Friday, November 30, 2012

Pie Crust

My husband decided that he was going to make me a pie and start by making a homemade pie crust!!  What a treat (and super frugal).  I thought that I was going to be able to help but with all the holiday preparations, I was working on the stuffing while he was working on his pie crust.  I was hoping to make one of the recipes that I found on the web but my husband loves this Betty Crocker cookbook that I got when I opened up my bank account in college!!  I don't think that it was the best pie crust ever but it was decent and the most thoughtful gift that my husband has made me.

He started by mixing all the dry ingredients in the bowl and adding shortening.

Add water to the dough, 1 tbsp at a time.  When it is all moisted, roll into a ball.

Put the ball on a lightly floured surface to roll out to about a 12 inch circle.

He fitted the pie crust into the pie plate.  Then, he folded the edges under to make it a pretty crust. 

He asked my mom to crimp the edges which she did with a fork.  The pie crust for our recipe needed to be cooked a little first so they made holes in the edges and bottom for baking.  After finishing the work, my husband covered the crust with foil and put it into the oven to bake.

Pie Crust
(based on Betty Crocker recipe)

1 1/4 c flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 c shortening
3 to 4 tbsp cold water

1.  In mixing bowl, stir together flour and salt.  Cut in shortening until pieces are the size of small peas.

2.  Sprinkle 1 tbsp of water over part of the mixture; gently toss with a fork.  Push to the side of bowl.  Repeat until all is moistened.  Form dough into ball.

3.  On a lightly floured surface, flatten dough with hands.  Roll dough from the center to the edges, forming a circle about 12 inches in diameter.  Wrap around rolling pin.  Unroll onto 9 inch pie plate.  Be careful not to stretch pastry.

4.  Trim or fold under crust.  Make fluted or scalloped edge.

November Month End Budget Update

Each month my budget is $160 for all groceries including food, drinks, toiletries and non prescription medicine for my family (including two adults and one toddler). I work to stretch my families budget to save money and get lots of great items at super low prices.  I post on this blog the items that I bought and the best sales to help you stretch your family’s grocery budget, as well!  I have found that my family is getting nicer things I hope that this helps everyone be a little bit more frugal and stock up on great things for their families.

With Harris Teeter having Super Doubles to start the month (okay and end October but one day doesn't really count).  Over the first half of the month, I had 12 trips to Harris Teeter, one to Giant, and one to CVS.  I was able to get two turkeys and tons of other groceries just a few dollars shy of my $160 budget.

Sadly, I did peak a little early in the month and not leaving a lot of other deals that came up during the month like Black Friday!!!  I guess I have a little wiggle room since some of Black Friday isn't really part of the grocery budget since it will end up being gifts but it is so hard to figure out places like CVS and what counts and what doesn't so I always count it all. 

I went on Monday (the day after the sale started) after I dropped my little one at school so I could concentrate on trying to get some deals.  They were sadly out of lots of the deals which made me really sad but I grabbed a few bargains and then did the dreaded CVS sale, rushed through check out because I had to get back to my little ones school performance.  I did it in just a few check outs instead of spending the least OOP possible so my total OOP was $9.34.  It isn't terribly bad but I am so out of practice at the CVS game and I don't think that my head was in it.  This put me $6.53 over budget but I have a bunch of CVS money left to spend so I will take my change jar back and get a few remaining deals at some other CVSs if they get more product in.  Even though I didn't get the things that I really wanted, I did save almost $30.

Then, I went back to CVS for the Thanksgiving/Black Friday deals.  There weren't many and I already had a ton of CVS money so I ended up spending $4.97 on all the stuff that I got.  I saved about $68 with all the great deals even though they weren't really important to get but I already had the ECBs to spend.  Plus, I used my husband's change container to pay for everything since I was already past my budget for the month :)

So sorry that I didn't post the CVS trips with all the computer trouble but they weren't super impressive.  I was over $11.50 but a saved a ton and got two turkeys so I will consider that I made it out pretty well considering the holidays and busy schedule.  Hoping for a better total next month!!

Total OOP $171.50
Total Savings $720.15

Total Value $891.65
Total Percentage Savings 81%

Year End Totals for 11 months

Total Spent YTD $1580.68
Monthly Average $143.70

This leaves me plenty of room in the budget to finish out the year.  I also have a $75 Walmart gift card, $10 Giant Gift Card, and a $10 Giant credit which I am going to work on this month to keep the budget super low!!  I also have some CVS money that will help stretch out the household things that we need but I am not sure how much I have left (between $15-20).  Hope that your year is shaping up well and I look forward to hearing about it!!!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Thrifty Thursday: Sausage Stuffing From Leftover Bread

I decided to make stuffing from my frozen bread supply which I thought would be super frugal and easy.  I had a few bags of bread that were in the freezer from the ends of the loafs of bread that we hadn't eaten.  It seemed like the perfect opportunity to try to make some yummy stuffing to go with our Thanksgiving dinner.  I had a back up of stove top in the cupboard just in case it didn't turn out well.

