Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Highly Distracted!

I've heard a lot of things about pinterest and it never really appealed to me to get an account, until just recently and now - I'm highly addicted! I have found millions of yummy recipes to try on there! Not only did I find recipes, but I also found a lot of fun home organizing ideas too. I will admit that some of the recipes that I have tried from off pinterest will not be made again. They might sound and look really good, but as we all know - looks can be deceiving. I'll post some of those recipes in my next post.

Last week, I was finally able to do some baking! I made applesauce cake & muffins and banana chocolate chip muffins! I had a bunch of bananas in the fridge that were so very black that needed to either be put into bread, muffins, oatmeal, or the freezer for later use. I'm sitting here blogging with a banana muffin and my coffee - yummy!

Here are two recipes:
Amish Applesauce Cake
Serves: 12
Baking Time:30 min

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
2 eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Instructions:Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 9- x 13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.In a large bowl, cream sugar and shortening with an electric beater on low speed. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Add flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt; beat until well mixed. Add applesauce and vanilla; mix well then stir in the walnuts and pour batter into prepared baking dish.Bake 30 to 35 minutes, or until wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool.

I love this cake! Great for breakfast with fruit! I made it in an 8x8 pan and then used the rest of the batter to make muffins.

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins


1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1-1/2 cups mashed ripe bananas (about 3 large)
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking soda
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
In a bowl, cream butter and sugars. Beat in eggs, bananas and vanilla. Combine flour and baking soda; add to creamed mixture just until combined. Stir in the walnuts and chocolate chips. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups half full.
Bake at 350° for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks. Yield: 2 dozen.

I'll be posting more recipes soon!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Back to it!

Yes, folks, it's time to get back to it! I have neglected my poor blog for way too long. Anyway, here some recent recipes for you. I'm sitting here feeling kind of "blah" due to the fact that I put way too many onions in my omelet and my stomach did not appreciate it - but it was good. It tasted like it was missing something though, but I can't put my finger on what else it exactly needed - more cheese?

My hubby had to go to a class for work tonight, so I decided that I'd whip myself of a little something to eat that I know I'd enjoy and he wouldn't. I made myself a spinach, cheese, onion, tomato, olive and ranch omelet. It was good, but I like I mentioned before.....I shouldn't have put so many onions in it.

Ranch Spinach Omelet
4 eggs, beaten
dash of pepper, salt, onion powder, garlic powder, etc.
2 TBSP canned black olives
1/2 C. shredded cheese
1 TBSP finely chopped onions (I put more than that in, but next time I'll add a smaller amount)
 1/4 frozen spinach, thawed
3 TBSP chopped tomatoes
Drizzled with ranch dressing.

If you want to add meat - I'm pretty sure some shredded cooked chicken would taste good on it too!

Drizzle your small fry pan with some olive oil and turn onto mid-heat. In a small dish whip up your eggs, pour into the heated pan. Add your onions and spices. Top with olives, spinach, tomatoes and cheese. Once the eggs have cooked thoroughly and are set: remove from heat. Place omelet onto plate and drizzle with ranch dressing.

Lentil Shepherd's Pie
Lentil Shepherd's Pie

See the nice layers - you wouldn't guess that it's not meat just by looking at it.

This week, I haven't cooked a bit of meat. We enjoyed a Sunday dinner at my inlaws and then the rest of the week we ate shepherd's pie. It was quite good! I had seen different lentil shepherd's pie recipes online, but decided to just go ahead and do my own recipe. It was good, super easy and lasted for a week! My hubby will get to take the last of it to work tomorrow for his lunch.
Lentil Shepherd's Pie

1 bag 16oz lentils, cooked
5 large potatoes, boiled
1 large jar of sauce
2 cups of cheese
3 bay leaves
2 tsp minced garlic, opt.
Canned mushrooms, opt.
Boil lentils with bay leaves until lentils are soft. Find and remove the bay leaves. Place the mushy lentils into the bottom of a lightly greased 9x13 glass pan. Spread 2 tsp of minced over top of the lentils. Sprinkle 1 C.of shredded cheese over top of the lentils. Pour 1/2 the jar of sauce on top of the cheese. Mash your potatoes and spread them over top of the sauce layer. Pour the rest of the jar of sauce on top of the mashed potatoes. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top of that and place in the oven to warm. You can add mushrooms to the top of the pie as well before warming it. Yummy!

