Sunday, August 30, 2009

Menu Plan Monday #4

Hope you're having a fabulous, relaxing weekend! Below is my menu plan for the week. I'm trying a couple of these recipes for the first time so I'll probably be posting those recipes on here after I make them, that is if they're good. :)
I've gone back to weekly planning (for now at least). Our schedules have been busier lately and a monthly calendar just wasn't working. It was getting messy and unorganized and I hated it.
I have a monthly calendar that I write down the dinners I want to try but this is kept in my folder of menu plans. I have a separate weekly calendar for the definite menu and our schedules for the week.
So here's my dinner menu. As you'll see, 2 nights I'm not cooking because of events that I'm involved it, so Hubby will be on his own.

Cook's Night Off--meeting with my Hostess Team
Cook's Night Off--Open House for my Mary Kay business
Spicy Southwest Turkey Tenderloin (bought if from Sam's Club), red potatoes and vegetable
Tortilla Crusted Chicken Strips (from Southern Living magazine), rice and vegetable
Blue-Corn Blueberry Pancakes (from Cuisine at Home magazine) and bacon (might end up putting this recipe on here on Friday or Saturday, if they're good. :)
Lunch: 6 inch hoagie sandwiches
Dinner: Ribeye steaks (marinated with olive oil, soy sauce, salt and pepper, garlic powder), baked potatoes and vegetable
Lunch: lunch with friends after church
Dinner: burgers and fries (we might end up going out to eat with church friends after church since Labor Day is the next day)

Monday, August 24, 2009

Homemade Household Cleaners

Do you hate spending all your hard earned money on smelly cleaning products?

I do! I've been in search of great substitutes that I can make from ingredients I already have in my pantry. And I've found them.

I've actually had a list of homemade products for awhile and I have made and used some of them. Unfortunately I still have so many store bought products that need to be used up first. I have made the ones I listed and I really love them. And I will post more once I've tried them. I won't post any products that I haven't tried.

Even though I still have quite a lot of store bought cleaning products I still want to share the list of products along with the ingredients and measurements to my fellow readers. So here's the list, enjoy!

All-Purpose Cleaner:

½ cup vinegar

¼ cup baking soda (or 2 tsp borax powder)

½ gallon (2 liters) hot water (use hot water so the powder dissolve)

Mix all ingredients together.

I put mine in a spray bottle and use with a microfiber cloth.

I use my mixture in the kitchen for the most part.

This cleaner works well on windows and mirrors too.

Dishwasher Soap:

Mix equal parts borax powder and washing soda. (Takes 1-2 tsp of each)

Increase the washing soda if you have hard water.

Oven Cleaner:

Moisten oven surfaces with sponge and water.

¾ cup baking soda

¼ salt

¼ water

Mix together to make a thick paste (I mix in a bowl for the 1-time use).

Spread paste throughout the oven interior (avoid bare metal and any openings).

Let sit overnight.

Remove with spatula and wipe clean.

Rub gently with fine steel wool for tough spots.

So here's a few cleaners you'd find in my cleaning collection. I hope you find these helpful and useful in your own home.

Stay tuned for more household cleaners that will be coming your way in the coming weeks and months.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Menu Plan Monday #3

Menu-Plan Monday
Monday, August 24-Sunday, August 30

Spicy Southwestern Turkey Tenderloin (bought at Sam's Club)


Grilled chicken on ciabatta rolls

I might end up making this with bacon b/c Hubby isn't a fan of sausage

Lunch: Club sandwiches on 6 inch wheat hoagie with tortilla chips
Dinner: Hamburgers and Hotdogs--Dinner and games with our Sunday School class at 5 p.m. I'm bringing a dessert! It's this one. I've made it before and it is simple and super delicious!