I started by cutting up the bread in strips and then cubes.  I put the cubes in a bowl to dry out a litle overnight.  At least I had one step done the night before but it was getting late so I decided to go to bed instead of making the stuffing to refrigerate we always seem to have limited room when the holidays come with a million things shoved in the fridge!  Do you have that problem at your house?

The next morning, I cut up onion and celery.  I tried to make it as small as possible but I am not great and cutting so small so I went back and chopped a little over the stuff that I already cut just in case.

Then, I melted some butter in a pan and added the celery and onions to it.  I added some ground sage and thyme and let it simmer until everything was softened.  Then, I added the cooked sausage that I had in the fridge.  I normally get sausage and cook it and freeze it to use on pizza and in other dishes but I got a great deal on the Jimmy Dean precooked sausage so I used that instead since I had a little left in the fridge.

After the veggies were cooked and sausage was heated, I poured them into the big bowl and stirred.  Most of the recipes called for adding the bread to the mixture but it seemed really difficult to make sure the pan was big enough and I already knew that the bowl was because it was holding all of the bread.

I took the mixture and put it in a 9 x 13 pan.  I covered the big container in the fridge and waited for dinner time to before it was time to put in the oven. 

When it came out, we put it on the table and dug in... I sort of forgot to take the picture since it looked so yummy.  Here is what was left when we were done (or about mid-way through dinner).

This was the best stuffing that I have ever had!!  I know that I might be partial because I made it but I am usually not a stuffing person and would rather have a second helping of mashed potatoes but this year, I took three helpings of stuffing instead of even a second on my mashed potatoes!!  I highly recommend you trying it out at least once and see if you think that it it worth the effort because I thought it was.

It is also the most frugal recipe to feed a whole family.  The only cost is the onion and celery which can be bought in bulk if using for other recipes (and optional sausage).  It cost me less than $2 to make it all with more ingredients leftover to use for other recipes.  This is a super frugal and great idea to keep in mind for any family dinner when you have the leftover bread built up in your freezer as well as for family holidays.

I am going to see if I can make a few pans of this next time and freeze some to have during the month.  I can't wait to have extra bread in the freezer.  Of course, I will be saving all we have for Christmas dinner first and then I hope to get lots of extra to make some after that :)  Check out the recipe below which is a mix of a bunch of different ideas from the internet with made up steps and ingredients of my own :)  I hope that you try this sometime soon and let me know what you think!!

Stuffing from Bread


1 lb. leftover frozen bread, cubed
¾ c butter or margarine
1 onion, chopped
4 stalks celery, chopped
1 tsp ground sage
1/2 tsp thyme
Cooked sausage (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 c chicken broth (I used homemade that had garlic and thyme already in it)
1.  Cut bread into cubes and leave out to dry overnight (or for a few hours).

2.  Dice celery and onion.

3. In a saucepan, melt butter or margarine over medium heat. Add onion and celery. Season with sage, thyme, salt, and pepper. Add cooked sausage.

4.  Stir veggie mix into bread cubes until evenly coated. Moisten with chicken broth; mix well.

5.  Bake in a 9x13 casserole dish at 350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes. 

Please note: Replace spices with 2 tsp poultry seasoning but I didn't have any so I used what I had on hand.

Can be refrigerated and made ahead of time for a big family dinner.

Can chill and use as a stuffing for turkey instead of cooking outside the bird.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Fried Chicken from a whole chicken

I have to find more creative recipes for my freezer full of whole chickens.  There are only so many times that you can have a roasted chicken even with different flavors.  I know because I have reached my limit :)  I decided to cut the whole chicken up and made fried chicken. 

Check out my horrible cutting job.  At least it was done!!  I pulled the bones out of the thighs in the process because I was having a lot of trouble with dividing the thighs from the drumsticks.  Luckily, it ended up being better because it was super easy to eat without the bones :)  My husband actually liked them better.  I love learning from my mistakes especially when they turn out great!

Then, I mixed up the House Autry Chicken Fry mix.  Have you ever tried this product??  I got one bag and tried it (with a sale and coupon) and I loved it.  The next time that there was a deal, I picked up a ton of bags to try again.  This is the first time that I have gotten it back on the menu because I didn't think about cutting up the whole chicken again.  Sometimes I get things stuck in my head and forget to be creative but I was trying to work with the things that I had so it was a good idea!!

It mixes with water to make a coating for the chicken.  Not really impressive huh?  It just looks like a tan mixture.  The first step is to dip the chicken into the wet mixture and then coat with the dry mixture.  My husband helped me so that I can take pictures and be in charge of frying so he did the messy work of coating the chicken. After the messy coating process, the chicken goes directly into the hot oil in a skillet (or deep fat fryer) to cook.

 We take it out and put it on a cookie sheet with cooling rack sitting inside it recommended on America's Test Kitchen (my favorite PBS show).  Then, we put the fried chicken into the oven to make sure that it is baked all the way through.  Doesn't it look nice???

The finished product is a yummy and very crispy chicken which doesn't have to be soaked for 24 hours in buttermilk or brined.  It is super easy and very quick fried chicken that you can do on a weeknight without a lot of cost or planning (especially if you aren't defrosting a whole chicken). 

