafts)

You can combine some of these products with others to get even more from them:

White vinegar + epsom salts = foot soak
baking powder + salt = tooth powder
olive oil + lemon juice = salad dressing
borax +olive oil + (beeswax) + water = lotion!
olive oil + water + (lye) = soap!
vinegar + water = window cleaner
olive oil + lemon juice + epsom salts = body scrub

There are many more combos, probably an infinite number of them, that can be created from the master list above. With the addition of a few more items, like beeswax, ammonia, and lye, there really won’t be any need for you to go out and buy, well, and specialty product, unless of course you want to!

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Last Chance for Romance!

I sincerely hope that’s not the case, but if you are planning to do something extra special today, you need to get on it! Hopefully, your love won’t be to upset at you for being a little late to the party. Here are some cute, simple, and cheap ideas to stay out of the dog house:

Jazz up a store bought bag of Hershey kisses  and mini chocolate bars with a felt fortune cookie From the Grand Dame of DIY.

I love the wine bottle candle holder idea from Design Sponge, but I don’t have a glass cutter, so I just stuck the candles in my cleaned-out wine bottles and it worked out lovely!

Dana at MADE went paper and staples to make these easy and cute hearts you can fill with more candy!

Keep the special dinner easy! You don’t have time for cooking craziness! From ivillage

End the night sweetly-make your own candy box filled with their favorite candies.  From Delia Creates


CheapSexyEats: Chocolate Dipped Bananas

I love frozen bananas dipped in chocolate. You can put chocolate on (almost) anything and it will be loved, or least tried. I have to admit though…anytime I see this:

I think it’s just too phallic.

That probably says more about me than I should really reveal, but that’s how I feel about it.  I like sexy, not slutty. I like covert, not overt. Serving bananas like that is just too obvious! For me! So I’m going to take overt down a notch.

You need:
bananas
semi-sweet chocolate if you have it
if not…
cocoa powder
solid oil like coconut, palm shortening or even cocoa butter (food grade) if you have it
honey or agave nectar
toppings of choice like:
nuts or seeds
crushed cookies
coconut
leftover chocolate chips
crushed cereal

“Lean to the left, lean to the right, peel your banana and….cut into pieces!” You know you remember that cheer!

 

 

Place your sticks in now if you’re using them and place pieces on a parchment or foil- lined plate or cookie sheet and freeze for at least 30 minutes.

 

 

Melt your chocolate in a double boiler. Just put a bowl over a small saucepan filled with water. Let the water come to a low boil.

If you are using cocoa, melt two tablespoons of your hard oil (I had coconut) in the microwave in a bowl. Add two tablespoons of cocoa powder and one tablespoon of honey or agave nectar. Stir until smooth.

Coat bananas in chocolate once. Let cool. Coat again, then immediately roll in topping of your choice. Put pieces back in the freezer. Put the frozen treats in an airtight container if they are not going to be devoured in one sitting.


CheapSexyEats: Cocoa Chocolate Sauce

cocoa chocolate sauce
I have mixed feelings about Valentine’s Day. It’s history is not very sexy. The commercialism is ridiculous. And how are you gonna express ALL of your love for someone in ONE day with a measly, poor quality, store bought box of chocolates? Or a meaningless card? Or a bland pre-frozen cake? Why are we letting a day on the calendar tell us when and how we should express love?

On the other hand, I’m aware that Valentine’s Day is just the reminder that some people need to show the one they love a little more appreciation. I knew an old man who hated holidays, but always celebrated Valentine’s Day because “everyone needs all the love they can get.” I totally agree with him on that!

So if you want with all your heart to participate in the holiday for your cutie, but don’t have enough green, this week is full of low cost ideas with a whole lotta heart!

Let’s start with the obvious: Chocolate!
I need chocolate sauce, and I’m not going to buy any. I don’t eat it that much, and the stuff in squeeze bottles in too junky! I have cocoa though, and I know that you can add an oil to it as a substitute for baking chocolate. I did a little more digging, and I found a few good recipes.

From food.com
From the infamous Alton Brown
From epicurean.com

Drizzle this on a store bought cheesecake, homemade cookies, or various body parts. Just don’t limit it to February 14th.


CheapSexyEats: Broccoli Potato Soup


I was inspired by Dana’s original recipe on her site MADE. I couldn’t have seen it at a better time. I had just gotten 4 pounds of broccoli on sale, and a BOGO bag of potatoes. I knew I would eventually tire of broccoli stir-fry and homemade potato chips, and this idea definitely fit the bill for variety.

It’s also super easy and quick! My version is vegan, and uses the ingredients I have on hand (like white beans instead of corn). I don’t buy commercial soup stocks, (there are too many chemicals and additives despite being overpriced!) so I have my own method of adding flavor to soups, without adding meat. If you run out or don’t happen to have any stock, you can use this method and still have a soup that’s flavorful.

1 medium onion, chopped
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 pound potatoes (2 large or 3-4 medium)
1 pound broccoli (about 2 broccoli crowns)
1/3 cup flour
4 cups water
2 cups beans (I used white beans that I froze)
salt and pepper to taste

In your soup pot, saute your onions in your favorite oil or butter or both! Add your potatoes. Let them brown and start to stick to the bottom just a bit. Add your broccoli. Sprinkle your flour over the vegetables and toss to make sure the veggies are coated with the flour. Add your water, making sure to run your spoon over the bottom of the pot to release all of the crispy bits (flavor!). Bring to a boil and cook until potatoes are tender. Should take about 10-15 mins. Add your beans and let them warm through. Season to taste.


CSE for the Holidays: Acorn Squash Olive Oil Cake


This was an experiment with savory ingredients in sweet desserts. It turned out so well, that my 10 year old niece had two pieces!

Since it’s so easy to make, it may become a go-to recipe long after the holidays have past.

Acorn Squash Olive Oil Cake

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 cup sugar
2 cups cooked pureed acorn squash (roast in the oven cut in half 350 F for about 30 min)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
1 tablespoon freshly grated orange zest
1/4 cup milk (set aside)

Preheat oven to 325 F. Grease and flour a 9×5 loaf pan (I used olive oil spray). In a large mixing bowl, combine all dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, combine all of your wet ingredients, except for milk. Whisk your wet ingredients into your dry ones, making sure there are no dry streaks in the batter. Add in milk one tablespoon at a time if you need more liquid. Pour into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 45 mins, or until cake is nicely browned and toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for about 10 mins. Run a butter knife around the edge of the cake. Transfer cake to a wire rack, then place wire rack on top of the loaf pan (loaf pan stays right side up!) for the cake to cool completely.


CSE for the Holidays: Corn Pudding


I’m putting my steal of a sale to good use! Such a classic southern dish, and I just now getting into it. It’s strange I’ve never had it before until now.

That’s my picture, but it’s not my recipe. You can get it here. I like this one because it doesn’t use so many eggs, so much milk or cream, and it’s still so good! I did saute my corn with red onions and added some chili powder and cayenne pepper, but everything else I kept the same.