Knife Block Redo

I haven’t had much time lately to tackle the big DIY projects at my house. I have furniture, pallets, burlap, paint and all kinds of other goodies in our garage just waiting to become some wonderful DIY creation. I keep reminding my hubby that I DO have a plan for that pallet and those scraps of wood – and that huge old junky looking window I convinced him I needed.

I’ve finally accepted the fact that I just don’t have time for those big projects right now. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still keeping all those amazing supplies. I just have to be more realistic with my DIY projects at the moment. So this week, instead of stressing about finishing of my big furniture projects, I decided to check some smaller, more realistic projects off the list.

After initially seeing this idea on Pinterest and a host of other blogs, I decided to redo my knife block. It’s one of those boring wood knife blocks that wasn’t really much to look at. I wanted that functional block to become a fun pop of color my kitchen desperately needed.

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DIY Pumpkin Pie Spice

Am I the only one who stands in the middle of the grocery aisle Googling for DIY and/or substitution recipes once I find out whatever I need is out of stock? Hopefully not, because it’s proven to be super helpful 99% of the time – like today. I ran to the store for pumpkin pie spice and it was the only empty slot in the entire spices section. Lovely. So I Googled “DIY pumpkin pie spice” and one of the first results was a great little recipe from Annie’s Eats. The best part… I already had all the ingredients at home!

If you find yourself in need of pumpkin pie spice this season, check your pantry for these common spices before shelling out a few bucks for something you can mix yourself!

DIY Pumpkin Pie Spice
From Annie’s Eats

2 tbsp. ground cinnamon
1 tbsp. ground ginger
1½ tsp. ground allspice
1½ tsp. ground cloves
¾ tsp. ground nutmeg

Mix them all together and store in an airtight container!

Do you have a favorite money-saving DIY pantry tip?

Hearty & Healthy Chili

There’s nothing better than a big bowl of chili and some corn bread.  A few weeks ago I started having chili cravings, so I vowed to find a really great recipe and get crackin.  I hadn’t found a good one yet when we were invited to dinner at our friends’ house – and guess what?  They made chili!  It was an old recipe from a close family friend and it made its way home with me.

When I was making the chili grocery list, I decided I was going to try reducing the fat and salt to make it a tad more heart healthy without losing any of that amazing original flavor.  I substituted ground turkey and ground chicken for 2/3 of the ground beef, sprung for low sodium diced tomatoes and sauce, and drained the beans.  The chili turned out AMAZING.  It didn’t have as much kick straight out of the pot, but the next day after the meats had absorbed all the flavors and spices, it was to die for!

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A Quick Tip for Snack-a-holics Like Me!

I wanted to share this super simple (super obvious) snack tip that saves money and helps prevent over-snacking! When you buy bagged snack foods like chips, pretzels, crackers, nuts, etc., portion out individual servings into reusable baggies or containers before you toss them in the pantry. I’ve found that when I snack, I can eat 4-5 servings without even realizing it. When I have individual serving baggies, I grab one and I’m good to go!

Some companies are onto me. They know I want a snack with a healthy serving size and a low calorie count, so they started making “100 Calorie Packs”. I decided to do a comparison to see if buying the packs instead of making them myself was actually worth it. I did my comparison with the Blue Diamond Natural Oven Roasted Almonds in dark chocolate, my current snack obsession.

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