I hope that you enjoy this frugal tip to make your own fried chicken at home!!  It is easy to use with boneless chicken breasts or tenders so if you aren't interested in whole chickens, I highly recommend that you try it with boneless chicken.

Month End Coupon Printing

It is already that time again- the end of the month and Halloween is only a day away!!  Can you believe that we are already starting fall and cooler weather is coming (or already here depending on what part of the country you live in)...  Time to total those receipts and make sure you clean out your coupons to make room for the new ones.

Check the following sites:
Make sure you don't miss a coupon!!  Keep this list for next month too because the new coupons are normally loaded at the beginning of the month so it is a great time to go back and check.  Please let me know if there are any other coupon websites that you like to visit and I will gladly add them to the list.  Hope you all had a wonderful month and I look forward to hearing all about it!!!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Discipline Without Shouting or Spanking Book Review

Discipline without Shouting or Spanking: Practical Solutions to the Most Common Preschool Behavior Problems by Jerry L. Wyckoff and Barbara C. Unell  is a book that I reserved at the library and it just came in.  Super lucky that it was really short at under 150 pages so that I could get through it a little faster than my last book!

I went online to get the link to the book for sale at Amazon and the book is for sale for $9 but the Kindle version is currently free!!  Don't have a Kindle, don't worry!!  Send it to ipads, computers, or other devices so that you can read through all the great ideas.  Here is hoping that if your library doesn't have it that you have a backup plan through Amazon to read it for free and you have it for a reference for the coming months!!

The great part of this book is that it is laid out in a really logical manner.  If you want to find out what to do if your child won't eat, flip to the page about it and it gives you a list of ideas to prevent the problem, solve the problem and What Not to Do.  Then after all of the constructive advice, there is a story about a family and how they changed the way they dealt with the issue and how the child improved.  It is sort of Nanny 911 on paper.  Do you see yourself saying these things to you kids like if you don't eat, then you can't sit at the table or if you don't eat, then you can't get up from the table.  Neither solves the problem of the child not eating and there are constructive steps (similar to what we use) about talking about the day and then the child "accidentally" takes a bite of food.  Most of my son's food intact at dinner is more accidentally then intentional.  Of course, this doesn't help me on why my child won't eat fruits and veggies but there are still other chapters so I am holding out hope.

I think that the fast read nature of the book and the helpful hints make it a good choice for every parent to read.  I hope that it will cut down on the disagreements with my toddler because there is nothing more exhausting then trying to carry on a discussion that has broken down to no, yes, no, yes with a three year old!!!  I hope that you check the book at your local library or bookstore (or through the wonderful FREE Amazon Kindle version).  Let me know what you think!!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Menu Plan Monday 11/26

Monday- Breakast for dinner or Leftovers
Tuesday- Olive Oil Pasta with garlic bread
Wednesdy- Homemade Pizza
Thursday- Whole Chicken
Friday- Sausage Penne
Saturday- Soup and Sandwiches/???
Sunday- Leftovers/???

I was just trying to get through the holidays and I didn't even look towards December yet (which is really unlike me).  I have to go through the freezer and pantry and see what we are going to add to the menu plan for December and since it starts this weekend, I don't really have a plan.  Here is hoping for a great start to the new month for everyone!!

Weekly Goals 11/25 (ish)

Planning with my parents in town is like throwing leaves against the wind and not expecting them to hit you in the face!  I don't know what I got done this week except that we moved forward on finishing the baseboard molding (my husband's project) with the help of my father's staining expertise.  My husband also fixed my fine mesh strainer which needed to have a little bit pushed back together.  Other than that, we went shopping and shopping and shopping with a side of eating :)  Plus we have been hit by the sickness again!  My husband and son had it bad over the holidays and I am getting it now.  I would like to get through the winter without catching everything so please let me know when the kids stop bringing the germs home with them because I don't think that I can take it again this winter!!!

Last Week:

Family Goals
  • Spend time with my family and enjoy Thanksgiving- Done.  We had a great meal and lots of Black Friday fun!
  • Enjoy rest of family vacation in PA visiting Thomas the Train- Done
  • Get to Preschool on time- Done (only on Monday since there was a holiday the rest of the week)
Personal Goals
  • Cut coupons- Ummm, NOPE! 
  • Get coupons at library on Friday (not sure if there are coupons this week)- We were at Safeway on Wednesday looking for the paper with the ads and the Washington Post was empty but they had the local paper already and it was the one with the P&G coupon insert so I grabbed a bunch and headed with those to the car.
  • Shut off computer 6 nights to save energy- Don't know how often the computer was off but it was off at nights and on some nights because we were up all night Thanksgiving night with only a short nap between shopping trips.  Then, we stayed up until 1 or 2 am almost every night so it was starting to be hard to tell when day ended and night was happening.
  • Read books- I finished the other book and posted the review.  I am now working on Frozen Heat which came in at the library and hope to have it finished soon.
Home Management Goals
  • Clean dishes, counters and floors at least 5 days of the week- We cleaned the counters and the floors (as well as the dishes) so many times that I lost count but the kitchen was always a mess.
  • Clean dishes one night and not wait until the morning- We cleaned the dishes morning, noon and night and there were always more dishes coming.  I was running the dishwasher twice a day and everyone was chipping in with the dishes but it was maybe two or three times that the kitchen was totally clean and it was only for a few minutes so I gave up :)
Blog Goals
  • Post one post everyday- I didn't get up this post on Sunday but I had one every other day and now I am doing two on Monday so hopefully it counts for something.
  • Make a new recipe and post (homemade brownies coming soon)- Posted brownies and ran into blogging issues when I tried to put up the fried chicken so hoping to deal with that this week and get back on schedule.
  • Schedule at least 7 posts so that can spend more time with family- I have almost nothing scheduled now since I have been off of blogging since family came into town on
  • Review book reviews completed during the week- Book review completed and up soon
  • Work on a few posts to work ahead for the coming week- I did nothing when the computer started giving me errors because I had too many things to overcome so I am going to try this week to get better organized.
  • Post Weekly Goals, Menu Plan Monday, and Thrifty Thursday Tip- Done
This Week:

