Non-Consumer Mish-Mash — Leftover Magic, Upcoming Giveaways & Top Tips!

by Katy on January 29, 2014 · 19 comments

It’s time for another Non-Consumer Mish-Mash, where I write a little bit about this and a little bit about that.

Leftover Magic

I am patting myself on the back for being proactive and getting dinner started early in the day, and even better it will be a meal that uses up a myriad of leftovers. The meal? Black bean chili. (Beans cooked in my pressure cooker, of course!)

  • I’ll add the last of some marinara sauce from last Saturday’s lasagna. Yes, the Italian spice palate is very wrong for chili, but will get masked by the spicy chili flavors. Plus, I splurged on nice New Season’s Market bulk spicy sausage for the lasagna sauce, which will complement the chili.
  • I’ll add a couple packets of red pepper flakes that come with pizza deliveries.
  • I’ll add the last small amount from some El Pato enchilada sauce, (which we use for salsa, as the smooth texture is non-offensive to a certain young family member who gets wildly panicky at the sight of onions.)
  • We’ll sprinkle the too-small-to-dip tortilla chips on top of the the chili, which I save in a glass jar for this very purpose.
  • I’ll whip up a pan of cornbread and call it a day.

A frugal, tasty, healthy cheap meal that cleans out the fridge? Can’t get much better than that!

Next Week to be an Awesome Week of Giveaways!

I have a number of rather wonderful giveaways I’ve been putting together for you guys. Both the deluxe and premier copies of TurboTax and the paperback of Gretchen Rubin’s Happier at Home. I also have a few other goodies I’m working on, so it’s going to be a very fun week!

I’m kind of like Oprah this way. 😉

“You get TurboTax, you get TurboTax, two people get TurboTaaaaaaaaaaax!”

Favorite New Household Tips

Like everyone in the world, I love clever household tips. And the internet seems to provide endless ah-hah moments in the category. Here are a few of my recent faves:

  • Did you know that a dead AA battery will fall over, while a charged one does not? It’s true, I tested it out! Here’s a link with a video.
  • Buzzfeed has a great list of Clever New Ways to Use Your Kitchen Appliances that surely has one ah-hah moment for you. It’s heavy on ice cream, brownies and hash browns, but that plays to my strengths. It includes the tip to shred cooked meat in your standing mixer, which I already do and works fantastically. Tip: Undercook the meat a tiny bit, which is food safe as you’re likely to continue cooking it later in the recipe anyway.
  • Looking to expand your wacky cooking repertoire? How about using your coffee maker? This NPR post has the information about how to use that ever present coffee maker to cook up meals including poached salmon with couscous and steamed vegetables. I kind of want to try this, although my husband would kill me if I added a fishy flavor to his coffee. (Remember the episode of The Office when Dwight hid a fish in the ceiling tiles?)
  • Keep a fillable dish scrubber in the shower filled with half vinegar and half Dawn dish soap. Scrub a little every day while showering, and the shower is simply clean all the time! I do this, and it’s a life changer.
  • Keep your SOS pads in the freezer between uses to prevent them turning to rust.

What are your favorite household tips? Please share in the comments section below.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

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{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Lesley Parent January 29, 2014 at 12:58 pm

Katy, I love the fillable scrubber idea for the shower! Never heard of a fillable scrubber … I will be on the hunt for one. Love your blog … I never leave it feeling like I’m not perfect enough. A lot of blogs leave me feeling that way!


Katy January 29, 2014 at 1:17 pm

I am so not perfect! Then again, pobody is perfect nobody is perfect anyway. I am really good at some things and completely hopeless at others.



K D January 29, 2014 at 3:05 pm

I made a similar soup yesterday. I had spinach that was at the expiration date and marinara sauce in the freezer so I made Red Lentil and Vegetables soup to use those items with some seen better days carrots and onions. Now I have a great lunch ready for several days.

Dinner tonight is chicken and rice soup, I used the carcass of a rotisserie chicken for the base.

My favorite household tip is to use what you have to plan meals (as you do). My life was forever changed since I read about the Pantry Principle of meal planning (and grocery shopping) in the Tightwad Gazette.


