Everyone I know has a budget these days. It’s just a good idea. A Smart (Girl in Pants) idea, if I may be so bold as to say... not cool? I’ll go home.
The goal of a smart budget is to spend as little as you can on things that are of less import to you. Thus, giving you more you can spend on things you love! Same money, just managed better. Trying to save for something special? Sick of being on the wheel of living pay check to pay check? Try adding these substitutes and watch how much money you save in the long run. Here is a big list of things you can cut out RIGHT NOW to stop wasting money!
One: Cleaning cloths
Buying one set of cheap wash cloths is about the same price as two rolls of good quality paper towels. The only difference? One can be washed and reused multiple times, thus ending this cycle of waste. Not only are you saving the planet, but your pocket book!
For napkins, I made the cutest reusable napkins from scrap fabrics. Everyone comments on how adorable they are!
I bought one set of not-paper towels from a local seamstress but making more is on my list of things to do!
Two: Toilet Paper
This one is a bit of a leap for many people. Investing in family cloth can really cut down the wastefulness. Did you know, on average, it takes gallons of water for one roll of toilet paper? Going green and buying toilet paper without plastic wrapping is great. The reusable toilet paper is washed, sanitized and used again. The basics for washing these just like any soiled wash (mainly because germs are scary) in the sanitary cycle with homemade detergent, essential oil infused vinegar rinse and sun shine on the line!
Three: Plastic cutlery
I know many use plastic cutlery for outings such as picnics and parties, but that one plastic cutlery item will outlive us all. Not only that, but that’s money we are literally throwing away. Investing in a great picnic bag full of reusable cutlery and a grand set of silverware for parties is the way to go. It’s much more elaborate and has pays for it’s self over the years. Plus, so cute!
Four: Feminine Products
That time of the month is never fun. With the mood swings and pains, adding in one time use products that cost so much and irritate the skin never helps. I switched to reusable cloth pads and my menstrual cup. Not only did it save me tons but I personally had lighter periods and less irritated skin. Not to mention never had to spend money on menstruation items again.
Five: Disposable Cups
Whether you are on the go or at home, disposable cups are horrible. At worst, styrofoam that will out live us all with it’s remains. At best, cardboard or paper cups, which not only use trees but water and other resources to make. Buying these means throwing your hard earned money away. Since I have switched to using a reusable cup, I have actually found I get discounts at my favorite coffee shops! A solid reusable cup can last years, meaning less resources were used. Thrift stores often have amazing selections as well, saving even more money and resources. Stop tossing your money down the drain with toss-away cups. So get that smoothie to-go in your own cup!
Being sick is horrible. Spending money on something simply used to remove mucus is not going feel grand for the ole pockebook, either. It’s so easy to use old t-shirts cut into squares and wash. Not only will you save so much money, but you can use only the most gentle fabrics. I really like having mine scented with some peppermint essential oil for a nice aromatheraputic moment.
Seven: Cleaning Products
Everyone has to clean. Many people, like myself, clean multiple times a day.
That being said, making your own cleansers and reusing the bottles from previous purchases can and will save so much. Not only are you keeping that bottle from landing in the dump for the next 5-20 years, but you avoid the costs of repurchase. I use essential oils to scent my cleansers and Match my cleanser scents with my laundry and diffuser blends!
Eight: Baby Hygenie items
Diapers are part of life in a family. In The Smart Pants home, we had two in diapers at once for a short portion of our lives. Do you know how much we spent on diapers? $40. No joke.
Cloth diapers saved us from exposing our beautiful babies to all the daily disposable diaper nonsense. We found a previously loved set of organic bamboo, one-size adjustable, insert style diapers that was a score of a deal at $1 a diaper with inserts. Now, I have found several comparable diapers brand new as low as $3 a diaper online. There’s literally no excuse! I never touched poo, well, not any more frequently than any normal parent by way of accident during a changing. Yuck.
We simply washed them with the rest of the baby cloths on high sanitation cycle and using our homemade detergent. Never had a single stain! We have since passed them down to another family (so keep your eyes peeled for a deal like we found because many cloth diaper mommas just want to spread the love!) but we did save a few for just-in-Case baby sitting emergencies. That’s how much I loved them, I reuse to use single use diapers ever again.
Even with the cost of the diapers and the cleaning, it’s still cheaper to go cloth over disposable. Not to mention less disposable diapers sitting in landfills for years and years.
Along with cloth diapers, we used reusable wipes. We sprayed the cleaning solution on each wipe before use to make sure we didn’t waste cleaning solution or risk it going bad and washed when we were finished using. So simple. If you hang dry your laundry, be prepared to save even more money and sunlight is a great natural bleach!
Nine: Skip Dryer sheets and Fabric softener
DIY is all the rage now a days and no wonder. Who wants to waste money silly things such as laundry? It’s my most hated chore. I do like my clothes clean and laundry smelling fresh though.
