Rockin’ Rice Milk (made using leftover cooked rice!)

Not only does it taste awesome, but it is a fantastic way to use up any leftover cooked rice. It averages out to less than $0.10 per gallon, and I can totally live with that price tag.

I haven’t found any difference (other than taste preference) using different types of rice. I’ve made this with white, brown, long and short-grain, jasmine, and even used a combo of different rice grains. Play with it and find the taste you like.

For 1 ¼ cup of rice milk you’ll need:

frugal vegan homemade rice milk cooked rice
  • 1 cup cooked rice
    (any kind or combo of types of rice)
  • 1 ¼ cups (or more) of hot water
    (NOT boiling. Let the water cool enough so that bubbles no longer break the water’s surface)
  • A pinch of salt
    (This is entirely optional, but it does bring out the flavor)

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Add more water to get a thinner consistency if you like it like that. I like it as is, without straining, but you can strain the liquid through a fine-mesh strainer to get rid of any lumps and clumps.

Pour into a container and store in the refrigerator.

This keeps for about a week (though mine never lasts that long, I always drink it too fast!) This is amazing in soups, stews, and sauces. Great used in baking too!

frugal vegan receipe

You can also personalize this however you want by adding in a dry or liquid sweetener like maple syrup, agave, brown rice syrup, coconut sugar, or throw half of a date into the blender when your mixing.

Go wild and add a few drops of vanilla or maple extract, or try cinnamon or ginger for a truly divine taste.

Attract Hummingbirds to Your Garden This Year

If you’re like me, spring hasn’t quite sprung. I’m dealing with a February snowstorm dumping snow and ice outside. But that doesn’t stop me from planning for spring. It will be here sooner than you think. And that means, hummingbirds.

Hummingbirds are very easy to attract, and since they feast on mosquitoes in addition to sweet nectar, they’re little friends worth encouraging to hang around!

Tiny and enchanting, Hummingbirds are a delight to watch. They’re the only bird whose wings can rotate in a complete circle, allowing them to fly backward and forward, up and down, or even hover in one spot. If you’ve ever observed Hummingbirds feeding, you no doubt want to recreate the experience in your backyard.

Creating a Hummingbird Habitat

Creating a hummingbird habitat is easier than you may think; they need shelter, security, and a constant source of water. While they get enough water in their diet from dew and nectar, they need water to bathe in. So provide birdbaths and fountains for your Hummingbirds. And did you know that hummingbirds LOVE water-spray! If you’re watering your lawn, you’ll see these little guys flitting about the water-spray like children on a hot summer day! Consider putting a misting attachment on your garden hose and wait for the little ones to whiz around in the spray.

Planting for Hummingbirds

Hummingbirds are attracted to the color red. Flowers that are orange or red, and have good nectar production are ideal for attracting hummingbirds. Some good choices include:

Hosta

Phlox 

Honeysuckle 

Butterfly Bush 

Columbine

Nesting

To encourage Hummingbirds to nest, provide quiet, secluded areas where they can safely build their tiny nests. They typically make their dens over water, on overhangs of branches or bough covered paths between bushes. Since they prefer nesting near water, consider putting out a small tub with a few water plants in it, or adding a few water plants to your fountain! They craft their little nests using mosses, spider webs, and lichen. Fully built, their elaborate nests, complete with minuscule eggs tucked safely inside, look more suitable for the fairy gardens found in Irish folklore than the wilds of backyard Ontario.

Feeders

There are as many differing feeder styles and designs as there are personal preferences. You should be able to find one to fit your individual décor without much effort. (Farmer’s markets can be an excellent source for finding handmade bird feeders with a rich natural ruggedness!) As far as your new friends are concerned, they all do the same job; they’re only interested in the contents of your feeder! So purchase high-quality nectar or nectar mix and plan on keeping your hummingbird diner open until late into the fall. Since Hummingbirds scan for the color red when searching for a food source, don’t hide your feeder; keep it in plain sight. And don’t forget to empty and clean your feeder every 3-4 four days.

Location. Location. Location.

Just as in real estate, location is everything. Along with selecting a visible spot for your Hummingbird feeder, be sure to choose an area high enough to prevent neighborhood kitties, or small dogs, from using them as bait. Wild birds in the province are at an increased risk from our living-room lions and backyard hunters.

Feeding Hummingbirds is highly rewarding. Social and friendly hummingbirds are pure enjoyment for the entire family. And there’s nothing quite like that identifiable hum as they whiz past your head, while you’re refilling their feeders.

Saving For a Down Payment? 10 Tips That Really Work!

Everyone daydreams of buying their own place, but with the rising cost of homeownership, saving up enough money for a down payment on even a small place can seem like an impossible task.

But with careful planning and a little creativity, you can have enough money saved for a down payment sooner than you ever expected.

