Let me tell you something about Little Dude…he eats a lot of bananas. I almost always buy bananas and apples. Gracia happily munches away on apples, while Little Dude chooses bananas. So, since he’s been here, we have a lot fewer bananas that make it to the browning stage. But still sometimes we get those bananas that are getting soft and darker in color. But in theory (of course theory is always easier than real life) a banana should never be wasted cuz there’s just too many awesome ways to use them up!

When your bananas are getting brown, you can easily freeze them. I freeze my bananas in 2 ways:

  1. Just put the whole banana, peel and all into the freezer. This is the lazy-woman’s way, but it’s also a good way if you want to use the banana for bread or muffins, just take it out and let it defrost, it should mash up very easily.
  2. The second way is to peel and cut up the bananas, then put them in an airtight bag in the freezer. These bananas are perfect for using while still frozen in smoothies, or you can defrost them and use them in baking too.

15 ways to use bananas!

  • Fruit salad

  • Layer yogurt, granola and bananas for a delicious parfait.
  • Banana splits!
  • Banana pancakes - These are so yummy, I actually prefer them to regular pancakes, and since they have bananas in them they’re even sweet enough to eat without syrup or honey if you want.
  • Banana cookies - These are totally AWESOME!! The recipe only calls for 2 ingredients, oats and bananas, plus any other goodies you might want to mix in. I’ve mixed in chocolate chips and cocoa powder. They’re healthy, quick and the kids LOVE them!
  • Make healthy jello (without any added sugar) and put bananas in it.

  • Frozen peanut butter bananas – When I eat these I feel so elegant and luxurious! Who knew using up bananas could make me feel so fancy? There’s lots of varying recipes out there, but I like to just cut the bananas into bit sized pieces, then put a smear of peanut butter on them, then dip them in melted chocolate. Freeze and eat! Or you can melt the peanut butter in with the chocolate, then dip the bananas in it.
  • Frozen Banana Split Bites – I’ve never tried these, but they look yummy!
  • Popsicles, this recipe looks yummy. When I have leftover smoothie (which almost always have bananas in them) I like to pour the smoothie into popsicle molds for later.
  • Baby food...although this idea is best for those who  have babies.

BONUS TIP: If you have a pastry blender, they work great for mashing up soft bananas.

Do you have any other ideas for using up bananas?

 

Amy
Linked at Frugally Sustainable.

 

So this morning,I was racking my brain trying to think of something to post, and even considered skipping a post today. And then while I was checking my facebook I saw that Country Woman (I’m facebook friends with them), said that the month of May is national vinegar month. It wasn’t long ago that all I thought of vinegar was that it was a cooking ingredient I only used once in a blue moon, but I’ve started learning all the amazing ways you can use it. Not only can it be used in baking (Vinegar Sugar Cookies),  but also in cleaning (homemade window cleaner) or even in laundry to help get ride of smells.

So over the next couple of days I’ll be highlighting some great (and frugal) ways to use this humble, yet amazing ingredient! =)

Vinegar Sugar Cookies

Homemade Bread Crumbs

Making your own bread crumbs is a money saver in two ways:

  1. When you make your own, you don’t have to buy bread crumbs from the store.
  2. It’s a great way to use up bread instead of wasting it.

I keep a bag in the freezer of bread crumbs and am always adding to it. If I have a slice of bread that’s gotten stale, a hamburger bun that fell apart, the leftover cracker crumbs in the bottom of the bag or even on those rare occasions if I make homemade bread sometimes I’ll save the crumbs when I slice it. It’s super easy to make them. Just put the bread in a bag in the freezer, and once the bread is frozen hard take it out and finely grate it. Some people use a food processor, which is probably a lot faster, especailly if you’re making a lot. For cracker crumbs I just just crumple up the crackers in a bag with a rolling pin or mallet.

My favorite ways to use bread crumbs is for meatloaf and breading chicken fingers, but you can also use them as a pasta or casserole topper, or even in cookies! The Tightwad Gazette had a bread crumb cookie recipe, but I haven’t tried it yet.

Here’s some miscellaneous ways to be frugal this Easter. This by no means covers all the ways you could save, just a few random ideas:

  • use shredded paper or tissue paper instead of  buying Easter grass (you may be able to find some Easter grass at Goodwill for a good price)
  • buy baskets at goodwill to use as Easter baskets
  • do a family basket instead of one for everyone
  • put useful things in the baskets (like cute socks)
  • do fun, but cheap activities rather than gifts (My family has a tradition of finding those little chocolate eggs that my parents hide around the house. My husband’s family makes a treasure hunt with clues as you go.)
  • Who says everyone in the family needs a special new Easter outfit? If you can’t afford a new outfit for everyone, use one you already have and dress it up with a new hair bow, hat or tie.
  • Make gifts rather than buying. Here’s a cheap idea. Take some card stock and stamp, color or write something on it.

    Super Easy Notebook

    Cut into desired size then cut regular paper into the same size and staple together for a nice little notebook. Adults can use it to write notes and make lists, kids can use it to color in. (see photo)

  • Make vinegar sugar cookies (decorate with Easter colored sugar)
  • Remember to save any baskets, Easter grass or plastic eggs for next year.
  • Remember all Christ has done for you!! That’s 100 % free!

Want a yummy, but inexpensive cookie recipe? I got this from a Country Woman magazine. Don’t let the name fool you, you can’t

Vinegar Sugar Cookies

taste the vinegar, they actually taste really good!

I love how you can sprinkle them with colored sugar. If you want Christmas cookies, just use red and green sugar, or use pastel colors for Easter.

 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup soft butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • Colored sugar (or just regular sugar works too)

Directions

  • Cream butter and sugar until its light and fluffy. Beat in vinegar and vanilla. Combine flour and baking soda and add to wet mixture.
  • Roll into balls. Put 2 inches apart on greased baking sheets. Flatten to 1/4 inche thickness; sprinkle colored sugar on top.
  • Bake at 350° for 8-10 minutes or until the edges are very lightly brown. Cool for 1 minute before removing from sheet and cooling on wire racks.  Yield: 3-1/2 dozen. (I think I make mine big, because I never get this many cookies)
  • Eat!!

Click here to see the original recipe: http://www.tasteofhome.com/Recipes/Vinegar-Sugar-Cookies

This is another Amy Dacyczyn idea, but I tried it for the first time today.

I made some oatmeal cookies and I burnt a couple. I take partial blame, but in my defense my oven cooks very hot in the middle, and I can’t really move the cookie sheets around any (it’s a really small oven).

Anyways…I hate to waste a couple of cookies, so I tried something I read in The Complete Tightwad Gazette. I simply used a grater to scrape off the black. And as you can see in the pictures, it worked! Now I probably still wouldn’t serve a grated-off burnt cookie to company, but just for us it works! Waste not want not!

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