Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Pumpkin Bread Recipe {low sugar}

Contributed by Anna of Not Knowing Where

Happy autumn! It's been over a month since I've posted at The Cheap and Choosy. So many hard things, and so many good things were piled into September and October. I'm happy to be back, with a recipe that I invented last weekend. 

For the last two years, I've been attempting to ease sweets out of my diet. It makes me a happier person and seriously cuts down on the mood swings. I love fall/winter foods, particularly pumpkin. And since pumpkin usually comes in a super sweet form, I wanted to create a lower sugar alternative to satisfy my taste buds. Here it is for you wonderful folks. I hope that you enjoy. In case you're scared by the "low sugar" description, my entire family has happily eaten this bread. Don't worry! It really is good. 

Anna's Low Sugar Pumpkin Bread
Dry ingredients:
3 cup flour (white or whole grain)
1/2 t. salt
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. ground cinnamon
1/2 t. ground ginger
1/4 t. ground nutmeg

Wet ingredients:
1/4 cup shortening or softened butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1-15 oz can pumpkin

1 c. Milk + 1 T. Vinegar 

You will need 2 mixing bowls and a liquid measuring cup. In the first (smaller) mixing bowl, add all the dry ingredients and stir together. In the second mixing bowl, put the wet ingredients. In an ideal world, you should pull out your hand mixer and thoroughly whip your wet ingredients together. But in my imperfect world, I stir it around violently with a wooden spoon, and it's never been bad (Who has time to clean a mixer?). 

In the liquid measuring cup, put 1 tablespoon of vinegar. Add milk until you have a total of one cup. If you keep buttermilk in your refrigerator, just use 1 cup of that and forget about the vinegar. 

Go back to your big mixing bowl with the wet ingredients. Alternately add the dry mixture and the milk mixture, stirring between each addition (or beating with a hand mixer if you prefer). 

Grease and flour a large loaf pan. Pour in the batter, and cook at 350 degrees F for about 65 minutes. 

Monday, September 17, 2012

Wood Crate Linen Cabinet

By contributing writer: Ginger re-posted from Gingerly Made

Frugality and simplicity can effect so much of our lives. Today I want to talk about decorating our homes.

As a craft blogger, I spend a lot of time making things, but I don't want to spend a lot of money on supplies. I'm sure you are no stranger to the pallet and wood crate craze everyone seems to be on lately. Well, I'm no exception. I love that you can find pallets or crates for free to cheap and they give a rustic charm to your decorating that I personally love.

It took me a long time to find some crates. I was actually a wee bit frustrated about it because I had this project specifically in mind. Finally I found some on found some on craigslist! They were not the size or shape I wanted, but I figured since I couldn't find any elsewhere, I'd get them anyway.

I had to be creative in how to arrange the crates since four of them were this odd L-shape. Which meant that they also needed some restructuring. But we went from these flower display crates to this awesome crate linen cabinet. Or bookshelf. Whatever you want to use it for. I just wanted it for a linen cabinet.

Here's what we did.

Because of the L-shaped crates we had to remove the slats from one side and reattached them to the other opening up the front of the crate. Basically, we had to move the slats around so the correct side would be open once stacked up.

Then we painted the crates, used wood glue and nailed the crates in place as we re-stacked them.

It turned out REALLY good! Then I filled it up with Mason jars for my Q-tips and cotton balls, lotions, and homemade natural soaps, towels, and wash cloths. And most importantly as the linen cabinet is sitting beside the tub, a place to set my book after I'm done taking a bubble bath. Ah, simple bliss.

Friday, September 14, 2012

"No Poo" 30 Day Challenge

Hello again Cheap and Choosy readers! Today I am going to be sharing with you my journey and results with the "No Poo" method! Want a natural and easy way to simplify another aspect of your life...then read on!

Okay, so are you scared already? I am sure that by the title you are. Don't be, I haven't lost my mind...completely.

Ready....I will not use shampoo or conditioner for 30 days!

Wait! Don't leave....keep reading! I know this sounds crazy! I will explain how I came to where I am now with this challenge.

One month ago, I stumbled across this blog post on Simple Mom. She shares that she has not used shampoo or conditioner in three months! (definitely read her post...she explains it all so well!) My first reaction...GROSS! Which I am sure was, and is your reaction to my challenge. (probably that and...Lorissa has gone off the deep end!)

I learned that shampoo is actually a detergent. When you use it, it strips your hair of the healthy oils it needs, resulting in a vicious cycle...

Here is the vicious cycle that happens:
You wash your hair with shampoo.
It strips out the natural oils and creates a barrier.
Your hair over reacts and produces more oils to compensate for what is lost and hair becomes greasy.
You are frustrated with your oily hair so you wash it almost daily.
You keep stripping your hair of the oil it needs and the ends become frizzy, brittle and damaged.
Now you have to use a conditioner.
The top of your head is oily again. The bottom is dry and frizzy. 
And to top it off, you now need a full arsenal of hair care products just to get it to keep a style.