For dryer sheets, I use left over fabric soaked in vinegar and essential oil blend. My favorite? Bergamot, ylang ylang and jasmine but I do switch it up during holiday seasons.
The same vinegar and essential oil blend in a bottle works fantastic as a fabric softener. I do add some extra essential oils like tea tree and thyme in my fabric softener, just for added bacteria fighting boost.
Ten: Sponges and loofahs
Everything needs a good scrubbing, including humans. Investing or crafting a reusable, long lasting tool is more important than repeatedly buying disposable items. It all comes back to saving money, right? Disposable loofahs and sponges, including plastic based ones, are not meant to go through sanitary cycles. This means bacteria is just growing and breeding. Even if your scrubber lasts a long time, it could just be spreading bacteria around. So, throwing them away is the only option. Not a very good way to waste money. Put making or buying a scrubber made of sustainable resources such as bamboo, cotton, extra yarn a friend has (like I did), bit of left over decorative fabric or hemp on your to do list.
Eleven: Office supplies
We all work. Whether it’s in the home or outside the home. One of the place of waste is the work space. From pens to paper. If you journal, use these tips to save money on your personal journey!
Though we can’t avoid all waste, trying to switch to digital files can help save on paper. The less you use, the less that’s bought, the less money wasted. Recycled paper is amazing as a stand by when all else fails.
As for pens, any pen that is refillable is instantly better than any one time use pen. Even if the pen is plastic. The refills are often much cheaper than buying all new pens.
Printer cartridges are often refillable at a much cheaper rate. Avoid tossing those expensive cartridges and save money on the refills.
Other things to look into cutting down are: staples, paper clips, folders, etc. The more you can cut out, the less you have to buy.
As far as journals go, buy a recycled journal made with no leather. Leather takes a lot resources to make. Your journal is a journey of you. There are a lot of popular plastic based planners and journals, but why spend an insane amount of money on those when you can create something personal to you? It’s really not what it looks like on the outside, it’s what you create on the inside that makes it special. You do not have to be an artist to make a beautiful journal or planner! My recycled paper journal costs $4 and has enough pages for SEVERAL personal pages, like above, and TWO YEARS of monthly and weekly spreads. Mine is so personalized, we keep them in with the scrapbooks to look back on! Now that’s stretching a dollar!
Twelve: Shampoo and Conditioner
Whether you shower or bath in the morning or night, it’s nice to have access to being clean. Shampoo is one of the top selling items in the cosmetic industry, and rightfully so. But with those bottles of sudsy liquid comes a price. Some shampoos running the bill up really quickly, who sctually spends that much on shampoo?! As well as creating so much plastic waste and exposure to many unnecessary ingredients.
Switching to a shampoo and conditioning bar is such an affordable option. There are just as many shampoo bars as there are different hair types. Always options to choose from. I make mine myself with luxurious ingredients that big companies wish they had throught of and my hair is more healthy than it has ever been. They often run at very affordable prices and most last a very long time. It’s definitely worth looking into not only for your pocket book but your hair.
Thirteen: Scented Products
I don’t know anyone that enjoys a stinky home. In fact, it’s a huge market to make your home smell good. Not just clean, but a step above. A nice smelling home sets the mood, makes home feel like home.
What if you could create your own personal home smell? One that reminds you of walking into your safe zone after a long day. One that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.
Making our own is so easy. Replacing wax melts with diffusers using only a few drops of essential oils or even making your own wax melts! Making your own fabric and room sprays with the same very few drops of essential oils. You can not only have your home smell great, but you can match every thing from your linen spray to diffuser blender to your car , all in your personal favorite and save money in the process.
Just be sure to not make them too cute... I made puppy shaped scented wax melts as gifts that still exist and the owners refuse to melt them!
Fourteen: Teas and coffee
Do you indulge in tea or coffee? I do. I’m an avid tea drinker. I’ll splurge once in a while, with my reusable cup of course, but making my own at home saves so much money. If I had to add up all the tea I drank in a day in how much it would cost, I would earn myself a solid pat on the back. As great as splurging is, saving money is much more impressive.
I have found buying loose leaf and coffee not only saves money, saves resources (skipping plastic pods and bags) but tastes so much better! Buying in bulk will lend huge savings AND save the planet by reducing your waste. You can even grow your own herbal tea blends. If you can’t have caffeine do to anxiety or another issue, dandelion root tea really gives you the taste of coffee! I love it! On a warm summer afternoon, nothing beats fresh from the garden, iced chamomile tea.
Fifteen: The Electric Bill
Electricity is definitely a one time use item in my book. You use it to charge your phone and next thing you know, you are paying for it. While rechargeable items are great, leaving them plugged in is very wasteful and it shows on the bill at the end of the month. Vampire electronics take money right from your pocket, and it’s not even being used!
To avoid this, simply turn everything off and unplug chargers that aren’t being used. I found that plugging things into a great quality power strip makes this chore so easy. Turn the whole cord off and BLAM. Nighty night, energy thieves.