Lunch: Leftover club sandwiches
Dinner: Chicken Alfredo Pasta with garlic bread

All dinners are served with rice, potato or bread and a vegetables.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Homemade Vanilla Ice cream

Mmmm, ice cream.
I scream, you scream we all scream for ice cream!
A week ago we had an ice cream social/back-to-school bash at our church. We had probably 20+ different flavors of ice cream, some homemade, some store bought. Whew, that was a lot of ice cream. I was good and have 2 scoops, a small piece of cake and half a brownie. I'm trying to be good. 12 pounds down and I've more to lose!
Well I made butterscotch ice cream and it turned out pretty good. It didn't taste a whole lot like butterscotch, more of just a hint of it, but Hubby said it was good an he liked that it wasn't too much. It wasn't hard to make, but I have a great ice cream maker. Here is the link to the butterscotch ice cream, from Smitten Kitchen, HERE. So Yummy!
Anyways, I've been craving ice cream all week. We did have some leftover but we went through it pretty quickly. So today I made some homemade vanilla, just the quick recipe out of the book that came with the ice cream maker. Simple, quick and delicious!

Here's the recipe:
2 cups heavy cream, chilled
1 cup whole milk, chilled
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

-Simply combine ingredients and freeze in ice cream maker as directed by the manufacturer's instructions.
-Makes about 1 quart; 10 1/2 cup servings
Calories: 242 Carbs: 18g Protein: 2g Fat: 18g Chol: 69mg Sodium: 30mg

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Wheat Blueberry Pancakes

This recipe was a great weeknight treat for Hubby and me.

I was supposed to go to Circle with my church girlfriends last night but it got cancelled due to no one being able to attend. I had nothing on the dinner menu thinking I was going out so I had to come up with something quickly.

We love breakfast for dinner so we decided to do that. I found a great recipe today for whole-wheat pancakes over at Finding Joy in my Kitchen. They looked easy and quick so I thought I’d try them. I’m glad I did. They were quick and wonderful! So here’s the recipe.

Wheat Blueberry Pancakes- modified from Joy in my Kitchen

Printer-Friendly Recipe

1 cup whole-wheat flour

1 cup all-purpose flour

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 Tbsp brown sugar

¼ cup applesauce

1 egg

2 cups buttermilk (or 2 Tbsp vinegar or lemon juice, add milk to equal 2 cups)

1-2 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen (keep frozen if using frozen)

(I might add 1 tsp of cinnamon next time for a little extra flavor)

1. Sift dry ingredients in medium size bowl.

2. Mix applesauce, milk, egg and brown sugar in medium size bowl.

3. Add dry ingredients and wet ingredients together and whisk until combined.

4. Heat griddle to 350* F.

5. Measure out pancake mixture to ¼ cup and pour on hot griddle.

6. Once mixture is on griddle add blueberries to each pancake, as many as you want and heat on griddle until golden brown on both sides.

Servings: 16

Nutritional info:

Calories: 86.1 Fat: .7g Cholesterol: 13.9 mg Sodium: 160.3 mg Carbs: 17.3 g Dietary fiber: 17.3 g Protein: 3.3 g

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Homemade Laundry Soap

Let me tell you, I've been on the hunt!

I am reading up on a ton of homemade stuff, trying to save us money and live a more frugal life, especially when it comes to food and household needs. These are the areas that I can control on how much money we spend and I'm trying.

So last week I ventured out all over Memphis in search of Borax powder, Arm and Hammer washing soda and Fels Naptha soap. I live in the Bartlett area but I drove all the way to Poplar Avenue to hunt at the grocery stores that sell more speciality products (for those who don't live here, it's a good 30 minutes over there). What a waste! No one had anything I needed. Let's just say I didn't research well as to where I could find these products, but I honestly wasn't sure where to look. After my adventure I came home and I got on the blog where I found the recipe for making the homemade laundry detergent (you can find that here at The Grocery Cart Challenge), and saw people's comments on where they shopped to find the supplies needed. That helped on 2 of the items, the borax powder and washing soda but not the Fels Naptha soap. And I wasn't even sure I would be able to find any of the items where they said they found them, but I went back out the next day anyways. And with great success I found all the items I needed to make my homemade laundry soap and in my own neighborhood. I traveled about 5 miles from my home instead of 20, typical me! :)

Below is a picture of all the items needed to make the soap, minus the 5 gallon bucket which you can find at any hardware store.