Family Goals
  • Spend time with my family
  • Kid Science learning about machines
  • Storytime about Night Noises
  • Playdate with a friend at the house
  • Get to Preschool on time
Personal Goals
  • Cut coupons
  • Get coupons at library on Friday
  • Shut off computer 6 nights to save energy
  • Finish Frozen Heat by Richard Castle
Home Management Goals
  • Clean dishes, counters and floors at least 5 days of the week
  • Clean dishes one night and not wait until the morning
Blog Goals
  • Post one post everyday
  • Fix picture loading issue
  • Make a new recipe and post
  • Schedule at least 7 posts so that can spend more time with family
  • Review book reviews completed during the week
  • Work on a few posts to work ahead for the coming week
  • Post Weekly Goals, Menu Plan Monday, and Thrifty Thursday Tip

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Hannah's Art of Home Book Review

Hannah's Art of Home: Managing Your Home Around Your Personality (Capital Lifestyles) by Hannah J. Keeley was something on my reserved list at the library which appeared at the library after the power outage made me forget to change the dates on the books on my reserve list.  Even at 321 pages, it was a great read (even if a little slow going based on my schedule not the book itself). 

The book was broken into 6 parts with two or three chapters under each section.  Here is the list from the table of contents:

Part 1:  Your Home, Your Personality
Part 2: De-Clutter
Part 3: Organize It!
Part 4: Clean It!
Part 5: Decorate It!
Part 6: Live It!

The best part of the book is that it starts out by identifying four different personalities with a quick (25 question) test on page 21 (which I took using count on my fingers since I didn't have any paper at hand).  It breaks people into Masterminds, Creative Spirit, Mother Hen and Starry-Eyed Dreamer.  Each chapter ends with a step that each personality type can use in order to accomplish all of the things discussed in the chapter.  The great thing is that it is specially directed at the way that each personality works.

The hesitation that I have that this book is for everyone is that the author has lots of kids and big family so the book is for families and people dealing with children when dealing with the de-cluttering, organizing, cleaning, decorating, and living.  I think that these are very applicable to my life but not to everyone and it really isn't in the title or description of the book.  In addition, there is also a lot of mention of God (not referencing any particular religion) and if this is not something that you personally believe in, this might not be the book for you.

I hope that you pick up this book at your local library or bookstore and see if it is helpful for you!  I hope that you find it as interesting as I did to guide you in the direction of de-cluttering and organizing your family and home.  Now, I am ready to go to clean out my game closet :)  I hope that you get motivated by this book to keep making progress!!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Rich Brownies from scratch

For many years, my mother has told me that no one liked her homemade brownies any better than the box kind so she just stopped making them.  She told me it wasn't worth the effort if people weren't going to appreciate them.  Therefore, I always made boxed brownies.  See how it is that we follow in our mothers footsteps whether we want to or not (or are even aware of it).  In my list of recipes that I wanted to try, I added homemade brownies in my quest to use less boxed products and because I was out of all of the boxes that I had.

I finally got around to making some and it was super easy!!  I found a blog that made plain brownies with cocca powder and had a link to her inspiration so I went to the original recipe and decided to try it since I had the unsweetened baker's chocolate.  I pulled out all the ingredients and got ready and I had a brand new box of baker's chocolate so why not try that first.

I started by chopping the Baker's chocolate which was a little messy but not too hard because it mostly just broke apart.

Then, I put the butter and chopped chocolate in a microwave safe bowl.  I was going to use a smaller measuing cup but then I thought about scrapping out the chocolatey goodness and I decided to only dirty one bowl.

Melted by microwaving for short bursts per the recipe and stirring in between to get a liquid where you can see the reflection of my cabinets.

Then I added the sugar which mixed right into the liquid goodness!

Stirring in all of the ingredients including eggs, flour, salt and vanilla and you get a very brownie like substance with bubbles and everything.  It looked like the box mix to me.

I normally make a 9 x 13 pan but this recipe called for a little smaller pan since there was less batter.  I put it in an 8 x 8 pan.  It was a little harder to spread than the box mix.

I baked the brownies and since the directions said to undercook and not overcook.  I took them out after 25 minutes, when the recipe called for, which was seconds before I had to leave to pick up my little man at school.