It's a tasty, cheap and easy to prepare meal! We had fresh corn on the cob to go along with it and that was so good! Sometimes it's nice to have a meat-free meal every now and then.

Now I'm off to bake some yummy mocha brownies!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

How to store produce...

Today, I'm going to share with you a blog post that gives you tips on how to store your fresh produce and how long it lasts and where to store it to keep it fresh.

Check out: How to Store Your Produce for easy tips on keeping your fruits and veggies fresh and well kept.

Monday, January 30, 2012

My excuse.....

My blogging excuse.......

He happens to be the reason why my blog has not been updated lately.
Our little guy arrived 4 weeks early, which was a total surprise - I was so not ready! I still needed to finish washing all the baby clothes, bedding and cleaning his room and painting the letters of his name to put above his crib. I hadn't even packed a hospital bag! I still wanted to make freezer meals so I would have some handy quick meals on the days were the baby is really fussy, but that never happened. Lesson learned: ALWAYS be prepared.

It has been such a blessing to have such wonderful friends and family around that have brought us meals the past two weeks. It was so nice not having to worry about having to cook a meal while tending to a hungry baby.

This week I'm working on figuring out a menu plan for February. I'm thinking that it will consist of a lot of slow cooker meals. Do you have any favorite slow cooker dishes that you recommend?

Friday, January 6, 2012

Baskets, baskets, baskets!!!!

Yes, I love baskets! My laundry room needs some help and baskets are going to be my handy little tool into making it look neat and orderly (or so I hope!). I decided to take a trip into town this afternoon while on a mission to find baskets. I ended up going to AC Moore (a craft store that is like Hobby Lobby (which I REALLY wish we had here in town) and Michaels). I finally found what I was looking for: wicker baskets! Not too small and not too big - perfect. Not only were they the right size, they also were on sale! $10 per basket no matter the size! The original prices ranged from $14.99-29.99, so I bought three of them.I had been wanting to get some baskets for a while now, but couldn't bring myself to buy a small basket for $6.99 when I really wanted/needed the larger ones....so when I found this deal I was quite pleased! I wasn't able to use a coupon since the baskets were on sale, which was a good thing because I would of been a failed couponer since I had accidentally left my coupons at home, but since they couldn't be used with sale-priced items it worked out fine. After I left A.C. Moore, I decided to run into ROSS quickly to see if I could find anything there that might help with organization. While I was in there, I found the perfect baskets! CHEAPER than the ones at A.C. Moore!!! How annoying! I debated whether or not to keep the baskets I had just bought or to return them. I decided to just keep them and go ahead buy several of the other ones from ROSS as well. A girl can always find a use for a basket. I spent a little over $40 on baskets today, but these baskets will be put to good use.

I spent my Saturday working on my laundry room:



Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Homemade Laundry Soap, Toothpaste & Fabric Softener!

Happy New Year, everyone! I did my January monthly shopping on the last Wednesday of December, since I knew my hubby would be off work on Monday and I wanted to spend my day with him - not grocery shopping. Plus, I also wanted to enjoy the last of my Christmas break from teaching making food to freeze and in order to do that, I needed to go shopping before today! :) I spent my entire day out on Wednesday shopping and running errands! I only spent $118, so I was quite happy about that! I spent ALL day Thursday in the kitchen working on putting together freezer meals. This month I made: Poor Man's Steak patties for the freezer (all I need to do is put them in the oven to bake), crab meat lasagna (made exactly like regular lasagna, but with crab meat instead of beef), hearty hamburger soup, Russian borsch soup (a beet soup - it's really good!), and taco soup. I plan to do several slow cooker meals as well - like roast and other meat and potato dishes. I also made a batch of granola.

Besides for putting meals together and doing all the laundry in the house on Thursday, I also made some homemade household products: toothpaste, laundry soap, and fabric softener.