Investing in solar panels is another amazing thing to do. Not only can you free yourself from electric bills, but you would be actively helping the environment at the same time. Solar is one of the fastest growing power suppliers, it creates so many jobs around the world. Whether you start small or go big, solar is the way of the future.
In this day in age, almost everything has a battery. Even though we aren’t suppose to throw batteries in the trash, millions end up there anyway. Leaking acids into the environment as they rot in landfills.
Investing in reusable batteries is the easiest way to save some dough. A new toy from the holidays that needs batteries? Never fear, you have some.
Another idea is getting a health check on the batteries on phones. Phone batteries do not last forever. If your battery loses charge quickly, that means plugging it in more. Giving your money away to front the bill and leaving your phone at risk of dying when you may need it most. Having a new and possibly superior battery installed in your devices can save not only money but time in the long run.
Seventeen: Hair Removal
I really can not think of anyone who enjoys hair removal. Not only is it time consuming, but it can be so wasteful.
If you chose to remove your extra body hair, There are many options besides plastic toss away or refillable razors. A popular zero waste option is the old fashioned stainless steel razor. With refills being pennies compared to their plastic counter parts, affordable start up costs and reusable designs, it’s not a shock. There are other options such as waxing, epilating and lasers. At this point, plastic toss away razors are just a money drain.
Avoiding one time use cosmetics can save so much money. Flash eye lashes can be replaced with eye lash extensions or reusable eye lashes. One time use eye shadow papers can be replaced with mini samples of eye shadows (those don’t work anyway, IMO).
Even better? Making your own! Of course, you want to be sure to understand how to safely make things like makeup, lotions and more. As well as understand how to store them with or without preservatives.
Borrowing things is one of the best ways to save money. Instead of buying books, borrow some from the library. There are many items you can borrow or rent instead of buy! If we bought every, single book we have ever read, we would be so broke and also be able to fill several homes with books!
Twenty: Disposable Dishes
Doing the dishes is hard work. Everyone wants them done yet no one does them of their own free will. Even at parties and picnics, it’s so easy to reach for something you don’t have to worry about lugging home to clean. How much money are you just wasting by not only buying those, but using them one time? From take-out containers to paper plates, it’s all fairly easy to wash and reuse what we have.
Twenty One: Craft Times
I am an avid crafter of all things. I know many people are. Whether it’s painting, scrapbooking or whatever else. There are still so many ways to save your money and create less waste.
Using recycled items is great for scrapbooking! One idea is using left overs of wrapping paper to cut by hand or with a cutting machine for the word art on the pages, as well as the actual paper itself. A memory and art! Avoid buying plastic glitter and make your own!
Making your own painting supplies is actually really fun and saves so much! From making the actual paints to canvas wrapping. Buying quality brushes and washing them each time will mean buying less replacements.
It takes just a bit of extra time but then you have a completely unique work of art. Something the world needs more of!
Twenty Two: One time use food packaging
Plastic snack bags are a mess. I know many people wash and reuse these as many times possible, which is a fantastic plan as long as you have a back up for when those finally reach the end of their life. If you wash these twice and throw them away, you will still be buying more. Investing in or making your own reusable fabric bags is not only easy but cute and saves you money in the long run. There are so many bags you can make including sandwich bags, snack bags, bread bags... you get the idea!
Twenty Three: One time use beauty products
Skin care is so important. What isn’t is throwing so
much money down the drain on one-time-use items! It’s just so easy to make things like sheet masks, clay masks and more by yourself, saving hundreds, if not thousands, a year.
Twenty Four: Repair broke items
Learning to repair your items is a skill that will last a life time. Not only will you get to enjoy your favorite things longer, but also save money and reduce waste.
Many skills such as basic carpentry, sewing, and electronic understanding are just a few on the list.
Twenty Five: One time use entertainment
Nothing saddens me more than watching my paycheck get used once and done. From fireworks to waterballons! It just seems like there’s always something ready to waste!
Here is a link to a GREAT alternative to one of those issues! Save money and reuse!
Twenty Six: Skip The Parchment paper
Parchment paper can be easily replaced with silicone mats for cooking! I know, there are debates about whether silicone is good or we should just stick with non-reusable parchment paper. It takes almost the same amount of energy and resources to create one roll of parchment paper that it does to make a silicone mat. Water, electricity, etc. And if we are talking money saving, buying one reusable silicone mat VS a buying rolls of parchment paper... it’s kinda obvious which witch is which.
The right silicone mats can even be used on the grill! No more need for aluminum foil! YAY!
There are just a FEW ways to SAVE MONEY and the planet! Little changes are how we have changed the world! Studies have shown that it is making a difference in the world around us!
Keep up the good work and stick around here at The Smart Girl in Pants! I’m always posting new content!
