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Miserly Moms > Columns > Miserly Moms

Lowering the Gas Bill, Homemade Pizza, Freezing Milk, and Homemade Cottage Cheese

Q. We just got our gas bill and I've sworn to lower it--will I save if I wash dishes by hand instead of using a (small) dishwasher machine? Kiersten, Jackson MS

A. Washing dishes by hand does not save that much money. Most dishwashers cost 7-15 cents per load. The manufacturers have improved their machines' use and reuse of the water and heat. Doing it by hand may even cost you more, depending on how you wash. If you fill two tubs or sinks with water and don't let the water run, it may save you a few cents per load. But there are better ways to lower your gas bill:

  • Turn your water heater temperature down a few degrees.
  • Turn your furnace down a few degrees.
  • Turn the furnace way down at night and use more blankets.
  • Look for leaks around doors and windows. Repair them with caulk or weather stripping.
  • Take short showers instead of baths or long showers.
Blessings, Jonni

Q. My husband and I are always ordering in pizza. Do you have any recipes for making yummy pizza at home?

A. We love our pizza, too! My husband was always wanting to order pizza, but our budget couldn't handle it. So I made our own. Here is a recipe that we use in our house:

Pizza Dough

1 cup warm water
1 pkg. dry yeast (2 1/4 tsp.)
1 tsp. sugar
3 cups white flour
2 T. oil
1 tsp. salt

In a bowl, mix the water, yeast and sugar. Mix well and let rest for 5 minutes. Add the other ingredients and mix well. Turn onto a floured surface and knead the dough. Add more flour as needed so that the dough is not sticky. Don't add too much flour or the dough will be hard and dry. Cover with a cloth and let rise. How long you let it rise will change the type of dough that you have. A short rise (30 minutes) will make a thinner crust, where as a longer rise (1-2 hours) will make a thicker and more breadlike crust.

Punch down the dough and roll out on a baking surface.

Pizza Sauce

1 6 oz can tomato paste
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder (or two fresh garlic bulb, crushed)
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon Italian seasonings (sage, thyme, rosemary)
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. sugar

Combine these and spread over the pizza. If the sauce is too thick, add one 15 ounce can of tomato sauce slowly until you get the consistency that you like.


Add any toppings that you like. Sliced pepperoni, spicy sausage, thinly sliced vegetables, or ground beef.

Bake the pizza at 450 degrees for 15 minutes, or until done.


Q. I just recently bought your book "Miserly Moms" and I love it! I'm starting to apply some tips, and so far I'm managing to save a ton of money. But my question is this. We go through milk like it was water, and it seems like I'm always running out to get more. I was wondering if it is okay to freeze milk, and if so, how long can you freeze it, and how long after you freeze it can it be used? Thanks for your help. Jamie

A. Yes, you can freeze milk. The fat will separate upon thawing, so a lot of shaking will be needed to get it to look normal. Another way to stretch the milk is to dilute it with nonfat dry milk (prepared with water). Cut the regular milk with 1/3 of this mix. Most people say the taste doesn't change much. Another tip is to have them drink water when they are thirsty, and save milk for other things. They don't need that much milk to be healthy.

Q. My husband milks a cow every day. We drink lots of milk and have cream, butter and yogurt from it. I would like to make cottage cheese from it without having to buy any additives. Is there a way? I hate to buy cottage cheese when I have the basic ingredient. Thanks, Darcy

A. You sure can! Cottage cheese curds are best made from skim milk. One gallon of skim milk makes about one pound of cottage cheese. You need some rennet (many stores will carry it), a stainless steel or glass pot (not aluminum), a candy thermometer, and a colander. These help separate the curd from the whey. For complete instructions, visit PageWise. If your store does not carry rennet, you can order it from the New England Cheesemaking Supply Company.

Jonni McCoy is the author of "Miserly Moms-Living On One Income In A Two Income Economy" and "Frugal Families-Making The Most Of Your Hard Earned Money!"

Visit the Miserly Moms Website at

Our sincere thanks to Jonni for allowing us to reprint her wonderful work!

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