Here are the recipes and pictures for "how to" make your own products:

What you'll need:

*Grater - for grating the bar of soap for your laundry soap
* 1 gallon jug (I used a clean water/milk jug)
* A soap dispenser (for storing your toothpaste) - the kind where the lid comes off is probably the best idea - so you can wash/rinse it out when needed. I bought mine at the dollar store.
* 5 gallon container with lid (or I suppose you could reuse your gallon jugs and make several jugs of soap rather than one big container of it...).
*White vinegar
*1 bottle of Suave conditioner
* Liquid peppermint castile soap (I bought mine locally at Vitamin Shoppe as they had the cheapest deal)
*Peppermint essential oil - for flavoring the toothpaste
*Bars of either Castile or Ivory soap to grate for the laundry soap
*Hot water
*Coconut oil - I bought mine at our local Walmart. It is kind of expensive, but coconut oil has lots of uses and is good for you.
*Olive oil
*Pans and glass bowls for mixing all your ingredients.
*Washing Soda - can be found in the laundry/cleaning section.

2 Cups of Suave Conditioner
(Basically, that is an entire small bottle - I used the ocean breeze scented conditioner, but you can use whatever scent you want).

3 Cups White Vinegar
Mix conditioner & hot water, until conditioner is dissolved completely. Add the vinegar
and mix well. Store in a large container (empty fabric softener container, empty large vinegar bottle, etc.) Pour into a downy ball or use approx 2 tbsp. in the fabric softener spot in your laundry machine then wash!!

I measured and microwaved my water in this glass bowl that had a spout on it, so I could pour it more easily into the gallon jug without losing too much of the softener in the sink while pouring.

The recipe only makes 1/2 gallon, but it's so easy and quick that doubling it wouldn't be a problem.


Combine the ingredients listed.

*1 tablespoon of Dr. Bronner's castile liquid soap (can be ordered from drbronner.com or you can probably call around and find it at a local health store) -I bought the peppermint one, since I knew I'd be using it for toothpaste rather than the regular soap
*5 tablespoons of coconut oil
*1 tablespoon of olive oil
*10 -- 12 drops of orange oil - I didn't have this, so I left it out.
*10 -- 12 drops of peppermint oil
This is what it looks like before you begin to stir.

Blend the ingredients together thoroughly. If the consistency is thicker than desired, more olive oil or water can be added until it reaches a pourable texture.

Store it in a clean soap dispenser.

Let's just say that next time I make this toothpaste recipe, I'll be changing a few things. My husband and I both tried it and we ended up using a lot of mouthwash to get rid of the horrible soap taste. The toothpaste texture is great and it smells just like toothpaste, but I think it might have too much soap in it. I will admit, because I wanted more of a "pourable" texture, that I ended up putting in a few extra drops of soap - not thinking it would cause that much of difference. I should of added more water or olive oil. Live and learn. This is a really easy recipe and can be whipped up in no time! :)

Liquid Laundry Soap
1 quart Water (boiling)
2 cups Bar soap (grated)
2 cups Borax
2 cups Washing Soda

I grated the soap over paper towels, since the soap wanted to go all over the table and I didn't want to waste any of it.

Add finely grated bar soap to the boiling water and stir until soap is melted.
You can keep on low heat until soap is melted.

Pour the soap water into a large, clean pail and add the Borax and Washing Soda. Stir well until all is dissolved.

Add 2 gallons of water, stir until well mixed.

Cover pail and use 1/4 cup for each load of laundry. Stir the soap each time you use it (will gel).

*I haven't done this yet, but I'm thinking of adding in some lavender liquid castile soap to give it a lavender scent, but I may try adding it with my next batch. *

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Preparing for the New Year

I'm sitting here drinking a hot cup of Peppermint Mocha that I got in the free sample packet from Nescafé several weeks ago. It's the time of year where we start thinking about the new year and all the plans and goals we want to accomplish during the upcoming year. For some of us the goals include: exercising more, losing weight, sticking to a budget and various other odds and ends. For us budget and frugal minded people, we begin to think of what ways we can save even more money in the new year.

In the midst of this busy Christmas season - sending out Christmas cards, baking goodies, shopping, wrapping gifts, spending time with family and friends celebrating the birth of Christ, my mind is already several weeks ahead. I've been busy going through recipes and blogs working on planning my next month's menu. I'm also working on planning extra meals for February since I only have 7 weeks left before our new addition arrives and I want to have stuff on hand for those days when I'm tired and lacking energy!

As I prepare the grocery list for the upcoming month, does anyone want to share some of their favorite meals? Slowcooker and freezer meals are always great! :) I love trying new recipes! What are some of your favorite tried and true recipes that rank high in your family?