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Kitchen Savings Tips

stack of dish towels on a dish

7 Kitchen Savings Tips

I love spending time in the kitchen, but if I’m not careful, it can go from a place where we eat to a place that eats up my time and money!

I’m all about simplicity, efficiency and saving money, and a kitchen is a place that offers many opportunities to practice all of these things! Below are 7 of my favorite tips saving in the kitchen.


Use Quality Trash Bags

Hefty Ultra Strong is the trash bag for me. I have ditched cheaply made bags and now use Hefty Ultra Strong trash bags because of their outstanding quality and their new, lower price. Their name says it all, they are ultra strong are tear and puncture resistant, which means no more ripped trash bag disasters!

This saves money in the long run, with no need to double up on bags. I love a strong trash bag, but my favorite thing about these trash bags is that they use Arm & Hammer odor neutralizers– they smell great! I love opening my trash cupboard and catching a whiff of an invigorating, clean scent.

My favorite scent is their Citrus Twist. For those of you who prefer unscented, Hefty Ultra Strong offers that option, too.



Want to try them out too? Here is a Swagbucks offer for you..purchase two or more Hefty trash bags at Walmart and earn a $10 Walmart gift card!

sliced lemon
Lemon slices in a jar
mason jar of lemon slices

Freeze Lemon Slices For Instant Lemon Water & To Keep Them From Going Bad

I always buy organic lemons, as I don’t want pesticides swimming around in my water. I have noticed organic lemons do seem to go bad faster than non-organic.

My solution? Slice the lemons, stack them in a mason jar, and freeze them. It keeps them from going bad, it makes your lemon water nice and cold, and they can be used in teas & cocktails, too.

Prefer limes? I have found limes super refreshing in a glass of sparkling water with just a touch of real organic maple syrup. It is like making your own healthy lime soda, and limes can be sliced and frozen, too!

frozen mason jar
can of tomato paste in freezer
can of tomato paste

Tomato Paste Saver

Most recipes call for only a small portion of tomato paste, using just a tablespoon or two, and the rest often goes to waste.

To prevent this, open both ends of the tomato paste can. Remove ONE end, BUT LEAVE THE OTHER IN PLACE.  Store in a mason jar in the freezer overnight.

The next day, use the metal end to push the paste out of the other end. Slice into one-ounce disks, place back into the mason jar and store in the freezer up to 3 months.


refrigerator full of mason jars

Use Mason Jars For Storage to Save Money on Plastic Bags or Containers

I have very little plastic in my kitchen, thanks to mason jars! I use them every day for food storage and boy, do they make me happy!

Food looks pretty in them, I don’t have to keep buying plastic that just gets thrown away, it is easy to see what is in them when they are in the refrigerator, & glass does not stain like plastic containers do!

I keep all lids and rims in one big bowl & the jars on a shelf in the cupboard.

mason jar lids
mason jar lids

Make Your Own Taco Seasoning

Never buy over-priced, way-too-much-salt, sometimes ‘msg added’ taco seasoning packets again! This taco seasoning mix is so easy to make and tastes so much better than store-bought packets!

It gives a much richer, “homemade” flavor to every recipe I use it in. I have used it to season ground beef for tacos, nachos, and taco pizza. I have used it to season refried beans or lentils for vegetarian tacos. It is great to season shredded chicken, too!


Taco Seasoning Recipe

Taco Seasoning
Prep Time
5 mins
Total Time
5 mins

Save money by making your own taco seasoning. This tastes much better than any seasoning you will buy. It is worth making your own! 

Recipe Type: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: taco seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes optional
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  1. Mix all together & store in an air-tight container. I use--yep, you guessed it--a small mason jar. Use 3 teaspoons (more if you want a stronger flavor) per pound of meat. Add 2/3 cup water and simmer down until water is absorbed.


Use Cloth Napkins

I have two dear friends who taught me to do this by doing it themselves. Whenever I would go to either of their homes, even just for coffee and snacks, they would set out their beautiful printed, cloth napkins.

I loved that they gave a bit of a fancy, special feel to our little get-together, & the prints that each of them chose showed off their individual personalities.

Cloth napkins are so pretty & one can save a bunch of money by not having to buy paper napkins over and over!

a window with a curtain hack

Simple Curtain Hack

I’ve featured this Simple Curtain Hack here at New Nostalgia before, but it is so good I gotta share it again! It is so inexpensive & easy.

All you need is a tension rod, two tea towels, and some drapery hooks. No sewing or tools required!


mason jar and metal lids and rings

{For Your Pinning Pleasure}

So there you have it, my 7 top Kitchen Savings tips. Do you think you will use any of them? Do you prefer scented or unscented trash bags? Which Kitchen Savings tip is your favorite?

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

HOME/ How-Tos/ RECIPES/ Sides/ Simplifying

How To Roast/Steam Corn On The Cob In The Oven–No Shucking Mess!

how to roast corn in the oven, no shucking mess.
I am tickled about finding this super great trick to roast and steam corn at the same time.  It is now the main way I make corn on the cob.


Because I DO NOT like the mess of shucking corn.  Not at all.  Blech.