Borax Powder-$2.98 at Super Wal-Mart (in the detergent isle)
Arm and Hammer Washing Soda-$2.99 at Kroger (in the detergent isle)
Fels Naptha Soap-$1.99 at Stewart Brothers, Do-It-Yourself Center (I asked the nice man if they kept it in stock at all times and he said they do! So yay!)

So that is last weeks adventure! I'm glad I found all the ingredients I'll be needing for my little project (even though I do still have some of my store bought detergent left, I'm just too excited and can't wait to try my homemade stuff). Hubby has sensitive skin when it comes to laundry detergent (I can't use any kind of powder detergent) so I'm hoping this won't break him out and I'll be able to use it all the time and save tons of money on something I hate spending money on! (I'll let you know how it works on his sensitive skin in another blog post.)

I'm also very excited because she (Gayle of The Grocery Cart Challenge) said it cost a penny a load! (You can find that breakdown Here). Are you kidding? That's amazing. (It may be more than a penny a load when you consider I spent a little more on the 3 products than the ladies that did the breakdown did, but it will still be under 3 cents a load!)

I spent about $7 on all the soaps. The cost of my bucket was free. I have a great friend who works at Kroger in the bakery department and they have giant icing buckets they use and throw away when empty so she grabbed one for me. She even decorated for me (the picture at the top is my bucket, obviously).

I'll get 2 to 2.5 gallons of laundry soap from just 1/2 cup each borax powder and washing soda and 1/3 of a bar of Fels Naptha (and water). Awesome! The powders are in pretty big boxes so I know I can get quite a few uses out of that when making more laundry detergent. And I have two other uses out of the Fels Naptha since I only use 1/3 of the bar per batch (which can also be used to get out stains directly, see directions on the side of the wrapper).

I have to say this has been an amazing find. I spend almost $14 (from Sam's Club) to get 110 loads from All free and clear, which is a great brand, but I want to get more for my money. And we all know that you actually get less than it says on the containers of those things.

Can you tell I'm excited? Well if you can't, I am! :)

I'm loving finding all these great ways I can save money on household items and cleaners (I do make my own household cleaners too). Check out the blogs I read on the sidebar to learn how to save money and live a frugal life too!

What ways do you save money on everyday household items?
Link up below to tell others your great frugal ideas. Please link up to your post and not your main page. And please make sure to link back to my page.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Menu Plan Monday #2

Monday, August 17, 2009
Another Monday is on the way!
I hope you find time in your kitchen this week to cook for your family and of course yourself. Also, take time to appreciate having a kitchen and food to put on the table. I'm so thankful we have these things. God has blessed us tremendously!
Here's what's on the schedule for this week.

Corn-Stuffed Pork Chopped (Taste of Home cookbook)
Green Beans

Cook's Night Off (I have circle with girlfriends from church so Hubby is on his own. He usually goes to his mom's for dinner or has some leftovers from the week/weekend)

Beef and cheese tostadas
Mexican Rice

Barbecue chicken (indoor grill)
Baked Potato

Personal calzones (find the recipe here for the dough)
(I'll fill with mozzarella and cheddar cheeses and pepperoni's for Hubby and pepperoni's and sausage for me, along with the cheeses)
Breakfast: Biscuits with homemade jam and fruit
Lunch: Sandwiches on 6 in, whole-wheat hoagies with tortilla chips
Rice (we like rice)

Lunch: Burgers and potato fries
Dinner: Blueberry Pancakes and bacon

This post is linked to Organizing Junkie.

Quick and Easy Pizza Dough

Here is the recipe for my pizza crust.
It's easy and delicious. And it doesn't take long at all to put together.