I grabbed my brownie to take on the road and packed some to bribe my son to eat his lunch while we were doing errands in the car.  I know, I know!!  Not the way to deal with kids but I was having a busy day so I wanted to make sure he ate and it seemed like the easiest way to get it done.  This one might have been eaten before I made it to the door.

See all the missing brownies from the pan :)  They were super chocolatey and gooey.  I like them to be a little chewier so I would like to try another recipe or this one again but they were super good.  Can I tell you the funniest part of the story?  I brought some with me to give to my mother when we met up with her.  I offered her one which she promptly devored and said it was great!!  She ate the other one later on in the evening and my little man saw her finishing it and asked for one.... umm, grandma ate all of the brownies!!!  There was a little anger but it was quickly resolved with hugs and kisses (and a little distraction).

Here is the recipe in case you want to try them out for yourself.  I highly recommend it!!!  I promise you won't be disappointed...not even my mother was :)


8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, plus a little more for greasing the pan
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, roughly chopped
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
Pinch salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, optional
1. Heat the oven to 350°F. Grease a square baking pan with butter or line it by overlapping 2 pieces of parchment paper or aluminum foil crosswise and grease the lining.
2. Combine the stick of butter and the chocolate in a small saucepan over very low heat, stirring occasionally. (Or microwave them in a large microwave-safe bowl on medium for 10-second intervals, stirring after each.) When the chocolate is just about melted, remove the saucepan from the heat (or bowl from the microwave) and continue to stir until the mixture is smooth.
3. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl (or use the bowl you put in the microwave) and stir in the sugar. Then beat in the eggs, one at a time. Gently stir in the flour, salt, and the vanilla if you’re using it.
4. Pour and scrape the mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until just barely set in the middle. Cool on a rack until set. If you used parchment, lift it out to remove the brownies. If not, cut them in squares right in the pan. Store, covered, at room temperature, for no more than a day.

Happy Black Friday!!

Can you believe that it is already Black Friday time again?  I can't!!!  Let the shopping begin!!!

Where are you going to shop?  Have you seen any great deals that need to be shared?? 

Can't wait to get out and see what deals need to be discovered while working off the turkey dinner :)

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

From my family to yours, we hope that you and your family have a great holiday and enjoy each others company!!!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Umm.. Houston we have a problem!!

So I was quickly trying to put up my brownie recipe and my fried chicken last night and I got an error.  Knowing that I was not the computer expert, I kept writting and then handed the computer to my husband with the error to fix.  He didn't know what to do.... ummm, what??  How am I supposed to figure it out if he can't!!!???!!!

Are you ready for it?  Google has a limit on the amount of pictures that I can put in my blog and when I upload a new one, it saves it and I have reached my limit!!  It has only been a year.  How is this possible since I am only at 1% of my gmail account.  UGH!  To upgrade, it cost $2.49 per month.  Well, that won't be happening since I don't make any money on my blog so I can't just spend money without any income.  So for the short future while trouble shooting this problem, we are going to have to go picture free! 
Hoping to tackle this problem after the family leaves after the holiday and get me back up and running but you will see the posts that I have previously scheduled to go up.

Easy Homemade Doughnuts

I don't know about you but I love doughnuts!!!  My husband (then boyfriend) would go out on either Saturday or Sunday to the grocery store to get us fresh doughnuts- just two or three so we didn't go to crazy eating them all.  Please don't get me started on the first time I was introduced to Krispy Kreme!!  Like heaven with the melt in your mouth goodness.  My friend, Nancy, and I sat in the car with our dozen hot doughnuts and we pretended that they wouldn't be all gone but they went quickly.

I really like sweets but doughnuts were also something that I used to get with my dad on Sunday mornings after church.  My dad and I were the early risers and that was the special time that I got to spend with my dad, just the two of us.  We would finish up at church and he would take me to pick out a dozen doughnuts (not just for me but to share with my mom and brother too).  It was a great honor to be able to pick out the whole dozen myself even if I did have to share it :)

So when I saw a recipe to make simple and more homemade doughnuts, I decided to jump on the opportunity.  I made these for the first time right before our trip to Myrtle Beach and then I realized that they would be the perfect treat to share with the family at the house that where we were staying.  This was almost two years ago now and I have made it many times since then but it has been a long time since I have made it.  I have been wanting these doughnuts for many months but unwilling to pay the huge cost for the dough... and still looking for a good recipe to make them from scratch...soon coming to a kitchen near you.

These are super easy to do on a busy weekend when you still want a home cooked and yummy breakfast.  I got these yummy new rolls at the store for $0.50 per roll so the whole breakfast cost me a little over $0.50 for 8 doughnuts and doughnut holes. 

Open the biscuits and lay them out on the cutting board.  I suggest using the heel of your hand to flatten the biscuit a little.  Then, cut the middle of the doughnut out with a cutter.  If you don't have the multi-sized biscuit cutter, you can use the top to a Gatorade container or anything about that size that you can twist into the dough.  I find that the normal soda top is a little too small but it will also do the job.

It makes a neat little doughnut shape which is ready to cook!  If the center isn't cut big enough, the doughnut won't cook through to the center and you will have gooey and not so tasty doughnut.