This has been my frustration! My hair is oily on the top, frizzy and dry on the bottom, and lays flat. Sure, I have curly hair but it just lays flat and is frizzy.

What I use on a daily basis...

I use a volumizing shampoo and conditioner, silk drop, a leave in conditioner, curl shaping spray, mousse, or straightening cream.

All that, and my hair still doesn't look how I wish it would! It is still frizzy, dry, brittle, and falls out like crazy!!!! Seriously...it is amazing I still have hair left with the rate that it falls out! Oh, did I also mention I battle with dandruff. This post is quickly becoming embarrassing.

You might just tell me to switch to a more expensive shampoo, conditioner, or hair care product...but really?! I do not want to, nor will I, spend $15 on a small bottle of shampoo just to get the "results" I think it may give me. Maybe you are one of the lucky ones that has gorgeous hair with out even trying. To you I say...I hate you....I mean...wow, I am so happy for you, that is awesome!  But for me, I am at the desperate...I will try anything point! And that is where this challenge came from. From desperation!

Okay,  enough of how I got to this crazy place...what to do now?!

Drop the bottle of shampoo, put away the bottle of conditioner, and hide the 300 bottles of hair care products you currently have. Go to your kitchen and grab a box of baking soda and a bottle of apple cider vinegar. Yes, you heard that right! Hang in there...keep reading!

Here is the recipe I am currently using:

"Shampoo" : 1 Cup Water
                      1 Tablespoon Baking soda

"Conditioner": 1 Cup Water
                        1 Tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar

I simply mix up the solution and pour into a squirt bottle that I keep in the shower. From what I have read, you may have to tweak the recipe a bit to what suits your needs. If you have super dry hair you will need to use more vinegar to soften it. Super oily hair, increase the amount of baking soda. You may have to experiment for the first week to find what works for you. I have found that a little does in fact go a long way!

It will take some adjusting and getting used to. For me, getting used to not having a soapy, lathery feeling when I shampoo has been the hardest. I found out pretty quickly, that just because it isn't lathering doesn't mean it isn't getting clean! All of the other bloggers I have read also say, there is a period in which your hair re-adjusts how much oil it makes. After all, it is used to you stripping it out every day with washing it. Because of this, it will over produce oil for a time. This takes about two-four weeks (possibly as long as eight)...hang in there because your hair will adjust!

I have decided to keep a daily record of how my hair looks and is changing. I will update every week to let you know how my hair is progressing...both good and bad!(Remember this is one of the "transition" weeks so my hair will be more oily than usual while it is adjusting)

Week 1 

Day 1- First time to wash with baking soda and vinegar. I was worried the vinegar would make my hair smell funny, but it rinses completely clean- no smell! Hair feels soft and clean! Top doesn't look oily at all! I think I used too much baking soda, the top looks a little dry for once.

Day 2- No wash needed. Hair doesn't look oily yet. Still kind of dry. Must remember to use less baking soda mixture.

Day 3- Top of hair looking oily, time to wash! Hair feels clean and smells clean. Once again, I think I used too much baking soda.

Day 4-No wash. Hair looks a little oily. Put it in a pony tail. No big deal.

Day 5- Washed Hair. Getting used to not lathering. Used a little more vinegar on the ends than the last two times. Hair looks clean and feels clean.

Day 6- Top of hair looks oily. Washed hair. Didn't use enough baking soda. Hair looks and feels oily still. Washed hair again. Much better.  Hair looks, feels, and smells clean this time. I am starting to notice a change in my hair's texture. I also noticed that when I combed my hair only a few strands fell out rather than a huge amount. I wonder if that is at all related?

Day 7- Hair slightly oily but pretty normal for me even when using shampoo. Pulled it back into a pony tail.

So far I am pretty pleased with it. I wonder what my hair will be like when the transition period is over. If it is anything like the other blogger's results, I will be thrilled!

What do you think? Are you brave enough? Desperate enough? Crazy enough to give this challenge a try?

If you are still not convinced take a look at these posts: 

MSNBC.com actually wrote an article on this! Read it here!

Simple Mom gives you a hair update after using this method for two years! Read it here!

Great information from The Hair Pin on switching from shampoo and why...read here!

On Just A Couple Acres has a very encouraging post about her transition with curly hair...here! and some great "No Poo FAQ" here

Think about it...what if you could have beautiful hair and it not cost you a small fortune?! Forget about all of the money, chemicals, waste, and frustration that go with shampooing your gorgeous locks!

On top of that ...why not? Why not give it a try? If you hate it, you can always go back to shampoo. But if you love it, you have found the cheapest and easiest way to achieve beautiful hair.

If you are brave, desperate, crazy, or hippie enough (I think this may be why I am pretty open to the idea...my mom secretly wanted to name one of us girls Moonbeam when we were born...no joke!) to give this challenge a try with me, leave a comment below and let me know you are in! Then each week I will share my progress with you, and you all can let me know how you are doing!

This was my first post ever on going "NO POO"...You can see all of my updates here:

 No Poo Week 2 Update
No Poo Week 3 Update
No Poo Week 4 Update
My Curly Hair Post 30 Day No Poo