Quick and Easy Pizza Dough (Yield 1 pizza dough)

2 cups flour
1 Tbsp yeast
1/4 tsp salt
1 Tbsp sugar
2/3 cup water (plus an additional 2 tbsp)
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp italian seasoning (optional)

1. Mix 1 cup flour with all other ingredients (I use my KitchenAid stand mixer with the paddle attachment).
2. Gradually add 2nd cup of flour until it forms a ball. Use your hands to form and knead the dough.
3. Let the dough rest 10-15 minutes in a bowl covered with a dish towel to keep it warm.
4. Roll out and place onto greased pizza pan or pizza stone with your favorite toppings.
5. Bake at 375* degrees for approximately 15 minutes.

*I can get 2 pizza doughs out of this one batch, we like thinner crusts. Also I put my crust in with no toppings for 5 minutes to make it crispier. If you do this make sure to poke holes in it with a fork so it doesn't puff up. Then take out of the oven and place toppings on it. Bake for 10-15 minutes more.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Vanilla Pound Cake and Chocolate Sauce

Hubby and I went to my parents last night for a delicious dinner. We had beef brisket, twice baked potatoes, salad and bread. I made dessert (I usually end up bringing dessert wherever we go). I found a wonderful pound cake recipe from Blessed with Grace that I wanted to try. I made it and it turned out wonderful! I also took cut-up strawberries, low fat cool whip and a homemade chocolate sauce to go on top if anyone wanted any, and they did. :) I forgot to take a picture of it, sorry, but believe me it was good!

Vanilla Pound Cake-modified from Blessed with Grace

2 large eggs
3 large egg whites
2 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
8 oz cream cheese, softened
3 1/2 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1 1/3 cups sugar
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350* F. Coat a 9-inch loaf pan with cooking spray.
In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, egg whites, vanilla extract and almond extract; set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, using an electric mixer, beat together cream cheese and butter until blended. Beat in sugar, baking powder and salt until blended. Beat in flour and egg mixture, little by little, beginning and ending with flour.
Pour batter into prepared loaf pan and bake until a wooden toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean, about 55 to 65 minutes. (Mine took right at 60 minutes).
Cool cake in pan on a wire rack. Cut into 12 slices and serve. Yields 1 slice per serving.
(I made the cake the night before, cooled completely and wrapped in foil. At dinner I popped it into a warm oven to heat back up. I served it with cut-up strawberries, cool whip and chocolate sauce.

Divine Chocolate Sauce- from Cuisine At Home

1/3 cup heavy cream
1 Tbsp light corn syrup
4 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped (I used chocolate chips)

Bring cream and corn syrup to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat. Place chocolate in a bowl and pour cream mixture over. Let stand about 1 minute to melt, then whisk until smooth.
I made chocolate a couple hours before, cooled completely and stored in fridge. I heated it up for about 35 seconds right before dinner. Easy and delicious!

I ended up having leftover pound cake, about half the cake. When we got home I cubed it into 1-inch pieces and stored it in the freezer in a freezer bag. We have a Sunday School party in 2 weeks and I have a recipe that I'm going to use that calls for pound cake. And homemade pound cake is even better so it works out great! I'll save time and money with that dessert b/c I already have most of the ingredients and the cake is cut-up. All I'll have to do is dump it in the serving bowl with everything else and it'll be ready to go. (Check back for that recipe in a couple of weeks. I've made it before and it's amazing!)

Friday, August 14, 2009

Favorite Find Friday #1

I ran around town yesterday with a good friend and we happened to find ourselves at Dollar Tree. I have to say I like Dollar Tree; I think they have some decent stuff in there (depends on the day sometimes) and you can't beat everything being $1. I only had $1 in my pocket so I had to find something great, lol.
I found myself on the hair care isle and ran across a bottle of Got2b mousse. I think its a good brand when I see it, but I'm not sure. I haven't really seen this brand or know anything about it. But I'm almost out of mousse so what the heck I get it. I just looked this brand up online and it runs anywhere from $4-$7. Oh wow, and I only paid a buck for it!
I've had a buy one, get one free coupon for a Herbal Essence product, any kind in my coupon organizer for a couple of weeks, and I've been on the hunt to find the best deal for that brand and the best is at least $3.25 (at Dollar General). I have a hard time paying for something that is just fixing my hair and not doing much else. I'd rather spend $3 on some heavy cream to make homemade ice cream, lol.
Obviously it pays to shop around! I found a great hair care product for $1 this week. That is some good frugal living!