The Smart Girl in Pants
With spring sneaking up on us (at my time of writing this in the cold of February) it’s time to prepare for the inevitable summer time activities.
Some are so wasteful, it almost hurts me to partake! Just watching the money splash away. The smiles they bring though...
lucky for me several others online thought the same thing. I found ZERO WASTE, REUSABLE WATER BALLOONS!
Now wait. I know a while back the rage was sponges. My Smart Pants band did not enjoy. Nope. They fell apart SO FAST! It would have been cheaper, at the rate they fell apart, to just to buy the balloons! Not to mention if the flat part of the sponge got ya, ouch. No, thank you.
I didn’t follow any templates for these, I just grabbed any extra yarn I could find and went to town! Most made them look like water balloons but I just went with balls. I added strings on the ends to hold on to and get a good fling. I know my Smart Kids... they need a lot. So make a lot I did... and we tested!
Can you believe we had 65 degree weather right at the time I needed to test these?! Thanks, momma earth!
We loved them, we did not throw them at each other but the look they gave each other sure told me the first hot day and the siblings would be targets. Let’s just say no one will be safe from these water ‘balloons’.
I did let the kids pelt ME. A rare occurrence, as I’m not accustomed to being pelted with soaking wet balls in the tail end of winter. But it’s for SCIENCE!!!!
I can tell you, they gave it their all and I didn’t hurt! If these would have been actual water balloons, I think it might have because you know kids. They get really close.
I did, however, get very VERY soaked. EASY to refill! They loved that! Just plop back in the water and reloaded.
So as as far as reviews go, I do believe this was a favorite of the kids! I am also excited to skip out on the plastic pieces I have to pick up and knowing the hard earned money is going into the trash with them.
So, love and water balloon fights,
The Smart Girl in Pants
The Dutches by Danielle Steel is a book based in 19th century England but I assure you, this story takes us to many other places as well. I really felt this author described the locations to the point where there is an emotional attachment to each. If we were to visit these places, we would feel the excitement our lead characters felt or the weight of their sadness. Either way, you weren’t leaving without knowing your way around and the painted picture in your mind.
The main protagonist is named Angélique. The name is French and means angel. I find that to be quite fitting for this amazing character. She’s fierce and kind. Saving and resolute. Her character description was well done. I could tell the author wanted her appearance to convey an angelic nature many often think of. I really enjoyed her journey through this book and feel like she has much more life after.
The other characters were just as amazing. Not only was there quite a diversity, but each character’s story was well described.
The story is heart breaking and heart warming all at the same time. I felt her pain and sadness. I also felt her warmth and kindness.
At the end of the book, I felt satisfied but mildly broken hearted none the less. Much like life, it was a bitter sweet ending. I couldn’t put this book down for the life of me. It had me gripped at all the right times. It had me snuggled up for a long read with a cup of tea at other moments.
If you are interested in 19th century works of fiction, this is a great one. It encompasses the life and the hardships as if we lived it with Angélique.
Love and yards of silk,
The Smart Girl in Pants
I love how easy this melt and pour soap is! I WAS going to sell this in my shop and may very well still. If you would like to follow this tutorial to make your own to sell, go for it! I don't mind sharing! Every person has a different take! Just remember me!
Buy your melt in pour in bulk amounts. This not only saves you big money, but helps prevent excessive waste. I was lucky enough to find a seller that did not use palm oil AND was willing to sell me this melt and pour package free! I don’t often use melt and pour, I’m more of a cold process girl myself. I just thought this tutorial would be a good gateway for everyone!
Now, if you haven't read my previous posts (tisk tisk) you will need to know something about me... I do NOT measure. This often leads to failures or try agains until I find my signature groove. If you ask me what measurements, I probably won't have any better measurements than posted here. I am just not that kinda gal.
On to the fun we all came here for!
I used more natural pigments that I could get package free. So if you would not like the hassle of using or acquiring these things, cool. Do your thang. No judgement. Just be Sure to get SKIN SAFE PIGMENTS.
Also, I shaped these into gems as you see by the first one. Why? Heck, idk. Because I can? It was fun and makes REALLY fun gifts to a VERY special someone or great in bathrooms. My gems weigh about 7oz
Grab a big ole (or whatever size you want) chunk of your melt and pour soap. I did not like the results of my local store bought 'clear', it was yellow. So spring for quality clear as you can get melt and pour! I use a silicone mold I use for my cold and hot process soaps but really M&P is so forgiving you can use almost anything as long as it can withstand heat. Just be sure it has some give and flex, otherwise you will have yourself a hell of a time getting it out.
Now, melt it and pour it... Package directions can help here as each M&P is different.
Once it's "all" (read below) melted, FUN begins!
I used Activated Coconut Hull Charoal, teal mica soap pigment, turmeric blended with plain white titanium dioxide and plain natural mica mineral for all over shimmer.
I love using new colors! This would be so prerty with gold, pink, purple and so many more color combos! Even adding sea salt and other exfoliants would be SO awesome.