Separate Bank Account

Open a separate bank account and only put money in it for your down payment. Don’t touch the money in that account until you’re ready to buy your home. Having a separate account will help you keep track of your savings, and watching the balance grow will help you stay motivated to put every spare dollar toward your down payment.

Brown Bags and Travel Mugs

not only does homemade food taste better, but it can save you big money

It’s easy to spend $20 a day on coffee and lunch if you eat out during the workweek. By brown-bagging your lunch and using a travel mug to bring home brew coffee, that $20 per week will contribute more than a thousand dollars to your new home fund in a year.

Netflix, Newspapers, and Other Subscriptions

Do you have a slew of magazine subscriptions collecting dust on your coffee table? If you’re saving for a down payment, it’s time to cancel these subscriptions. Canceling your cable and opting to watch television shows or movies over the internet can also save you a small fortune.

Unexpected Money

Did you get a holiday bonus from work that you weren’t expecting? Or maybe win a few hundred dollars the last time you played bingo? Or a lucky lotto ticket?

Deposit any unexpected money into your bank account. And if you’re lucky enough to come into a sizeable windfall, such as an inheritance, consider investing your funds into a short-term, high-interest account for additional earnings, all going towards your new home.

Family and Friends

If you find yourself close to the required amount, but still just a little short, consider checking in with family and friends who may be able to help with a short-term, low- or no-interest loan. Pay them off first, and be sure to invite them to see the house before anyone else.

Reduce Retirement Contributions Temporarily

For a short period, reducing your retirement contributions can help you save for your down payment. Contribute less to your retirement only for the duration that you’re actively saving. Once you have the down payment covered, don’t forget to increase your retirement contributions once again!

eBay, Etsy, and Kijiji, Oh My!

turning your hobby into a side hustle can bring in extra cash

Saving for a down payment means you’ll have a move in your future. And that’s an ideal opportunity to evaluate your possessions and declutter. Haven’t used that sewing machine in years? Have a treadmill you always meant to unpack but never got around to setting up? Sell them online and add money to your growing bank account.

Consider Working a Second Job

If you’re able, taking on a second, a part-time job can help you increase your savings for a down payment. Look for ways to earn money for something you already do, from a hobby or pastime. For example, do you love walking your dog? Could you walk a second dog at the same time? If so, you could add another $15 – $20 per hour just by walking around your neighborhood with your pup and a canine companion.

Gift Money

Do you get money from family or friends when your birthday or the holidays come around? These little gifts can give your savings account a fantastic boost. Send a thank-you note and let your family or friends know that you’ve put the money toward your new home.

Deposit Your Tax Refund

Getting a tax refund always seems to feel like you’re getting free money, and you may be tempted to spend it on a vacation or other nice, but unnecessary, treat. But regardless of whether or not your tax return is thousands of dollars or just a few hundred, put it toward your dream of owning a home.

It may take you a couple of years to save up enough money for your down payment, but by following these tips, you’ll be surprised how easy it is.

5 (Almost) Free Ways to Say Goodbye to Dry Winter Hair

We all have a bad hair day now and then. But winter winds can make it feel like you’re having a bad hair season! From hat-head to split ends, from dry to frizzy, harsh winters can wreak havoc on your hair. If you spend a lot of time outside, the icy rain, snow, and winter winds can cause your hair to tangle or become brittle and dry. Spend your days inside? The constant dry heat can also do real damage to your tresses. So before Jack Frost starts nipping at your ponytail, here are five tips that will have you saying goodbye to dry winter hair before it starts. And I’ll bet you already have these remedies in your kitchen – meaning these frugal tips are really freebies!

Extra Moisture

As the seasons’ change and that all-too-familiar nip in the air starts to descend, it’s time to add a little extra moisture for your hair. Look for shampoos that infused with naturally hydrating oils such as almond oil or shea butter and are labeled ‘moisture-rich.’ Or, add a few drops of almond oil to your favorite conditioner and shake to combine. Massage the conditioner into your scalp, and keep it on your hair for up to five minutes. For extra moisture, pop a shower cap on to take maximum advantage of the shower’s heat, help your hair absorb the extra moisture.

Cool Rinse

A cool rinse can be a lot to ask, especially when it’s cold outside. But resist your urge to crank up the temperature. A cool water rinse boosts shine and helps keep valuable oils where they belong – on your scalp.

Skip the Dry Heat

Whenever possible, choose a combination of towel and air drying of your hair instead of using a hairdryer. The dry heat of your hairdryer can cause extra damage to hair that’s already beginning to lose its moisture.