Have you found any great finds this week?

Monday, August 10, 2009

Homemade Bagels

I conquered my fear of bread making!
I have tried before and failed miserably, this was about a year ago. I was trying to make a regular white bread and it was so dense and horribly disgusting. So I have been wanting to try again making homemade breads, bagels, etc. Before I didn't feel I had a great, easy-to-follow recipe for the bread items I wanted to make so I just bought regular bread from the grocery store. Boy have I been missing out!
But today I tried bagels and I just got done making my first batch. They aren't the best looking bagels, but they are awesome! I know the more I make them the better they'll look. The recipe I used is from The Happy Housewife, titled "Bagel Tips." I didn't have the 1 tbsp of gluten, but I went ahead and made them anyways and they turned out just fine. I didn't feel there were too many steps, she explained everything easily and had great pictures so I could make sure I was on track. I did half all-purpose flour and half whole wheat for the flour needs. And I didn't do the egg wash step, I just didn't feel it was needed. So easy! I don't know why I've been so afraid to make bagels.
These bagels are a little crunchy on the outside (which I love) and chewy on the inside. So yummy! I got 15 from my batch. I like my bagels a little smaller because I can't seem to finish one of those giant ones. These are so much better than store bought! I don't think I'll ever buy from the store again. Conquer your fear of bread making and jump in!

Next bread fear to conquer are english muffins! I found a recipe that looks pretty simple as well. These will be great for breakfast as well as for english muffin pizzas which we like to eat. You can find the recipe for the english muffins here from The Happy Housewife again. It's close to the bottom of the page of her "Baking Day" blog.
Check back at a later date for how the english muffin trials went.

Old bread to bread crumbs

I've started making my own loaves of bread for Hubby and me and wanted to get rid of the bread from the bread store (and it was getting old as well). I like to buy bread crumbs from Aldi but they can get expensive if I end up buying a bunch and that's not what I want to spend my $40 a week on. So I decided to make my own bread crumbs. I was a first timer for this bread crumb thing. I've been reading about it at other blogs and thought it sounded pretty simple so I'd give it a go. Turns out it was easy!

I left my bread out overnight to let it get a little stale.
Then I cut it into smaller pieces to make it easier on my food processor.

I put the cut-up pieces in the food processor and let it go to work. It took no more than 10 seconds to make the bread into crumbs.

And here's the crumbs. I'm storing them in an airtight container and I'll put them in the freezer since we won't be going through them very quickly so they'll keep for awhile.

What have you tried lately that you didn't think you could do?

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

Monday, August 10, 2009
Happy Monday to You!
Here's the dinners I have planned for the week.
It's pretty warm here but I have a small toaster oven that I'll be using for the few recipes I have on the menu that require an oven instead of cranking up the big one. And the forecast says it'll be raining through Wednesday (we'll see if that actually happens) so it will be nice to have a warm meal to help with the cold rain.

Chicken Vino Bianco (a knock-off from Olive Garden)--it has a whole bunch of steps but I've been wanting to try it for a long time and I've been putting it off.
Enchilada Stuffed Shells (from my Taste of Home cookbook that I got on sale for $8!)
Pulled Chicken Sandwiches (I made them over Memorial Weekend and they were fantastic)--I'll probably use a regular hamburger bun
Saucy Pepper Steak (I made this a couple of weeks ago and have been craving it ever since, it was awesome!)--I'll leave vegetables out of Hubby's portion b/c he isn't a huge fan and put an extra onion in for myself b/c I love them so much!
Homemade Blueberry Pancakes with light maple syrup and bacon
Breakfast: leftover pancakes
Lunch: on your own
Dinner: Homemade Chicken Bowls (this is a new recipe I found and have been wanting to try, don't know if Hubby will like it b/c he likes his foods separate :) but he's going to venture out and try it anyways)
Breakfast: quick bowl of cereal, then off to Church
Lunch: Leftover chicken parmesan over whole wheat pasta
Dinner: ???