This ‘steam in the husks while in the oven’ way to make corn is by far my favorite way!  It is fool proof, fast, and mess free.  The steaming process makes the stings super limp, so once the corn cools a bit and you husk it, they come right off!  So much better than husking before cooking the corn!

The only prep you have to do is cut off the tassel part of the corn. Be careful not to cut too far down into the corn, as you want the husks to envelop the corn in order to steam it while it roasts.

Place on a cookie sheet, and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Let sit a few minutes before removing husks and be careful.  There is steam in there.  Cool enough to handle comfortably, husk and enjoy!

Oven Roasted Corn On The Cob
courtesy of Tyler Florence on Food 911

4-6 ears of corn

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cut off tassel part of the corn, making sure you do not cut too far down into the corn, as you want the husks to envelop the corn in order to steam it.  Roast for 30 minutes.  Let cool slightly.  Peel down the husks, can use as a handle to eat the corn.


Q & A, part one

“You mentioned on your page that you make strawberry bread – this sounds so interesting – can you share your recipe. Thanks.” – Sandy R.
The strawberry bread I mentioned in the post “Hulling Strawberries With A Straw“is a recipe from my childhood.  I used to make mini loaves when I was 11 or 12 and sell them at my mom’s craft boutiques.  I loved how it made the house smell, and they sold like crazy!  This recipe from Taste and Tell is the same one I used as a child.  If I were to make it today, I would use coconut oil, whole wheat flour, and maybe a sugar substitute.

“On your post on May 9 (Simplifying My Morning Routine) you posted a picture of a white bench and shelf (I am guessing in your entryway). Can I ask where you got them? I need those things exactly! Thank you,” Carol H.

The white bench and shelf are from this article at Women’s  Its a great look, isn’t it?

“What does the banana do? Could I leave it out? I’m allergic to latex and bananas are a cross species or something…so fresh bananas make me react.” – Halle

The banana in Chocolate Almond Chia Oats really acts as a thickening agent and to add substance and creaminess to the recipe.  I’m not sure what else you could use.  Maybe some pureed strawberries?  In smoothies I substitute peaches for bananas because they both add good bulk to the recipe, but chocolate and peach doesn’t sound appealing to me for this recipe.  Try strawberries.

“I have a large bottle of concentrated lemon juice in my fridge and use that. Easy, quick, and no mess, no fuss. Is there a reason I should not be using that?”  – anonymous

Hi there!  Thanks for your question.  The fresh squeezed lemon juice in my 5 Reasons to Drink Lemon Water in the Morning post is in my opinion very important.  Fresh is best.  I’ve read in many juicing books that the minute juice hits air it starts to lose nutrients, so the sooner you can drink juice after it is squeezed, the better, which is why I am a big fan of freshly juiced juices!  Bottled also contains preservatives-sulfates I believe-so another reason to stick with fresh.

“What brand is your antique juicer?” – Cindy
Funny what I learn from my commenter’s.  I thought this was antique, until I wrote the post and asked for help in finding another from my readers.  In the comments, I found that this is a older model from Crate and Barrel.  Whoops! They don’t sell them anymore, but there is one very similar at Bed, Bath and Beyond.

“How much chicken do u use?!”  – anonymous

In my Crockpot Fajitas-A Fix and Forget Recipe, the recipe calls for 1 1/2 lbs of chicken, but as you can see in the picture in the post, I used a little less.  It is a forgiving recipe.

“Hi! What are the muffin looking things in this photo (from the sponsor page)? They look so neat!”  – konacupcake

That is a picture of my Oatmeal Freezer Pucks.  I make a big pan of steel cut oats, then freeze in large muffin cups.  Pop them out, store in the freezer, and have awesome, fresh tasting steel cut oats in minutes in the morning!

“This is a beautiful article in tribute to one of my favourite things, esp. since I grew up drinking it fresh squeezed, in season. How does one get to write a sponsored ad and what is the compensation? If it was 100% Florida orange juice (which is so expensive for our huge family that I only buy it on special occasions), I wish I had kept up with my blogging better!”  – michelle mad docks

I am so glad you enjoyed the article featuring Florida orange juice in my Chilled Melon & Citrus Soup with Kiwi Salsa. I work with a company called Social Spark.  They hook up advertisers and writers.  Social Spark sends me offers from different companies, and I chose which ones would be a good fit for New Nostalgia.  The compensation is a sliding scale based on how many page views a blog receives each month.  It has been a blessing to our family to be able to write some occasional paid posts.  Note that any paid posts starts out with acknowledgement that it is one.  Also know I will never promote anything I don’t support here on New Nostalgia.  For more information, visit Social Spark.

“I was wondering what kind of taste the ginger adds. I don’t like ginger, but don’t know how much of it you can feel. I watched the movie too and really wanted to do it, but then went on the website and saw ginger and my mind just shut it off. I know….excuses, excuses, but still…if I left the ginger out would the juices taste yucky? Could I replace it with something else?” – Luliana

I don’t think it is “excuses, excuses!”  I get that your brain would say no if I kept seeing an ingredient I didn’t like pop up in juice recipes.  Yes, you can taste the ginger, depending on how much you use.  You don’t have to use the ginger in any of the recipes in the post, Juice Cleanse Day 3, especially if you don’t like the taste.  For people who do like the taste, it adds a freshness and helps mask the taste of some of the greens.  It also has great health properties, BUT no problem if you want to skip it.  You could add another half of lemon instead..or just skip it all together.