Heat the oil in a skillet.  I usually do it high and then lower it to lower heat to cook the doughnuts.  Add the doughnuts to the pan and make sure you leave enough room in between that they don't get stuck and so that have enough room to brown.

Flip when the doughnut browns and puffs up.  You can see if around the edges and the oil stops bubbling as much when the side is cooked.  There is a lot of wiggle room on how light or dark they are so do it to your taste.  I am fearful that they are going to be uncooked so I often cook them a little too long but they still taste great.

Take the first batch out of the skillet and drain on paper towels.  Don't they already look like doughnuts??

Certainly good enough to eat if you like a plain doughnut but we love cinnamon in this house so I mixed powdered sugar with cinnamon in a container.  If you aren't into cinnamon, feel free to use just powdered sugar.  You can also look on the internet to find glazes but we have never made it any farther than the powered sugars because they are so super yummy.  Put into a shallow bowl deep enough to coat the edges of the doughnut.

Move the doughnut around in the powdered sugar mixture and when it is done, flip and repeat.  Don't forget the outside and the middle.  If you have any trouble with a second, toss a little sugar over it and it should stick.

Don't forget the little centers.  After you cook your first two batches, cook the doughnut centers.  Don't forget the yummy sugar on the outside of these ones too!

These are super yummy and tend to walk off my plate as soon as I get them done!  Although I did sneak one while I was still cooking.  Yum!!! 

I highly recommend trying these for you and your family sometime soon.  This brand of buttermilk biscuits were really good because they weren't super greasy but you can do it with any store bought biscuits.  The flaky or layered biscuits still work but it sometimes hard because they rise in different directions and make a mess. 

I hope that you enjoy a homemade doughnut soon!!

Kellogg's Family Rewards Points

I signed up for the Kellogg's Family Rewards program without really knowing what it was going to do and I found a few free codes which I added.  I found this list below to add more to my account.  I am super excited to say that I have tons of points and I haven't even added my first box of cereal yet.  I am even more excited because I did get a box of specially marked cereal!!!  I am soon going to have even more points.  I hope that you try to add some points to your account before they expire.  If you don't have an account, sign up now!!!

Other Codes to Try:

TAKECAREOFYOU20P - 20 points
eresunganadorhoy – 50 Pts
foodnetmag50pnts – 50 pts
goodhousemag50pt - 50 pts
redbookKFR50pnts - 50 pts
HOWITWORKS20PNTS – 20 points
KELLOGGSMEDAL20P – 20 points
KFRFIBERPLUSPOLL – 10 points (exp 12/31)
HALLOWEENPARTY25 - 25 points
MYFAVCHARACTER50 - 50 points

I am going to get some cereal and Cheese-It coupons with my new found point wealth :)  Hope you get some great things too!!!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Amish Apple Butter Cinnamon Bread

I hope that you try it too!!  If you don't have apple butter sitting in your fridge, feel free to try a little but of applesauce or other fruit preserves.  I know that all additions will still keep this bread yummy!!

Amish Friendship Bread

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Servings: 16
Yield: 2 loaves

1 cup Amish Friendship Bread Starter
3 eggs
1 cup oil
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup apple butter
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups flour
1-2 small boxes instant pudding (any flavor)
1 cup nuts, chopped (optional)
1 cup raisins (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 325° F (165° C).
  2. In a large mixing bowl, add ingredients as listed.
  3. Grease two large loaf pans.
  4. Dust the greased pans with a mixture of 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon.
  5. Pour the batter evenly into loaf or cake pans and sprinkle the remaining sugar-cinnamon mixture on the top.
  6. Bake for one hour or until the bread loosens evenly from the sides and a toothpick inserted in the center of the bread comes out clean.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Amish Friendship Bread: Citrus Muffins

I was looking for something a little bit different and I found these fun muffins.  They have jelly/jam mixed into the batter to give them some more flavor and moisture.  I didn't get a chance to make these but my mom did and she said that they were fabulous!!  I hope that you get a chance to try them too :)

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 30
Yield: 30 muffins

1 cup Amish Friendship Bread Starter
3 eggs
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups flour
1 large box instant vanilla pudding
1 cup walnuts, chopped
1 cup peach or orange marmalade jam

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F (175° C).
  2. In a large bowl,  add first six ingredients and mix well.
  3. Stir in nuts and jam.
  4. Use cupcake liners, spray muffin tin with oil or butter.
  5. Pour batter evenly into muffin tins.
  6. Bake 25 minutes until toothpick inserted in the center of the muffins comes out clean.