Have a great Monday!

A Stocked Kitchen

A well-stocked, organized kitchen is very important to me. It makes the cooking process easier and I know what I have in my kitchen at all times so I don't accidentally buy 3 more packs of flour when I already had 2 stocked away. We live on a budget and a mistake like this could be hurtful at the end of the month when/if we need milk or some sort of other staple item.
I like to make most everything from scratch. It's healthier, its fun and it has a better taste than store bought. The lists below are what you'll find in my kitchen most of the time. If I'm low on one of these items it's not for long. I like to have plenty in stock when I get the urge to make something. And getting the urge happens quite a bit so I have to be prepared.

Here is my "must-haves" list for the kitchen:
*wooden spoons (I have 4)
*plastic spatulas (I have 4)
*multiple size mixing bowls (I have 3 glass and 5 stainless steel)
*whisk (2)
*measuring cups/spoons (I have 3 sets)
*cheese grater
*strainer (I have 4, different sizes)
*rolling pin
*pots and pans (obviously)
*cookie sheets (I have 5+)
*loaf pans (I have 4)
*cutting boards (I have 4)
*stand mixer
*hand mixer
*food processor

Ingredients you'll more than likely find in my kitchen at all times

*flours (all-purpose, whole wheat, bread)
*sugars (white, light brown, powdered)
*powdered milk
*olive oil
*vegetable oil
*butter (the real thing, unsalted to control our salt intake)
*baking powder
*baking soda
*vanilla extract
*almond extract
*corn starch
*salt and pepper
*vegetable shortening
*chocolate chips
*cake mixes

Cooking Supplies:
*tomato paste and sauce
*stewed and diced tomatoes
*green chilis
*rotel mix (knock-off brand)
*pasta (whole wheat, all kinds)
*chicken broth
*chicken and beef bullion cubes
*dry beans
*rice (white and brown)

Freezer items:
*fruits (mixed, blueberries, strawberries, peaches)
*boneless, skinless chicken breasts
*ground beef/turkey (divided into 1 lb. portions)
*boneless pork chops
*veggies (buy fresh, chop and freeze)
*nuts (pecans and walnuts pieces)
*ice cream (homemade of course)
*leftover convenience meals (for Hubby to take to work for lunch if no leftovers from dinner the night before)

Fridge items:
*milk (we like skim)
*eggs (at least 2 dozen)
*cheeses (cheddar, mozzarella, parmesan)
*pepperoni's (I make pizza quite a bit)
*heavy cream
*cream cheese (2-3, 8 oz pks)
*butter (4+ sticks)
*fresh fruit or frozen fruit thawed (for cereals and bread recipes)

My kitchen tools listed are the basics, but I use almost everything from that list on a daily basis. I have many more kitchen gadgets that I don't use frequently but enough that I don't mind all the space they take up. :)
And my list of foods can be at all times (for the most part). If you're serious about making things from scratch and cooking great meals everyday, this is a great starter list. Some things I have on my lists I recently added to my kitchen since we're trying to eat healthier (whole-wheat pasta, brown rice, whole-wheat flour).
Most of my kitchen tools we were blessed with from wedding gifts. I thought ahead of what I would want for now and would probably use in the near future. Glad I thought ahead because I definitely use them a lot.
I hope you found this list helpful and I hope you find wonderful joys in your kitchen as I have found in mine.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

My Workspace

Here are pictures of my kitchen work area. This is my favorite room in our apartment. It's where all good cooking and baking goes on. It's a pretty big kitchen for an apartment. I'm so thankful for all the counter space and storage space (and all the cabinets are full). I just love all the creations that happen in here. Enjoy!

