Monday, March 23, 2009

Green Tips For The Kitchen

The following are several tips for greener ways to cook and clean up.

  • A full freezer is an energy saving freezer, so one of the best ways to save is to buy in bulk whenever possible and fill your freezer with what can not be used immediately. This is great for buying fresh vegetable and fruit in season and freezing them. We love to go to a local farm and pick strawberries and blueberries in the spring and early summer and freeze large quantities for use during the long winter months until it is time to pick a fresh batch the next year!
  • We have also learned to practice no waste when undertaking baking by using silicone baking mats on baking tray instead of parchment or foil and we also use silicone muffin holders rather than the paper ones that always seem to stick to the muffin or cupcake.
  • Another way to save energy in the kitchen is when you are needing to boil a pot of water to put a lid on the pot to prevent the heat and therefore energy from escaping. Doing this not only saves energy but also money with the high costs for electric and or natural gas these days.
  • Another item that bears watching also with regard to pots on the stove is their size in relation to the size of the burner on which they are placed. Quite naturally large pots require more energy to heat than smaller ones, so make sure that the pot is always centered on the heating element or flame to get the most benefit from the energy expended. Whenever possible use the same pot for cooking multiple foods.
  • Another money saving tip is to avoid opening the oven while baking. As tempting as it is to open the oven door to check and look at what you are cooking the temperature of the oven can drop from 25 to 50 degrees in that period of time, so resist the urge and save energy and also money.
  • Running a dishwasher when it is totally full without pre-rinsing the dishes uses less water than hand washing them. To make the most of the energy expended run the dishwasher only when completely full and skip the heat drying cycle and air dry them.
  • Unplug and turn off electric switches and appliances when not in use. It may seem insignificant but the savings can add up. Always be sure to turn off things like lights and ceiling fans when you leave a room and are not coming back to it in the next few minutes. a Pulling out your small appliances when they are not in use is another way to save electric, as they still draw a very small amount of current even when they are turned off.

The above items are all things that we have implemented ourselves and have found that they do work and do save energy and in turn money! We hope that if you are not currently doing these things that you will try them. With all the money and time that you will be saving, it will give you plenty of time and money to spend shopping at Two Artisan Sisters.

Monday, March 9, 2009

10 Things For Which We Overpay

The following is a list of 10 items for which we overpay, making note of these things and making a few changes can drastically cut your spending and increase your savings.
1. Afternoon snacks such as energy bars cost about $2. and although they may seem to be a healthy alternative many contain as much sugar as a candy bar. The much more healthy and cost saving snack is to pack or pick up fruit such as an apple, pear, some grapes these are much healthier as they contain much less sugar and are much lower in cost.
2. Bottled water can cost $2. although staying well hydrated is important, it is much more cost effective and better for the environment to invest in a filtered water pitcher or if in your home a reverse osmosis filtered water system and you can have delicious water for just pennies a glass. You can fill a large cup or bottle at home and carry to work.
3. Caffeine Fix for the day a Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts can cost you $1.65 and up however a much more cost effective way to get your fix is to purchase your favorite gourmet coffee which can cost $8 - $13. a pound but makes at least 40 cups making the cost of each cup about 20 cents to 33 cents each.
4. Favorite tunes cost about $18 per new CD however the more cost effective way to collect your favorite tunes is to download tunes from iTunes for 99 cents or from Amazon for about 79 cents.
5. Night out to the movies can cost an average of $20 - $30 for two people with popcorn and that doesn't include babysitter costs. More cost effective is to enjoy 2 movies from Netflixs for $5 a month or for $9 a month you get unlimited viewing. Even better if you wait a little longer for new releases you can check them out for free from you local library.
6. Fresh flowers always brighten a room and your mood, however a bouquet from the florist will set you back around $25. The more cost effective alternative is to purchase a lovely seasonal fresh flower bouquet from you local grocery store which will only cost you about $5 - $10.
7. Fresh fruits and vegetables are very good for everyone but if you are stopping to pick up pre-cut or packaged fruits or vegetables to save a few minutes time you are paying dearly for convenience and may not be aware of that fact. Broccoli florets or pepper can cost $6 per pound pre-cut however the uncut versions cost about 1/3 that much or about $2. If you purchase pre-cut pre-washed lettuce in a bag is cost about $5.98 per pound but you can wash and spin dry arugual for your salad for about 1/3 that price or about $2. If you purchase whole strawberries rather than packaged sliced one you save 75% off the cost of the sliced packaged ones!
8. Credit Card Fees can mount up if you pay your bills late as the fees assessed each time can be as much as $39. The more cost effective thins to do is to set up an automatic debit to your bank account so you are never late.
9. ATM Fees can cost as much as $3.43 if you use an ATM that is out of your network and if you do it once a week those charges will amount to around $180 by the end of the year. A more cost effective solution is to choose a bank with a large network or an online account that reimburses your fees. Another alternative is to get cash back when you go to the grocery store.
10. Fax and Mail services. If you need to send a fax instead of paying $1.49 to fax one page you can sign up to send free faxes from providers like faxZero or When it comes to shipping you can mail an envelope or small package by USPS Priority Mail for $4.95 ( and the post office supplies the envelope or box) and it usually arrives in about 2 days. Larger packages cost $10.35 That will save 50% over shipping by UPS 2 day service which varies by weight and distance.

After following all of these money saving ideas you should have enough money leftover to spend on a few beautiful items from Two Artisan Sisters Studio! Using the new Artfire Rapid Cart you can purchase and checkout an item from right here in just 28 seconds with no sign up required.