Linda from mass January 30, 2014 at 4:54 am

I totally agree with the Pantry Principle. I just won’t make menu plans because I just don’t know what I want to eat any given night and how many leftovers I will have to use up. I shop to stock my pantry and sale items.


Kandice@The Simple Year January 29, 2014 at 6:12 pm

I’m totally trying that refillable scrubber trick. Genius!


lacey January 29, 2014 at 6:20 pm

I cut my sos pads in half so then i can just throw it away. If i freeze it then i can use each half twice. I will get quadruple the amount of uses because i used to throw awayafter one use. Plus i also heard that cutting the pads sharpens your scissors.


Katy January 29, 2014 at 7:43 pm

Ooh . . . good tip! I cut my kitchen sponges in half, but had never thought about the S.O.S. pads.



K D January 30, 2014 at 4:39 am

When sending a packing using the USPS it is cheaper to pay for postage and print the shipping label online if you are shipping Priority Mail. They also offer free package pickup. Additionally, they offer several special box sizes that save on postage: both Flat Rate boxes and Regional boxes. They are free but you need to order them online and they can only be used for USPS Priority Mail.


Liz January 30, 2014 at 4:59 am

I use travel-size containers for the toiletries I use in the shower. The smaller size is easier to grasp. Also my shower caddy fits over the pipe leading to the shower head, and I want the least amount of weight on that pipe.
I store the larger-size containers in a closet and use for a quick refill.


Diane C January 30, 2014 at 7:40 am

Liz, this is brilliant! I worry about what I call “The Costco Effect”. Big container, big squirt, excess consumption, money and resources wasted. For example, if I buy a six-pack of say, Almond Milk, I start to worry when I get down to two. If I wasn’t used to buying them six at a time, I’d be perfectly comfortable with two on the pantry shelf.
Oh, and those circular items create the stock-up urge as well. I buy crazy multiples of sale things. Twenty-four pounds of organic whole wheat pasta? Really, I did that?? Sigh. Oh well, I know we’ll use it, but is it worth the savings to have to store it for six months? Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge Costco fan, but I do worry about the behavioral effects and over consumption.


Anne January 30, 2014 at 9:21 am

The battery tip is a lifesaver and I love the shower cleaning idea. Thanks for the inspiration!


Michelle H. January 30, 2014 at 12:10 pm

Love the fillable scrubber tip, and just put one on the grocery list. Great idea!

No one at my house likes red pepper flakes on their pizza, so I cut open the packets and pour the flakes into a shaker jar I keep in the spice cabinet. I have a few recipes that use them and have never had to purchase any.


Carla January 30, 2014 at 3:53 pm

I didn’t know what SOS pads were, so I looked up the wiki article.

“In the mid-1990s, the manufacturer began advertising that S.O.S pads had been made rust-resistant. In fact the pads were so well-protected against rust, and the pads lasted so much longer, that [the manufacturer] removed the rust-inhibiting ingredients and ceased to advertise the pad’s rust resistant quality.”

What a depressing statement in terms of waste!


Katy January 30, 2014 at 11:24 pm

What? Planned obsolescence of cleaning scrubbers, crazy.


Katy @ Purposely Frugal January 30, 2014 at 7:34 pm

Isn’t making a use-it-up meal like that so satisfying?


Katy January 30, 2014 at 11:25 pm

Embarrassingly so.

Reply February 2, 2014 at 10:29 pm

It is important that you know how to become resourceful and artistic. Making a throw away item becoming more useful.


Aaron Darcy September 2, 2016 at 10:35 am

I use travel-size bins for the toiletries I use in the bath. Small sized dimension is easier to understand. Also my bath caddy suits over the tube major to the polished brass bath head, and I want the least amount of weight on that tube.
I shop the larger-size bins in a wardrobe and use for a quick re-fill.

Reply December 20, 2016 at 7:55 pm

Even though the article is old, i still found the household tips very interesting, thank you for those 🙂 All the best and i look forward to reading more.


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