On this one, IMO, I used far too much Activated Charcoal. Just stay with me for the steps. This is more important than how MUCH of each color you use.
In your mold, add the lighter colors BEFORE ADDING ANY SOAP! Or add very little. For instance, I added the blue and turmeric mix in swirly bits while adding some plain mica to the rest M&P base, this gives loads of sparkles throughout! Can add scent here if you like but it may be too hot still. There's another chance later!
You will pour your M&P over this SLOWLY, hopefully keeping as much of the lighter colored micas (or whatever skin safe pigments you choose to use) front and center. If you chose to use a bit of M&P with your first pigments, let it cool a bit before adding the rest of the soap.
Once it's poured, you can:
Add tiny bits of activated charcoal and gently stir
Wait for it to cool a bit to add a bit and stir.
BTW this gets hot so if you burn yourself, totally on you.
Why wait for it to cool? Well, You can control how far the Activated Charcoal goes better when its a bit less liquid AND your scent 'sticks' better. BUT risk having a not so pretty back of your bar. If you notice my soap has some lighter bits. Nah nah I didn't wait and let it harden, I just didn't melt it all ;) but same concept! Leaving some bits solid can give some seriously impressive dimensions! Those unmelted bits will be unscented (unless you melt, scent and let cool again) so keep that in mind.
Add in scents now too, prior to the stirring bit. Any skin safe fragrance oil or essential oil. Not all fragrance oils are safe, just as some essential oils are not safe for some people. The amount depends on the quailty of the fragrance being used, amount of M&P and safe diluation recommendations (easily found onnline for various oils). Always allergy test. Remember to stir so gently as to not disturb the front colors!!!
Let it cool (and if you are SUPER impatient, like myself, pop in the fridge) and when TOTALLY solid, remove from mold. I did actually find that freezing them helps get it out of the mold so easy. Not like I forgot I put one in the freezer... It was in the name of science? Yah! ;)
Boom. Look who just made some amazing soap!
To cut them like gems, look online for some inspiration! I used a butter knife and it cut like, Well, butter actually. I should have trimmed the back too but I was just happy it looked super cool! BTW, Don't chop your fingers off and ruin your amazing soap with your inside juice. That's gross and hurts.
If you make this, leave me a picture in the comments! If you make this and sell it, please leave your shop info so people may find you!
Thank you for reading and I can not wait to bring you more fun tuts!
Galaxy of Love,
The Smart Girl in Pants
Ah vegan wax. What can’t it do? It grows quickly, it’s cheap, it doesn’t harm anyone. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways, soy.
Soy wax is one of my favorite ingredients to use. I use it in some senseless things such as wax melts but I also make my own candle, cosmetics and wax wraps. Yes, you heard me, wax wraps.
My readers have had a bit of a hard time finding soy in their areas that is food grade, 100% soy! Please beware that not all wax blends are pure, food grade soy! So to combat this, I have added an alternative wax wrap! Soy free and easy to find food grade! That is carnuaba wax! I use the exact same recipe for both!
Move over plastic wrap, fabric wax wraps are the new boss in town.
It is a simple thing to make. You just melt the wax and soak your fabric. Vegan wax, just like bees wax but without the hard work of the little bees.
*Additional Wax NOT necessary! You can make these with 100% soy (food grade of course) But for me, adding the oil gives it a bit of flex that I love!*
Carnuaba wax is a VERY hard wax and must be blended with oil to give that flex you need! Depending on the hardness of your carnuaba wax, you may need to work with the measurements a bit. I find that almost equal parts, heavy on the oil, brings a great result to my wraps.
I prefer using grape seed oil as the oil. It’s extremely high in Vitamin E!
If it’s too stiff or too sticky (which may Happen. Waxes do differ in Hardness Depending on where and how it’s made) Just melt a new batch and Re-soak your fabric. No biggie!
To use, you want your wax wraps to have some bend. Not too stiff, not too sticky.
Of course, avoid heat when using these. Just like plastic wrap, bad things happen when it comes into contact with heat.
1) How long to wax wraps last?
Most people don’t even think of this, but evey wax wrap have a shelf life, in their own way. These are made with natural materials without preservatives and touching food a lot of the time. Just be aware how you store them, keep them clean and check often for signs of spoilage. One sign is a strong smell! With proper care, you can prevent this and your wraps can easily last a year with good care!
In the event of damage, the Best way to Re-wax your wraps is to put them in the oven on a silicone mat. Heat just until he wax melts. When cool enough to touch, squeeze as much was as you can out. Now you can wash these by hand using hot water and soap. Then, simply re-wax those bad boys for continued life.
If you have any doubts, throw it out. You can always strip your fabric
and make again! Just be sure you are doing all of this with proper sanitation!
2) How can I use these?