Menu Plan Monday 11/19

Monday- Olive Oil Pasta
Tuesday- Pizza with fries
Wednesday- Tacos with Mexican rice and corn bread
Thursday- Thanksgiving Dinner/leftovers
Friday- leftovers/ Grilled Pork Loin
Saturday- Kielbasa and hash browns/Whole Chickens with mac and cheese
Sunday- Turkey and Rice Soup/Spaghetti and meatballs

With company coming into town this week and a really full freezer (with not a lot of protein left), I am working with what I have to to get meals that work with our schedule.  I had over 11 whole chickens so I was working through those with at least one chicken meal a week which has made room for the turkeys in the freezer.  This week's whole chicken meal is going to be our second Thanksgiving dinner.  I am sure that I will clear out enough of the freezer to defrost it eventually (maybe not since I am planning on having a second turkey for Christmas)!!  I was surprised that I got through this much of this month with what we had in the freezer because I really thought that I was out last month but I am working with what I have for as long as I can.  Crossing my finger for one more week!!!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Amish Friendship Bread: Chocolate Chip Cookies

I have wanted to find a new chocolate chip recipe for awhile so I thought that this would be a great addition to try these new cookies with the Amish starter.  I made so much gingerbread and cinnamon bread that I didn't get to try these.  I am taking an Amish starter break with some left in the freezer for when I wanted to start up again but I recommended these to my friend Christel and she said that it did make a ton of cookies but they were sort of flat and didn't puff up too much.  I wanted to post in case others wanted to try even though I didn't have a picture. 
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Servings:  100
Yield: 100 cookies

1 cup Amish Friendship Bread Starter
1 cup butter
1 cup shortening
2 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 eggs
2 teaspoons baking soda
5 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
16 ounce bag chocolate chips

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F (176° C).
  2. Cream butter, shortening and sugars.
  3. Stir in rest of ingredients.
  4. Drop tablespoon size dough onto ungreased baking sheet.
  5. Bake 12 to 14 minutes.

Blueberry Amish Bread with Lemon Glaze

My mom tried this one and said it was the best ever so I wanted to post the recipe in case any friends wanted to try it!!  I asked her to take a picture but she laughed....cameras are not her friends :)  I hope that you try it and let me know if it becomes a family favorite soon too :) 

Blueberry Walnut Amish Friendship Bread with Lemon Glaze

Recipe at a Glance
  • omit cinnamon
  • add 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • add 1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup Amish Friendship Bread Starter
3 eggs
1 cup oil
1/2 cup milk
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups flour
1-2 small boxes vanilla instant pudding
1 cup fresh blueberries, rinsed and drained
1 cup chopped walnuts
Lemon Glaze

  1. Preheat oven to 325° F (165° C).
  2. In a large mixing bowl, add ingredients as listed.
  3. Grease two large loaf pans.
  4. Dust the greased pans with sugar.
  5. Pour the batter evenly into loaf or cake pans.
  6. Bake for one hour or until the bread loosens evenly from the sides and a toothpick inserted in the center of the bread comes out clean.
  7. ENJOY!
Kitchen Notes

If you’re not able to find fresh blueberries, you can substitute with frozen blueberries, defrosted and drained. For lemon lovers, use lemon pudding instead of vanilla for an extra sweet-sour tang.

Weekly Goals 11/18

What a busy week!!  I can't believe that we are this close to the holidays and the end of the month already!!!

This Week:

Family Goals
  • Spend time with my family- We had a busy week together and then the fun family time stuck in the car for a few hours :)
  • Enjoy family vacation in PA visiting Thomas the Train- We are leaving on Friday so I am scheduling this post ahead of time to make sure that it posts while we are away just in case I don't have internet or time :)  We are looking forward to a great trip.
  • Get to Preschool on time- We got to school on time without too much fighting
  • Playdate with friends at their house- My little man had a grand time visiting his friends new house and wanted to make sure that he got a chance to play in every room in their big new house.  It was fun although Dylan seemed to get exhausted and overtired quickly.
  • Storytime at the library- We had a wonderful storytime at the library and got to make turkeys, a farm with a fence to hold our turkeys, coloring a turkey and a fly pie (from one of the books we read).  The great part is that we got to listen to stories, sing songs, decorate a turkey with feathers and do all kinds of crafts.  Keeping the kids entertained is always a lot to undertake!!  It was great and the librarian did wonderfully!
Personal Goals
  • Cut coupons- Yeah me!! I got my coupons cut on Sunday.
  • Get coupons at library on Friday- Crossing my fingers and we are going to go to the library before we leave today but I am hopeful but not optimistic because it has been Saturday for the last few weeks before the papers turn up.  I will have to try to gather them from other libraries next week when we get back.  I guess I know what I am doing with my break on Monday.
  • Shut off computer 6 nights to save energy- Somehow this has been hard but with two nights that I didn't shut off the computer, I made up by shutting it off for most of the day and every time we left the house.  Hoping for a better week next week :)
  • Read books- Did a lot of reading and not a lot of finishing books.  Hoping to finish two books over the trip since I will be staying in the same room with my little man and that means that we won't be able to watch TV or do much after he goes to bed :(  Lots of reading will be accomplished.
Home Management Goals
  • Clean dishes, counters and floors at least 5 days of the week- I kept things clean for the week while we were home and tried to clean up as we were leaving.  We certainly did keep a lot of things in the kitchen until the last possible minute with lunch and dishes being done until we were walking out the door!!
  • Clean dishes one night and not wait until the morning- I did the dishes on Sunday and Monday (I think) and kept things mostly cleaned for the rest of the week.  There wasn't any morning that there was a pile of dishes, usually just something soaking that needed to be cleaned.
Blog Goals
  • Post one post everyday- Done
  • Make a new recipe and post- All new recipes are posted and this is a short week and new recipe for Homemade Shake n Bake posted.
  • Schedule at least 7 posts so that can spend more time with family- Done
  • Review book reviews completed during the week- Still reading the same books but making progress :)
  • Work on a few posts to work ahead for the coming week- Done
  • Post Weekly Goals, Menu Plan Monday, and Thrifty Thursday Tip- Done
This Week:

Family Goals
  • Spend time with my family and enjoy Thanksgiving
  • Enjoy rest of family vacation in PA visiting Thomas the Train
  • Get to Preschool on time
Personal Goals
  • Cut coupons
  • Get coupons at library on Friday (not sure if there are coupons this week)??
  • Shut off computer 6 nights to save energy
  • Read books
Home Management Goals
  • Clean dishes, counters and floors at least 5 days of the week
  • Clean dishes one night and not wait until the morning
Blog Goals
  • Post one post everyday
  • Make a new recipe and post (homemade brownies coming soon)
  • Schedule at least 7 posts so that can spend more time with family
  • Review book reviews completed during the week
  • Work on a few posts to work ahead for the coming week
  • Post Weekly Goals, Menu Plan Monday, and Thrifty Thursday Tip

    Saturday, November 17, 2012

    Homemade Shake n Bake Recipe

    In my attempts to save money and use more natural ingredients, it has been on my list for a long time to try a homemade shake n bake mix recipe but it always got moved back on the priorities.  Now we are really out of the store bought version so we are going to try one recipe at a time! 

    The first thing that I did was pull out my Miserly Meals cookbook (no longer available in print but I bought mine used at the library book sale for $1.25).  There was a recipe but I had to flip back and forth to the previous page because it wants you to make seasoned breadcrumbs first and then make the shake n bake coating.  I pulled out the necessary ingredients to see what I had... everything but parsley.

    I searched on the internet and found a recipe that used corn flakes but since I was looking to make it with bread crumbs, that idea will have to move down on the list because I don't have any corn flakes currently in the cupboard. 

    I found this recipe which looked promising.  But it was stored in the fridge and not the cupboard so I wanted to get one like the original that was stored on the shelf (since I only have so much room left in the fridge right now with the holidays right around the corner). 

    Then, I found this website with two different recipes.  The first recipe was using corn flake crumbs again so I skipped over it.  The second one was interesting because it had flour and some other spices added including celery salt.  I pulled that out of the cupboard and continued the search.

    I found this blog with a neat recipe (sadly, still using corn flake crumbs) but it added beef bouillon.  Humm, I have that in the cupboard.  If I mix too many recipes, will this be weird??  How will beef bouillon taste with chicken and pork?  Weird or yummy? 

    Okay, one more recipe and I will stop looking.  I found another blog with the recipe that includes the oil in the recipe but has a nice mix of seasonings.  This one is also on a blog where the author seemed to be expressing the same idea as me- use homemade stuff to be healthier and cheaper but try to get the same taste.

    I started to get internet overload!!  Do you ever search for recipes on the internet?  Well, I always do and I usually end up mixing two but I just added so many different recipes that I don't know what will taste good and what will be weird.  I already set aside two cups of bread crumbs in a resealable container so I was working with two cups to start off.

    I had already toasted my bread and made breadcrumbs that were in the freezer waiting for me to use.  Breadcrumbs are the easiest thing to make and it is another one of those things that I wonder why I never made before because they are so much better than store bought.  I will post a recipe with pictures on how to make homemade bread crumbs soon.  Here is the post that I had done before.

    I used the breadcrumbs to make the Shake n Bake Pork chops and since it was the first time that I was using the recipe, I tried it two ways.  I shook them plain in the bag and didn't any oil.  The second ones, I sprayed with non-stick cooking spray to see if that would make them different.  It did!  The one of the left had the non-stick spray and the one on the right had nothing.

    After reviewing the recipe and the two different preparation methods, I would add more spices to the mix and maybe coat the pork or chicken in either oil or maybe even hot sauce to add an extra flavor.  I am going to do some more experiments but it covered much better than expected and I look forward to using it again soon!!!  Let me know if you have any pointers if you have made this before :)

    Alison's First Shake n Bake Recipe

    2 cups Shake n Bake
    1/2 tsp salt
    1/2 tsp onion powder
    1/2 tsp paprika
    1/2 tsp ground pepper
    1/4 tsp celery salt
    1/4 tsp minced onion
    1/4 tsp Lawry's garlic salt (has sugar and parsley but regular can be substituted)
    1/4 tsp oregano
    1/4 tsp Italian Herbs (if you don't have, add basil instead)

    Mix all ingredients and store in resealable container until ready to use.  Can store in cupboard, fridge or freezer.

    When ready to use, rinse chicken. 

    Option 1:  Coat in oil and shake with crumbs in a bag until coated.

    Option 2:  Mix 1/2 c breadcrumbs with 1/2 tbsp oil and shake in bag.  Add chicken and shake until coated.

    Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until done.  Cook shorter for chicken nuggets or chicken fingers (10-15 minutes) or longer for bone in chicken (45 minutes).