Raid the kitchen for moisturizing hair conditioners like coconut oil

Leave-In Conditioner

As your hair begins to dry, use a small amount of leave-in conditioner for extra moisture. Coconut oil (about the size of a dime for shoulder length hair) or avocado oil is also great to use, squeezing it into the ends of your hair for extra emphasis. Coconut and avocado oil are also great for controlling dry, flyaway hair, all too common during the colder months.

Weekly Treatment

Every week, pamper your hair with a homemade oil mask. Warm a tablespoon of coconut, almond, avocado, or olive oil in the microwave or on the stovetop. After checking to make sure the oil isn’t too hot to handle, massage it throughout your hair. Start at your scalp and work it all the way to the ends. Next, tuck your hair under a shower cap, or wrap in cling film and a towel on top, turban style. The added heat from the towel will help your hair absorb the natural oil. Leave one for an hour, then wash your hair as usual. You’ll love how your hair feels after this treatment.
Do you have a favorite tip for saying goodbye to dry winter hair, and hello to soft, supple, shiny curls all winter long? Let me know in the comments below.

4 Products That You Should Always DIY if You Care About Your Health and Your Wallet

Who doesn’t like a few extra coins in their pocket at the end of the week? Saving money is always an excellent reason to DIY, but it’s not the only reason. In some cases, the cost of not making it from scratch is a lot more than just money. While that bottle of face cream from the dollar store might be easy on your bank account in the immediate, your health and the environment are paying the price for all that “convenience.” And it really isn’t so convenient when you consider how easy it is to make at home.

Deodorants

In addition to frequently being testing on animals for unwanted skin reactions, aluminum-based antiperspirants and deodorants have been linked to a rise in breast cancer rates around the world. Our bodies need to sweat; it’s how we eliminate toxins. To block that natural process, to keep those toxins inside of us, is just plain dangerous. The simplest and most efficient way to keep unwelcome odors at bay is to dip moist fingertips into a small bowl of baking soda and apply it to the underarm area. That’s it: no mixing, no recipe, just baking soda. Its natural properties will keep you smelling fresh.

Feeling creative? You can always add two to three drops of your favorite essential oil and mix for a fun fragrance.

Create your a truly original scent in minutes

Perfume

Speaking of fragrances, many of the synthetic chemicals found in fragrances, including expensive big-name brands, have been linked to hormone disruption and even cancer. Parabens, found in many fragrances, are also found in pesticides. You wouldn’t spray pesticides on your skin daily, why do it with your perfume? Use distilled water (200 ml) with a few drops of essential oil and a tablespoon of vodka instead. Shake before using it.

Sinusitis Remedy

If the changing seasons have you sniffling, you may be thinking a trip to the doctor is your only course of action for relief. And if your symptoms last more than a few days, that may be in order. But if you’re in the initial stages of discomfort, why not try to save yourself from a course of damaging antibiotics or worse, a steroidal nasal spray. Bring a kettle of water to a steady boil and carefully pour it into a heatproof bowl. Add two drops of tea tree oil. Bend forward over the bowl and cover your head with a towel. Breathe deeply. The antibacterial properties of the tea tree oil will help combat any unfriendly bacteria, and the steam will keep your nasal passages moist and feeling healthy.

Wash and reuse old cosmetic or cream jars, or use small mason jars for your homemade eye cream

Eye Cream

We all know that the eyes are the window to the soul. But did you realize that the delicate under-eye skin is a gateway to your bloodstream? Whatever you put on your skin will be absorbed by your skin. So why are you taking chances? Put three tablespoons of coconut oil into a clean container. If the coconut oil is solid, you can submerge your jar in a bowl of hot water until it liquefies. Add to the coconut oil the contents of three vitamin E capsules, or 1/2 teaspoon vitamin E oil. Mix well and allow the oils to solidify once again. It’s now ready to use. No refrigeration is needed.

Dry Winter Skin? Homemade Lotion Bars Are The Answer

Winters can mean harsh winds that are brutal for your skin! You can slather lotion on your hands every five minutes and they’ll still cry out for more. Thankfully, this homemade rescue for dry, cracked winter skin will get rid of that itchy feeling once and for all. And because it comes in a ‘bar’ form (rather than messy lotions that can drip or spill at the worst possible moment) you can keep one with you at all times. They’re even great to use on winter-whipped chapped lips!

These fun, practical, and economical lotion bars are also a great homemade gifts. I often make several batches during those cold days I refuse to venture outside. And every time I use someone asks me where they can get one. Now I always carry an extra homemade lotion bar for dry winter skin with me, to hand out to friends and family.

With only a few ingredients, even novice do-it-yourselfers can master these use skin-saving bars.