Command Central
That is my monthly menu on the left of the fridge. I also have an inventory of the freezer on the right. It has plenty of room to add to when I buy freezer items. When I use them I just mark it off the list. Under the inventory list is my grocery list that is organized by the items I buy most. On the grocery list you can also find a list for other places I frequent for household and toiletry items. There are my aprons hanging on the wall. And next to that our big white board with our monthly calendars, (no food) with our schedules and appointments. On the other half of that board is Hubby's weather updates. He loves the weather and he lets me know what will be happening in the next few days by writing on that board.
Prep area and tool holder
The stove and microwave, pretty basic. My recipe book that I put together myself, my recipe box from my momma and all the other kitchen tools I use almost every night. This is also another great prep are and great to serve from.
Sink and Prep Area
This is the sink and the part of the counter where I do most of the prep work. The light is best in this area. And what is the bright yellow rag doing under my mixer? It is a wash cloth that makes it easier for me to pull the mixer out from the corner and use it. And I use it so much that it doesn't make sense to store it in a cabinet.

The Pantry
Top shelf: Baking goods in their own, labeled containers and a few extra food items.
2nd shelf: Snacks and such.
3rd shelf: Salad toppings, rice and 6lb. jar of peanut butter.
4th shelf: All breakfast items.
5th shelf: Spices that won't fit into my spice cabinet and extra bottles of marinades.
Floor: You can't see the bottom of the pantry but that is where the extras foods are stored.
Well that is my kitchen. I hoped you enjoyed the tour!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Why we budget

Why do we budget and live a frugal life?

To be honest, we have to. The income Hubby brings in is where our budget comes from. If I make money from my Mary Kay business, cards or baking business the money made goes back into that particular business or savings. My income isn't tallied into our monthly budget.
I love to be at home. My heart is at home, not stuck in some office all day long. For all you women (and men) who work full-time outside the home, God bless you! I just don't have the want to do it. I also just can't seem to find my place out there. I've tried a couple of times and was very unhappy. I don't know if I'm too picky or what, but it wasn't ever any fun. And I want to have fun. I love the freedom of going to the grocery store at 9 a.m. when hardly anyone is there. I love to spend Fridays with my mom. I love getting all my house stuff and projects done during the week so I have all weekend to spend quality time with Hubby. I never liked spending my weekends cleaning, organizing, preparing. It just wasn't for me.

So here's some of the breakdown of a couple of things from our budget:
$160 a month for groceries ($40 a week)
$100 a month for miscellaneous items (everything else that isn't food)

These are basically the only 2 things I'll be talking about on here dealing with our money. All our other expenses are rent, car, bills, etc. We all know about how much those are so I won't really discuss them unless I feel the need. :)

Easy Pizza Sauce

Easy Pizza Sauce:

*1 clove garlic, mashed and minced
*1 tsp salt
*1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
*1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
*1/2 tsp sugar
*1/8 tsp pepper
*1/2 tsp oregano
*1 Tbsp olive oil
*dash red pepper, optional (I don't put this in b/c Hubby doesn't like spicy too much)

Combine all ingredients. makes about 1 1/2 cups, enough for 2-3 pizzas

Great on Pizza Bread! Or a store bought pizza dough or your own homemade. My homemade pizza dough coming soon!

Add your name to meet others like you!

Pizza Bread

I tried this last Friday and it was wonderful. Because Hubby is sick I'm making it again tonight since he loved it so much. And it's comfort food to him as well. Anything to get him feeling better!
I found this recipe from Cooking During Stolen Moments. It's a great blog with wonderful recipes, check it out!

