Pizza Sauce Ideas

It seems my pizza sauce changes every time I make homemade pizza. Am I being creative? Nope, just making due. Once in a great while I’ll have a “real” sauce to use, but most of the time I use what I’ve got in the kitchen.

Pizza Sauce #1
This might sound a little weird, but sometimes I use mild salsa or spaghetti sauce. It really is quite good to use spaghetti sauce, and I did this for quite a few years before I learned how to make homemade sauce. Just use it like you would normal pizza sauce!
Pizza Sauce #2
Italian diced tomatoes or tomato paste straight from a can is what we’ve been using the most lately. The Italian version is a chunky sauce you don’t have to add anything to, but the plain tomato paste needs a few spices (I use garlic salt, basil, and oregano). Just don’t make the mistake I made last night and add too much garlic salt! A tsp of each spice is more than enough.
Pizza Sauce #3
The completely homemade version that requires tomatoes. Cut up your tomatoes and mush them up as good as you can.  Add your tomatoes and spices in a sauce pan, then bring to a boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down to low and let simmer until you have a thicker paste. (The longer you boil it, the less juices you’ll have – I usually get tired of waiting and use it a bit on the chunky side).

So there you go! The next time you are making pizza and need sauce, you have several different options to chose from. Enjoy!

Bubble Recipe

It’s a beautiful sunny day, but the kids are still in need of something to do. Luckily there’s quite a few options for summer activities, one being making bubbles.

This recipe comes from Free Kids Crafts, off the “recipes” page. You can also find other summer crafts and activities on the site as well.

Bubble Recipe
2 c. Dawn dishwashing detergent
6 c. water
Almost 1 c. Karo light corn syrup

Combine, shake, let settle 4 hours. Store covered in refrigerator to extend suds shelf life. Allow to warm before using. Costs about $1.50 per gallon.

Bubble Tips:
1. If foam develops scrape off with a stiff card.
2. Keep suds clean from dirt and grass.
3. Bubbles are best on humid days.
4. Protect suds from direct sun.

Have fun!

Tidy Tuesday – Quick Kitchen Tip

This week I’m giving you all a break. My house is still in pieces and it’s hard to do any “normal” tasks or organization right now. So instead I’m going to pass on a very quick and useful tip my mom taught me.

If you use SOS pads for any reason, you know how they can get pretty nasty sitting on a sink or counter. They just flat out don’t keep and will get rusted just sitting out in the open. Unless you put them back in the box.

Yes that’s right, you can save an SOS pad from getting rusted by simply putting it back in the box with the others. You would think it messes up the others in the box, but it doesn’t. They all keep just perfect in the box.

So there’s your quick tip for the day. Enjoy!

Crafts for Organizing

Today I stumbled on a few interesting crafts to help combat clutter. I’m a big fan of crafts that not only entertain the kids, but serve a purpose as well. This one does just that, since it’s to be used as a way to organize your crafts.

The Crafter’s Carousel is pretty easy to do, and uses items you most likely have in your house. I always love when I find crafts with easy to find items, since I don’t like to spend a lot of money on the craft itself.

We’ll most likely be doing this one on the next rainy day, and it’s something you might want to check out as well.

Have fun!

Unique Biscuits and Gravy

Last night for supper I was being a bit lazy. We had plenty of food, but everything I could have made seemed to be missing an ingredient or two (like tacos we can’t have without sour cream, which we had none of). So I had to do what usually I do best – improvise.

Having sausage and everything to at least make some rolls to use at the biscuits, I decided we could have biscuits and gravy. Only we didn’t have the gravy, and that’s a recipe I never have mastered. I dare not even try, I just know I’ll end up with a huge mess. So I had to substitute it with something. I just about used alfredo sauce, but just as I was reaching for it I spotted something better. Cream of Mushroom Soup.

Yup you heard me right, I used cream of mushroom soup as a gravy. After the sausage was cooked I just added it right to the pan with a little milk and flour to get it “just right”. Oh and of course a bit of salt & pepper. Add the pepper slowly though, that sausage adds a kick all by itself.