“I was on your blog site awhile ago and thought that I found a list of about 10 leg exercises ( simple planks, wall sitting etc.) and it was called the “sexy leg workout”. I recently searched your site and I can not find it. Is it still on your site somewhere?” – Diana

That was from my post Simple Workout Inspirations.  I was not sure where that was located, either, so I used the search box in my sidebar and searched the word “workout.”  FYI if you ever need to find something else on the blog…or, just leave another comment! 🙂

Would it make a difference if I left out the cranberries?”  – Libby

Hi Libby.  No, it would not make a difference.  You could substitute dried cherries if you like them, or just leave them out all together.  These Chewy Granola bars are so awesome, I may have to go make some now!


HOME/ How-Tos/ RECIPES/ Simplifying

My Favorite Way To Cut An Orange

Knife Cutting An Orange Into Slices
My kids think I am the only one on the planet that can cut an orange “properly.” I love that they think that. Their friends also tell me they love how I cut oranges. Then adults started telling me the same thing, which is when I started to believe there was something special about how I do it.


Hmmm…who woulda thunk it?


In this post I’ll show you my favorite way to cut an orange so you can see just how simple it is to get those picture perfect slices.

Continue Reading…

Brunch/ How-Tos/ RECIPES

How To Make A Simple Omelette


I was in the mood for an omelette but needed a bit of inspiration. I watched the Jamie Oliver video below, and using  his technique I made myself an omelet and it was sooo good!

Even though it is early November, my tomato plant is still producing tomatoes, and I have a pepper plant that is still going, too.

 I chopped 1/4 of a tomato and 1 small orange sweet pepper, briefly sauteed them in some olive oil, and set them aside to use as filling for my omelet.  I also shredded some cheddar cheese.  It was by far the yummiest omelette I have ever eaten!


How To Make an Omelette


Basic Omelette

1 tablespoon butter

2 eggs

2 teaspoons water


~beat eggs and water in a bowl, just until mixed, not too frothy.

~add a bit of salt and pepper, to taste

~heat butter in the pan over medium heat.  Add eggs.

~gently push eggs from edge of pan towards middle while still runny

~tilt pan to fill in gaps

~cook until set on bottom and slightly shiny on top.

~fold over, slide onto plate.



{see filling ideas below}

Omelette Filling Ideas

Omelette Fillings

cheese, {swiss, cheddar, feta, etc}

onions or green onions

bell peppers


meat {ham, bacon, sausage, chicken, turkey}



fresh herbs

feta cheese






{make sure your toppings are prepared ahead of time, as omelettes cook quickly}




An Easy Way To Chop An Egg


Many of you may know this fun little trick, but it is one that makes me so happy I thought I would share it anyway!

I was at a deli about 10 yrs ago, taking a lunch break in the middle of a very long day of hair styling.  I ordered an egg salad sandwich, and was told I would have to wait a minute for her to mix up a new batch.  I stood and watched her whip out an egg slicer and chop up a dozen eggs using this method, in no time.  I had used one of these egg slicers to slice an egg, but had never thought about turning the egg sideways to slice a second time-it makes perfect little matchstick like egg pieces.  These are great for egg salad and any recipe that calls for chopped egg or just simply to top a salad.

egg slicer

Sliced egg

chopped egg with an egg slicer

The Ecko brand egg slicer I have pictured above is quite flimsy and the wires break easily, I would not recommend it.

This one from Amazon got great reviews.  It is a bit pricier, but after having 3 break on me, I am ready for a quality egg slicer.  This can be used to slice strawberries & mushrooms, and areviewer said she has even used it to slice a chunk of mozzarella cheese.

What are your favorite ways to use hard boiled eggs?

Want to know the perfect way to hard boil an egg? See this post.


Almost Naked Grilled Chicken

This grilled chicken is almost naked, but so flavorful!  It is super simple, and perfect for topping salads or serving with rice pilaf.  I got the “no-recipe recipe” from a relative (hi Shirley!) who is one of the best cooks I know and has the best recipes.  Every time I have her chicken, I ask, “what did you season that with?” and every time she answers “just lemon juice, onion salt and pepper.”  And I say “Oh, yea, I ask you that ever time, huh?”  By making it myself tonight and writing this post, I am sure it will stay in my memory so I won’t ask her again!
  It tasted great for dinner tonight, I used it to make a Spinach Tortellini Salad and it was perfection.

Almost Naked Grilled Chicken
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 lemon
Onion Salt

~Slice lemon in half and squeeze 1/2 a lemon onto 2 breasts.
~Repeat with the other half of lemon.
~Sprinkle both sides of chicken breast liberally with onion salt and a bit of pepper.
~Let sit for at least 1/2 hour.

Can’t get much more simple than that, huh?
This post is linked to:
Sew Much Ado