Image by silviarita

For 16 Homemade Lotion Bars You’ll Need:

  • Coconut Oil (1 Litre)
  • Soy wax pellets (500 ml) you can use either pellets or bars
  • Essential Oil/ Fragrance (20 – 25 ml) Anything you like. My favourite combo is Patchouli and Vanilla (optional)
  • A Double boiler (If you don’t have one, don’t panic. You can improvise a double-boiler with a pot and heat-safe bowl)
  • A lotion bar mold (Silicon or rubber muffin pan, candy molds also work great. Metal muffin pan can be used too, just remember to use paper muffin liners or you’ll never get the lotion bar out!)
  • Spoon or spatula for mixing

How To Make Lotion Bars for Dry Winter Skin

  • Clear a workspace in your kitchen and get all your ingredients and utensils together.
  • Melt the soy wax in your double boiler, over medium-low heat.
  • As the soy wax begins to soften, add the coconut oil and stir gently, using your spatula.
  • Once the soy wax/ coconut oil mixture as mostly melted, add in your essential oil if you’re using it.
  • Next, pour the soy wax/ coconut oil/ fragrance combo into the molds and put in the refrigerator to cool quickly, or let cool on the counter.
  • Once the bars have cooled completely, they’re ready to use.

Relief from dry winter skin has never been so easy!

Once thoroughly cooled and firm, wrap your homemade lotion bars for dry skin with a ribbon or wrap loosely in a piece of reclaimed fabric, and they’re ready to hand out to family and friends to show them you care.

Frugal Cleaning In The New Year: 5 All-Natural Home Cleaners You Can DIY

Out with the old and in with the new!

Spring isn’t the only time that’s perfect for giving your house a good cleaning. The New Year is an ideal time for putting things in order. Cleaning your house for New Year’s is also an incredible mood booster as you enter the shortest, darkest days of winter. And for this New Year, you can get the toughest messes under control with these five all-natural home cleaners you can DIY.

Drain Cleaner

Too often when we clean our kitchen we forget to clean out our hard working drains. And that can mean clogs that slow water drainage. But have you ever read the list of ingredients on a bottle of commercial drain cleaner? You don’t want that anywhere near your food!

Instead, get rid of soap and food residue with this easy, and non-toxic drain cleaner.

Before you go to bed for the evening, simply sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda around the mouth of the drain in your sink. Then, very slowly pour some vinegar (any kind, white vinegar is cheap and works great) over the baking soda. It will bubble and fizz, letting you know it’s getting straight to work. Let it sit overnight.

In the morning, run very hot water through the drain. And that’s it. You’ll notice a difference right away. To avoid buildup, use this method to clean your drains once a month.

Image by fede13

DIY Pan Cleaner

Forget to add enough water or stock to last night’s dish? If you’re like me, you probably have one pot still soaking to get it clean. You might feel like throwing it out, but don’t. Do this instead. Place your pot or pan with the baked-on, burnt-in food in your sink. Add water about an inch or two deep and add some dish soap. Give it a swirl or two to activate the bubbles and start the soaking. Next, add approximately ¼ cup of salt (sea salt is great, but regular kitchen salt will work too). Let the pan soak, undisturbed overnight. The next day clean your pot as usual. Tough, hard to remove spots will loosen quickly. 

Floor Cleaner

Got muddy footprints in your kitchen? Paw prints on the mudroom floor? Get rid of them with a simple mixture of water and castile soap. Add 1/4 cup of castile soap to your bucket of hot water. For fragrances, you can also add a few drops of essential oil (tea tree oil gives a great clean scent and is naturally anti-bacterial).

Homemade All Purpose Bathroom Cleaner

Still have some baking soda and vinegar left over after cleaning the drains? Put them to use in your bathroom. Sprinkle baking soda straight from the box, on any bathroom surface you want to clean – toilet, counter, bathtub, sink. Next add a few drops of vinegar, just enough to make a paste. Scrub, gently. Rinse with clear water, and you’re done. Stand back and admire the shine.

Image by Monfocus

Easy DIY Laundry Detergent

Nothing seems to get kids clothes clean like this homemade laundry detergent. The fact that you’ll save a bundle on the cost is an added benefit. To make the detergent, combine the following ingredients in a large container that has a snug-fitting lid:

  • 8 cups baking soda
  • 8 cups washing soda 
  • 8 cups of grated bar soap (any kind will work, check flyers for what’s on sale)
  • 12 cups of borax

Mix with a large wooden spoon, or secure the lid and give the whole thing a few good shakes.

Directions for Use:

  • Add 1 -2 tablespoons (15 – 30 ml) per single load of laundry. 
  • This homemade laundry detergent works in all temperatures and for whites, colours, or delicates. 
  • Want a light fragrance? You guessed it, add a few drops of essential oil to the mixture.

Now that you know how to makes these frugal, vegan, easy five all-natural home cleaners, you don’t need to head to the store the next time you run out. With these cleaners, you’ll save money. You’ll also avoid damaging chemicals found in so many conventional cleaning products.