It was a slightly different biscuits and gravy recipe than we’ve had in the past, but still good just the same. Might be something we make again since it was actually pretty simple and uses stuff we have on hand most the time.

CafeMom Games

Have you joined CafeMom yet? If not, now is the time to do it!

Not only did the site get a makeover, but they’ve added some really neat features. Now available are “widgets” which are cool additions you can add to your profile (if you are active on Myspace you’ll know exactly what I mean). I found them under “My CafeMom” and currently playing the Road Trip Scavenger Hunt. It’s an absolute BLAST!

Another widget I spotted that I simply must try out was “Sweet Treats”, where you bake virtual goodies and then get the recipe for them. How cool is that?

So anyway, hop on over to CafeMom and get yourself signed up!

Tidy Tuesday: Hallways and Corners

Looking around my house I see a cluttered mess. Since we are remodeling (I know, reminding you all of that fact is getting old), there are boxes stacked everywhere. If not for the “lived in” look in other parts of the house,  you’d swear we just moved in.

Some of this I can’t blame on the construction though. For example, there are two very large bins with stuff the kids bring home from school sitting in the hall near the bathroom. Do those really need to be there? No, not really.

This week I’ll be working on clearing my hallways and corners, making sure things are put away once and for all. I have a storage room, so really there shouldn’t be things just sitting out (the storage room is either a very small bedroom or a very large closet with a whole lot of shelves). I’ll hope you’ll be joining me this week too!

Early Birthday Pool Party

We got an invitation the other day for a pool party at the local public pool. Nothing fancy, with “no gifts” printed right on the paper.  Now what was different about this particular birthday party is that it’s being celebrated a whole 2 months early.

You see, the soon-to-be 8yr old boy isn’t actually having a birthday until September. But he loves to swim, and loves to hang out with his friends. Since his birthday is clear at the end of September, it’s not as easy to have a pool party. So he came up with the idea to have the party now and not really celebrate later.

Mom and dad of course agree, because it’s  such a simple idea. I’m in love with it too, since instead of spending money on a gift I’m putting that money into a day pass at the pool for me and my kids. His parents get to allow him the chance to have a “big” party with lots of friends, without the hassle of having boatloads of kids running around the house (this idea has always scared the heck out of me!).

This idea got me thinking though – where else could you be doing parties like this? Clearly stating no gifts, but having parents pay into the party itself. I mean it might rub some parents the wrong way, but really if you think about it, it’s a lot better deal. Not that we don’t want to buy a gift for another kid other than our own, but we’d much rather give something to our own.

If you look around your own community you might be surprised what you find. Trips to the zoo, pool, and other community activities might be an option for a great birthday party location for your kids.😉

Frugal Friday: Don’t Buy In Bulk

This week’s Frugal Friday tip may seem a bit strange to you. After all, buying in bulk can usually save you quite a lot of money over time. You are right, it can. But only if you are buying certain things.

Non-perishable such as paper towels and canned goods are great things to buy in bulk. Certain foods and items with expiration dates are not. For example, we do not buy gallons of milk because we can’t use it all before it goes bad. Granted the half gallons are not as cost effective, but they are when we would be dumping the rest of a gallon.

Stocking up on certain snack foods just because they are on sale isn’t usually a good idea either, since we tend to eat more if it’s sitting in our kitchen. In the past I’ve bought several boxes of toaster pastries when they were on sale, but the kids had them gone in no time.

Anyway, while it’s good to buy some things  in bulk, watch carefully how quickly it disappears or you won’t be saving anything.

Budget Spaghetti Meal

We call this particular recipe “Half spaghetti”, because it doesn’t use spaghetti sauce but it does use tomatoes. It’s almost like a very thin spaghetti sauce, which is why we call it “half”.

All you need to do is cook the spaghetti like you normally would, drain, then add a can of Italian diced tomatoes.  These cans are generally cheaper than spaghetti sauce, which is why this recipe is a cheap version of “real” spaghetti.