So many ways! I use them to literally wrap my food for the family’s lunches! We also use them in replacement of plastic wrap. We cover bowls, cups, and any container without a lid. We also are able to wrap left over fruit and veggies! I even used one to transport garlic from the garden to a friend and was shocked that my wax wrap didn’t hold the scent.
You do not just use wax wraps for food! I use them for all kinds of things!
3) How do we clean them?
With mild soap soap and COLD water. Remember, any heat or harsh soap will damage the waxes. It’s not recommended to use any wax wraps with meat or other highly germ prone items. Remember to always wash well! Sanitation is key!
4) What sizes do we need?
Since you are making these yourself, you can make them any size you want! If you want to cover a casserole dish, measure just a bit larger than your dish and boom! You have your own custom made wax wrap in the making.
I have some very small, good for left over fruits and veg and covering cups! It’s all about what size you need. You decide!
5) Can wax wraps be frozen?
YES. I have used mine in the freezer! The only problem, thaw time. Your wax wraps need to fully come to room temperature or you risk wax bits cracking. I love using smaller ones on top of cups of unfinished smoothies. I can actually pop them off of flat top cups and let them come to room temp while I’m already enjoying my breakfast!
6) Can I use any wax?
Sure, it just depends how you used them.
Wax wraps can be used for a variety of different reasons. Just be sure that whatever you use with food is food safe. Most candle waxes (including soy and bees wax) are NOT intended to be used with food. Be sure to do your due diligence! Above I did say 100% soy and food grade, make sure your wax is pure and intended for food contact!
And there ya have it! I know my vegan wraps went through a very popular moment last summer (2017) when I brought some dishes to a gathering. Everyone wanted to know just how I made them! Because guess what? Not only do they save big money, they are also really cute!
*THANK YOU to a viewer for pointing on which wax should be used!
Be sure your soy wax is 100% pure and safe for food contact!*
Love and let me count the ways,
The Smart Girl in Pants
Anyone who’s into tofu or vegan recipes knows the struggle. If you want tofu, you buy the plastic wrapped tofu at the store. It comes in so many different types... but in the end, it’s all packed in plastic.
OR! Have you ever wanted to make a recipe SO BAD, only to find you need tofu. Tofu that is still at the store. Way over there. Outside of the warm house... okay. It’s snowing here so that is my current predicament.
This recipe has saved me MANY times over. I use it straight as fried tofu or marinated tofu. I have also used it in cream based recipes such as icing. It’s amazing as tofu egg replacement and nuggets. Works wonders in recipes with vital wheat gluten. Lemme tell ya.
While this is not real tofu, it is made from soy flour. It’s rather more like the consistency of dry flan, if tofu from your not-so-friendly plastic package was typical flan. Soy also is extremely easy to buy in bulk and plastic free BUT! Once you start using it, I highly recommend keeping your Soy flour in the fridge or freezer for extended shelf life.
It’s SO simple but be sure to find a PLAIN soy flour!
Simply take 2 parts soy flour, 1 part liquid (can use water, vegetable stock, etc).
I like to press mine into the pan!
Fry, grill or Bake until golden and a reusable tooth pick comes out clean. Times will vary based on amount you make.
Depending on your flour and base, your results may vary... but! The more air pockets you get, the more yum it can be!
Hope it helps your vegan, waste free journey!
Next breakfast prep, tofu eggs.
This is so easy it almost hurts to write it down. It’s simply tofu with whatever seasoning you want! I really prefer black pepper, nutritional yeast, turmeric, onion powder, garlic powder and pink Himalayan salt.
I scramble on the stove top until nice and golden. Now this can be used in SO many ways! We love:
-Tofu English muffins
-Tofu Biscuits and gravy
-Tofu biscuits and faux sausage
-Tofu stuffed bagels
-Faux egg sandwich with toast
-Breakfast Sauté (pictured: potatoes, onions, faux Egg, peppers)
I use one pack of tofu or my Soy Flour Recipe for a Zero Waste option for each meal.
I usually have 2 of these recipes in the freezer ready to go. I wrap them in fabric squares or my reusable sandwich bags! My family really loves the burritos with some fried potatoes and peppers!
Love and Healthy meals,
The Smart Girl in Pants
Spring fever or I guess I should say Garden Fever hits and again at the most inappropriate time. Yup it's feeling like negative degrees and I am wrapped up in my robe dreaming of my Spring garden already! Hopeful thinking?
Either way, I have big plans for this year! Last year was almost perfect! I had a bumper crop of corn, tomatoes, peppers, strawberries and loads more!
The only issue... It was CROWDED. Plants were out growing their beds at a rapid rate, pumpkin vines were merging with the melon vines and most sad of all... my herbs were smothered. They made it until mid July until the roses grew their rapid and unexpected growth spurts. I was able to get a lot of herb but to know that I could have gone until October this year kills me.
Now that I use my oils, tinctures and dry herbs in my handmade products... so this can't happen again!