*6-7 c white flour (I did about 6 1/2 c. I also think I'll try and do half whole wheat flour, half white flour next time)
*1 Tbsp yeast
*2 c milk
*1/2 c water
*1/4 c butter or margarine (I always use real butter, there's just something wonderful about it)
*1/4 c sugar
*1/2 tsp salt
*2 tsp Italian seasoning
*3/4 c pizza sauce (find my EASY homemade pizza sauce Here)
*20-25 slices pepperoni, cut into small pieces (I quartered them)
*2 c shredded Mozzarella cheese (I used 1 c shredded cheddar cheese and 1 c mozzarella cheese... next time I'll use probably another 1/2 c to 1 c more of cheese mixture)
*1/2 c grated Parmesan cheese (we don't keep this in the house usually so I didn't put any of this in/on it)

1. In a large mixing bowl, combine 2 1/2 c flour with 1 Tbsp yeast and set aside.
2. Add milk, water, butter, sugar and salt to a small saucepan. Heat over medium until warm. Pour into large bowl with the flour and yeast. Stir or beat until well combined. Slowly work in remaining flour and Italian seasoning. Knead (by hand or with and electric mixer) until dough is smooth and elastic, about 8-10 minutes (I didn't do this but 1-2 minutes and it worked out just great). Cover and let dough rise for 1 hour in a lightly greased bowl.
3. Divide dough into 2-3 portions (I cut it into 3 as this made a whole lot and put in separate gallon size bags to freeze), depending on how big you want your loaves to be. Roll each ball of dough into a rectangle.
4. Spread about 1/4 c pizza sauce on each section of dough (if you want to make all 3 at once, I do 1) (and I use more than 1/4 c on each section, b/c 1/4 c isn't enough).
5. Sprinkle the diced pepperoni and cheeses on top of the pizza sauce.
6. Roll dough tightly, jelly-roll style, and pinch the seams shut.
7. Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes.
8. Cut into 8-10 pieces, serve and enjoy!

So delicious!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Peach-Blueberry Cobbler

I bought a new cookbook the other day. I love cookbooks. My husband and I are eating better so the cookbook is Cooking Light. So when we went to my parents for dinner last week I wanted to make a cobbler. My friend had given me 6 white peaches from when she and her 5-year-old daughter went to an orchid for a new experience for the little one.
So I'm looking through my new cookbook and I come across this delicious sounding cobbler recipe, Peach-Blueberry Cobbler. I didn't even notice on the front cover that this was the recipe shown. Now I'm even more intrigued. I'm thinking it's going to be even more delicious now. So here is the wonderful (and easy) recipe.

Peach-Blueberry Cobbler

1/2 c granulated sugar
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp grated lemon rind
1/4 tsp salt
3 c chopped peeled peaches (about 2 pounds)
2 c fresh blueberries
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
cooking spray

1 1/3 c all-purpose flour (about 6 ounces)
1/3 granulated sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3 Tbsp chilled butter, cut into small pieces
2/3 c low-fat buttermilk (or skim milk and a splash of lemon juice or white vinegar)
1 1/2 Tbsp turbinado sugar (I didn't do this )

1. Preheat oven 400* F
2. For filling combine first 4 ingredients in a large bowl. Add peaches, blueberries and juice. Spoon mixture into an 8-inch square baking dish coated with cooking spray. Bake at 400*F for 15 minutes.
3. For topping, lightly spoon 1 1/3 c flour into dry measuring cups. Combine 1 1/3 flour, 1/3 c granulated sugar, baking powder and 1/4 tsp salt, stirring with a whisk. Cut in butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add buttermilk, stir until just moist.
4. Remove dish from oven, drop dough onto peach mixture to form 8 rounds. Sprinkle dough evenly with turbinado sugar. Bake at 400*F for 25 minutes or until bubbly and golden.
Yield: 8 servings; 1/2 cup cobbler and 1 biscuit.
*Serve with homemade vanilla ice cream and you'll have your guests screaming for more.

Calories 259, Fat 4.9g, Protein 3.9g, Carb 52.1g, Fiber 2.4g, Chol 12mg, Iron 1.3mg, Sodium 230 mg, Calc 52mg

This recipe is also linked to The Grocery Cart Challenge.
This recipe is also linked to Blessed with Grace.