Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Holiday Rush

Well, the holidays are almost over. I find it difficult to enjoy the holidays due to all the rush. It would be so nice to slow down and take in the season, but instead I find myself racing from one location to another and watching the clock to make sure I get to the next one on time.

Christmas should be relished. And now that I have a little one of my own I realize that all the more. My goal for this year is to learn how to relish the moments and not rush through the week.

Any of you have suggestions for slowing down the hectic holiday? I would love to hear them. What about family traditions? Do you have a family tradition that you look forward to each year?

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Homemade Swiffer Juice

I love Swiffer! I think they are the greatest inventors ever! Well almost ever. The phone and the light bulb are pretty awesome!

I own almost every Swiffer gadget they make. There might be a couple that I don't own and that is only because I don't know about them or I can't think of them at this moment. The downside of swiffer is that you must buy refills for the products. That's money down the drain. So I have been trying to find a way to save money on my Swiffer WetJet. I determined the best way to saw money was to refill my Wetjet bottle.

I removed the lid by running it under hot water then using a gripper to twist the cap off.

The cleaning fluid was a mixture of vinegar, baking soda, and water. I haven't worked out the exact measurements. It was approximately 1 cup of vinegar to 1 quart of water and a tablespoon of baking soda.

It cleaned rather well but required more arm muscle than normal. The downside is that you must mix up a fresh batch with each cleaning. That is fine for planned moppings but unplanned messes as is typical with infants and toddlers need an immediate fix. There is not always time to mix up a cleaner before tackling the spill.

Thus, I am still working on it. I am also working on a cheaper replacement for the pads. Got some ideas? Tried a homemade cleaner solution? Leave a comment or send me an email, and I will give it a try!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

How to Make Your Own Baby Food

Making your own baby food seems like a daunting task, but really it is simpler than it seems. The key is knowing the consistancy your baby will need. If you are making baby food for a 4-6 month old it needs to be quite thin with no lumps whatsoever. An older infant, could be fed a smooth, thicker version, and one the age of Snugglebug around 9 or 10 months will be ready for a few lumps to test out those new teeth. A good rule of thumb for determining the consistancy of your purees will be to make your foods the same consistancy as your cereals.

So, without further ado...On to the kitchen...

Step 1--You can use either fresh fruits and vegetables or frozen. My preference is to use fresh when it is in season and frozen when it is not. For frozen items cook according to package directions. For fresh vegies, peel and chop in rough chunks. Place them in a pot and cover with water. Cook until fork tender.

Do not add salt, sugar, or seasonings to the vegies. Keep them plain until you know what allergies your child may have. And remember to introduce the seasonings one at a time just like your solid foods to determine any allergies.

Tip--For older infants you can also roast vegies such as winter squash, just make sure you scrape off the carmelized portions, since it won't puree smooth. Also if you want to keep the vitamins from leaching into the water, you can steam you vegies. It just takes a little longer to cook.

Step 2--Place the fruits or vegies in a food processor along with a spoonful or two of the water and juices from the pot. This will help the vegies to puree smoothly. Pulse the machine a few times to see if you need to add more water. Remember, the younger the infant the more water will need to be added. If you get it too thin you can always add cereal to thicken it later. Once pureed spoon or pour mixture into a bowl and stir with a spoon. You are checking the consistancy. If it still seems too thick or chunky add it back to the food processor and pulse again a few more times.

Step 3--Your baby food is either ready to serve or preserve. I'm not an expert in canning, so I suggest freezing, and if your child eats like my Snugglebug, it won't last long in the freezer anyway.
The best way to freeze baby food is in ice trays. Fresh Baby makes an ice tray with a snap on lid that is especially designed for freezing baby food. I have two trays, and they work well. Unfortunately, after a few dozen uses the lid doesn't snap on tight and tends to come off far too easily. And since my favorite thing to do is to multi-task, I turn to standard ice trays. The standard trays stack nicely in the freezer, and it is easy to remove the cubes for storage.

Each cube of a Baby Fresh tray or a standard ice tray is equivalent to one ounce and hold approximately 12 cubes or 12 ounces of baby food. Depending on your type of fruit or vegie you get 1 1/2 to 2 trays per pound of fresh or frozen vegies.

Step 4--To store the cubes, run a little hot water over the bottom of the trays, then turn out the trays on a clean plate. Place the cubes in a marked freezer storage bag of your choice and place in the freezer. You now have baby food at your fingertips.

Step 5--To serve, thaw the total number of cubes in a microwavable bowl for 30 seconds to 1 minutes (depending on microwave wattage) on 50 percent power. Stir and microwave again for the same length and power.

I have an older microwave and it usually takes two minutes at 50 percent power to completely thaw and warm the vegies. If you overheat the cubes, then stir with an ice cube for a couple of seconds.
Happy Eating!!