So, taking my already huge garden and making it bigger. This sounds great... in theory. Easy to write in the new beds and expand the fence line out. DOING it is another story completely! Bigger means pulling up fence posts, moving the soil already in the beds (because I use this thing I call the drop it method for seeds on to the next year, I will explain this later) and building new beds. You would think writing it all out would make it dread it... It doesn't!
I'm not one the the rich and famous here so my garden doesn't take a lot of money to build or maintain in order to have a successful bounty. I use untreated wood, again because my garden is organic. It does break down after a few years but any wood will so I don't worry about it much. Winterizing your garden beds can help because hey, that's 5-6months out of the weather! I don't do that... I should but I don't. You should, Dearest Reader, because you are smart! I don't buy special soil, that soil is plain top soil mixed with my organic compost! I use fermented compost, if you want a blog on it, lemme know in the comments!
I needed extra top soil for the water garden. Otherwise we have an old fenced in garden we use to put leaves and other compost. So I dig my own soil up every year! I call this my 'Getting ready for summer' workout! I get the garden done and I am sore for a good solid week, HAHA! We search all throughout the year for free untreated wood to use and anything else I may like to include! Where there is a will, there is a way.
I don't do raised beds with weed barriers because I have learnt that my plants are smaller sized and the weeds didn't seem any less. I do have border beds, I don't know what the gardening pro's call these exactly but just wooden frames with plant specific soil on the inside and mulch outside. This keeps the path clear between beds! I still weed but part of those plans are to use an organic on top of the soil weed barrier! I didn't want to use any plastics that can potentially leach into the plants and will break down by the element before the really bad weed season even begins anyway! I don't want to use newspaper because many would dispute that as organic gardening and again the breaking down before the real weed season even starts. I have had nothing but good results with my own religious weeding, leaves and mulch around the plants, so that's the plan.
As for the plants, I firmly believe anyone can have a hardy garden. It's just about knowing your plants. Where they like to live, the type of soil, the amount of sun, weeding, watering and making sure to keep the bugs away. Lavender, as an example, hates having wet feet. I use a blend of 30% moss, 30% sand and 40% soil, roughly guesstimated. Equal amounts of moss and sand with some soil may be more closely to what I actually do :) Lavender likes full sun and it quite picky, IMO. Roses are simple. Basic soil, mild pruning in the spring and watch out for mold! As long as they don't have any weak points where bugs may attack, they are King of the Garden. Soil is another thing to take in to account. Some plants do better in acidic soil and some like a more Alkaline soil. Know your soils and what your baby prefers! Research your plants before you waste your money on seeds or plants. If you don't know your plant, don't be shocked when it dies. Making your plants happy is the best way to get results, results being more produce! You don't have to grow them in another country to make them happy!
Bugs are always an issue in a garden, organic gardens are even more of an issue. Different bugs require different Blah blah. Let me tell you what I use for bugs and this has worked with aphids, zucchini bugs, slugs and flea aphid, which I think still counts as some scientific named aphid or maybe not even an aphid at all but again, not a garden pro on tv. I don't even get paid to do this soooo flea aphid it is! This secret recipe has kept all of them away! So shhhhh!
I use...water with homemade organic glycerin, tea tree oil, peppermint oil, oregano oil, garlic tincture and cayenne tincture! To make a DIY tincture, add the garlic and the cayenne to boiling water and let it seep for a week or two. All natural! I REALLY recommend doing this at night or evening and washing off in the morning. The soap can smother your plants and the soap and essential oil combo can cause sun burning and wilted plants! ANY recipe with soap and oils should be rinsed off in the morning, at least before the sun gets the hottest. Especially on baby plants, which seem to have the most damage when bugs come along for a little nibble. If I need to use a spray during the day I use water with peppermint oil and a tiny bit of the liquid glycerin. Peppermint and oregano both BURN so bugs hate it, the glycerin makes leaves slippery and aphids hate it PLUS it helps keep the stuff on longer!
I say I spray it every night but I don't ever actually keep my word on that one and I only spray it when I see a problem. It seems to work well enough. Don’t waste your time if you keep a good eye on your garden. Things to look out for are browning leaves, tiny holes in leaves, missing leaves... things of that such. Mold and Mildews can be easily taken care of with a few drops of tea tree oil in water and sprayed on!
Plants are most susceptible when they are little. So, if you start from seed, it's very important to check them often. It doesn't take slugs or flea aphids long to kill a tomato plant. Best part though, if you do save one the plant is so much stronger! I don't have scientific proof behind this but I do notice that the abused babies generally grow into hard to bully adults. This is good for the survival of the plant but plants that have the habit of over growing tend to use more energy growing and yield later bumper crops. Even store bought plants are often small enough to take a beating and buying from a store increases your risks for bringing in mold, insects and other things that aren't in your garden! Upcycle milk jugs, soda bottles and anything of the sort to cover. Cover the plant carefully and push into the dirt so the ornery little buggers can't find a way in!