Gadgets to Aid in Making Your Own Baby Food

There are several really great gadgets to help in the making of baby food.
1. Potato Ricer:

This little gadget is a multi-purpose kitchen tool. It makes great mashed potatoes and mashes bananas beautifully. One quick squeeze and a ripe banana is ready for Snugglebug's mouth.
2. Kidco Food Mill:

This hard-to-find gadget is the perfect portable baby food grinder. The hand crank will grind almost anything but some things such as chicken or turkey require some arm muscle. It generally costs around $15 and is worth every penny. My mother had one of these and she used it for all five of her kids then passed it on to my sister who is still using it with her third child. So even if you don't use it everyday, which I don't, you know it will be of use many years or even generations down the road. You can type in Kidco food mill in a search or you can go to Target. com.
3. 2 Qt. Food Mill:

If you are more into versatility, then the regular size 2 quart food mill will be your choice. It will do the same jobs as the portable Kidco model but will also make a nice batch of tomato puree for meatloaf or spaghetti sauce. It generally costs about $25 and can be found in the kitchen section of most tores.
4. Food Processor:
Generally, speaking all you really need to puree a batch of peas or carrots or even a chicken breast is a food processor. And while I would love to have a standard size food processor, I don't. So, I can honestly say a mini-food processor will do the job just as well. It just takes a little longer.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Baby Food--The healthy and frugal way

I've been making Snugglebug's baby food since he started solids at 5 months. It has been quite an experience. You would think it would be easy to puree foods but apparently it isn't. Snugglebug is 10 months old now and eating quite well, and I am proud to say that I have figured it out.

My first inclination to make baby food was simply because I wanted to make sure it was healthy. With my own food allergies and sensitivies, I felt it was adament that I make sure the ingredients were healthy. Along the way, I discovered I was saving a lot of money.

Today, I cooked 3 pounds of Organic sweet peas, pureed them, and froze them. I got 16-3 ounce servings from those 3 pounds. Organic baby food runs 95 cents a jar and I spent $9 thus a savings of $6.20 or 40%. Granted the total savings could be much better if I wasn't insistant on organic. (I'll explain the importance of organic in a later post.)

Store brand frozen vegies that are not organic but still just as tasty cost on average of $1.25 a pound. And if you bought the regular not organic baby food, you would spend on average of 50 cents a jar. The same peas would then save you a grand total of $4.25 or a 53% savings.

In my next post, I'll tell you how I did it!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Chicken Pot Pie

I love trying new recipes and while Oprah doesn't need advertising, I must pass on this recipe. Before Thanksgiving, Oprah had Cristina Ferrare sharing money saving recipes. A couple of weeks ago, I gave the marinade and the Chicken Pot Pie recipes a try. I was astounded. The marinade and Roast Chicken were extremely easy and the pot pie was just as simple.

I made one change to the Pot Pie recipe. Rather than using the various vegetables listed in the ingredients, I used a package of frozen mixed vegies and cooked them according to the directions. This add even less prep work to the meal.

The pot pie made great leftovers as well. It would make a meal for a family of four, but I have an unusual situation. My husband works during dinner time, so I am typically the only one eating thus I always have leftovers.

I have this recipe on the menu for next week, so check back next week for a picture of my version of this Chicken Pot Pie.

Monday, December 8, 2008


Welcome to Felini de la Rosa. I am a stay-at-home mom who loves to try new things. I love new recipes, cleaning gadgets, books, and anything to keep the mundane from becoming mundane.

I also love to share these fabulous finds with others but as a stay-at-home mom there is typically no one around to immediately share my new find. So, alas, I have joined the blogging world to share.

While my favorite things to share are money-saving ideas. I started couponing three years ago and except for a brief hiatus after the birth of my son, haven't looked back. But, there are tons of coupon blogs out there. I'll share with you all the little ways that I find to save money.

Cooking is another hobby. I love trying new recipes. When learning to cook, I compiled a binder of recipes from the internet. My husband and I tried a new recipe everyday for months. Now, I consider myself to be an intermediate cook and still try new recipes every week.

And then there is salvaging...not a typical item listed under the title of "Going Green." When I say salvage, I mean something that was bound for the garbage and given a new purpose. When I was growing up, this was a general practice at my house. Out of sheer necessity, we recycled and reused everything to save a buck. That's the same idea here.

Like every other family, we have to find time somewhere to keep the house clean. Not an easy task with a new little one. But, I am a gadget person! If there is a new cleaning gadget, I add it to my shopping list. I can't wait to try anything that will make my job a little easier because who wants to spend the day scrubbing bathrooms when you can be gardening.

So join me as we chat about different ways to save some money and make our lives a little easier in the long run.