On to my drop it planting. This works perfect for tomatoes, pumpkins, gourds, squash, zucchini and melons. I just drop the damaged fruit! I have this deal with the bugs in the end of summer, half for me and half for you! Normally at the end, I am just ready for pumpkins and I don't really mind sharing. Especially when I get 10 pounds of maters a day... sure, help yourselves! This always leads to FREE tomato plants popping up the next year!! I haven't bought my heirloom Chocolate or heirloom ivory pear tomatoes in YEARS just because of this one little thing! Use a pumpkin on Halloween? Simply dump the seeds in your garden and cover with a layer of dirt! Squash get a little bug has eaten on? Leave it there! Seriously it is this easy. Free Plants? SURE! I haven't tried this with my corn, usually because any corn we don't want, the squirrels are the ones who get to it first.
Did I miss anything? If you would like more info, please feel free to comment and I can make another blog about that!
This was quite a long one but worth it! I hope all of this info has helped someone out in this big ole world to have a more productive organic garden! It is more of a hassle to garden organic but the benefits more than out weigh the extra work! Let's help make the world and ourselves better!
Love and Green Growing things,
The Smart Girl in Pants
Oh yes. You read it. Easy Vegan Crepes. I remember my very first crepe. It was in Paris with the Eiffle Tower behind us. No joke, it really was the moment my life changed. I wasn’t even aware of being vegan then (at the baby age of 13) and just felt like this was one of those things I needed in my life.
Fast forward to coming home, there was nary a crepe to be found! Not in cattle country. People didn’t even know what it was. A few barely even believed I had one. Luckily I have pictures to prove such things truly exist (with my snazzy disposable camera, I feel like I really knew selfies before they knew me...).
When I made them the first time, they were okay. Nothing like the crepe I had that started it all. I played with recipes and created this one. Most recipes are so easy to convert to Vegan these days, this one is no exception! Please enjoy a recipe that began way in my ole days!
All you need is:
1 cup of whole wheat pastry flour (or white flour!)
1 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
pinch of sugar
1 1/2 c water
That's IT! Mix all the dry ingredients together, add water and mix like a crazy french chief OR just a really hungry vegan? Idk just stir it a lot. You want to activate the natural gluten so the crepe can crepe like it needs to!
*For a gluten Sub, try using rice flour and flax seed*
Get your pan nice and hot! DO NOT ADD OIL! No oil, none of ANY kind. This will ruin it! Crepes are magic, just let it do it's thing! GEEZ!
Crepes are like thin, dense cakes. Not as thin as tortillas and not as fluffy as pancakes. With pancakes you don't want the gluten to activate, it get's it's fluff from the chemical reactions and cause bubbles. This is not a pancake but you know how when you wait on the pancake to bubble to flip it? Same here! Once the upside of the crepe bubbles and the edges are solid, you can flip it! These are really forgiving. I can make a huge breakfast and run between crepes and everything else with no issues.
Fill with fun things! I was REALLY craving chocolate because every where I went, there was chocolate full of stuff I don't want to eat. BAH. Found me some good ole vegan chocolate and put some tofutti and BLAM! MAGIC!!!! I also made a Mounds inspired one with the chocolate in question and coconut :) Plus Strawberries and cream with the tofutti!
SO don't believe that you have to have bland food when you become vegan! Not only is this vegan but it is also only about 100calories Per crepe (prefilling). Team with with your favorite smoothie or tea and you are GOLDEN!
This recipe made 5 full sized crepes!
Love and Crepe-y things,
~The Smart Girl in Pants
Quick and Easy breakfast bars...
we love them! They are so easy to make and restock throughout the week. The Smart Kids love the cereal based ones, which I get bulk cereal for. These are the easiest to grab in the morning and go!
Cereal Bars Recipe:
3 cups of your favorite cereal
1/3 cup of maple syrup or 1-4 black strap molasses to syrup ratio
1/2 cup of powdered oats (helps the Bars stick together! Gluten free options could use rice flour but I would use around 1/4 cup and lower your liquids)
1/2 cup of almond milk
1/2 cup of melted coconut oil
Add-ons: raisins, chocolate chips, protein powder (though you may want to up your liquids a bit for any powder add-ons), dried fruits and more! It’s only limited by your imagination!
Mix your syrups, coconut oil and non-dairy milk. Add your oatmeal powder to the liquids and stir. Add in your cereal! Allow to soak for a few minutes and then press into a casserole dish. I use one 12x9 pan for thick bars. You could use two 8x8.
(feel free to use coconut oil before hand to make removing easier. I often do not and have no isssues!). Put in the fridge until firm! Slice portions, wrap in fabric and put in the freezer until used! These rarely last us a week but I think the max time in the freezer would be about 2 weeks.
And there you have IT!
Love and Cereal on the go,
The Smart Girl in Pants
The Smart Girl in Pants