Friday, August 29, 2008
My brother in law sent me this recipe early this week because I wanted to make some for our family camping trip. They are so easy to make and they turned out wonderful. This is a recipe that can go in a lunch box as it can be made without nuts plus it will probably cost you less to make these and freeze them then to buy granola bars for the lunch box.
Its one of the only granola bar recipes that I have made and they turned out (that means they didn't crumble and have to be used as granola cereal). I think that the reason these ones are so good is because I ground the ingredients in a coffee grinder first. This helps the consistency and stay in shape better. The recipe is an add your own favorites...so don't be afraid to try!
I did look on line for some recipes that called for the same ingredients and I found out that if you use a 14 oz can of sweet and condensed milk you can use ~ 6 1/2 cups of dry ingredients. However I only had a 10 oz can so I used ~ 4 cups of dry ingredients. Here is what I did...
2 cups of oat meal (grind)
1/2 cup wheat germ
pumpkin seeds (grind)
Cream of wheat
All the dry equaled 4 cups
Then add one can of sweet and condensed milk and 2 Tbsp melted butter. Its suppose to have the consistency of muffin mix. Mine was a little thick. Next you pat this into a 9*13 pan. You can either line it with parchment paper or grease it. Cook on 350 for 20 minutes. Then this is the KEY...let cool completely before trying to cut it. If you wanted to you could cool in the fridge overnight. Cut into bar and then wrap individually for storage so it doesn't dry out.
***I should mention that I didn't add the chocolate chips into the batter but decided to sprinkle them on the top and then pat them into the top of the bar. ****
This would be easy to make peanut free. Just choose your dry ingredients carefully. Here are some thing you could make them with in addition to the oat meal and wheat germ, which you could add more of it you wanted.
- ground flax
- chocolate chips
- dried fruit pieces (kiwi, mango, pineapple, banana chips)
- corn meal
- cream of wheat
- any ground up cereal
For more tips about how to be frugal check out biblical womenhood
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
I found this delicious cake recipe that I would like to share. It was easy to make and taste delicious. I made it in a 9*13 pan so it made a lot.
The only problem with most recipes for Zucchini is that they only take 1-2 cups for the shredded stuff. So I shredded up the rest and placed in 1 cup portions in the freezer. I have so many bags its crazy. So I am asking you if you have a recipe that uses zucchini please comment and leave your link.
I did try Niki's butterscotch zucchini bread. It smelled so yummy in the oven but I haven't got to taste it yet.
Monday, August 25, 2008
WOW its Monday all ready and since we have been away all weekend I am a little slow with the plan. This is going to be a busy week for our house because we are getting ready for a family camping trip. That means I will be doing a lot of baking this week so we have foods for the trip. If anyone has any great camping recipes or favorite camp snacks please comment and let me know, I would love to hear your ideas.
So far on the camping list to make is
Baked Tortilla chips
Kitchen Sink Cookies
As for what we are eating it will be a short week for us.
Monday: Friends house for supper
Tuesday: Calzones, salad
Wednesday: Honey garlic ribs, rice and vegetables (Happy 3 rd anniversary to us!!)
Thursday: Clean out the fridge
Friday: Picnic in the car
A great sale this week if you are in NB and drink frozen OJ. Minute Maid is 1.00/ can. This is a great deal as it has gone up in price to $1. 49 for No Name brand.
For great meal plan ideas hope over to organize junkie to check them out. Also she is having a give away so be sure to post your meal plan to enter the draw.
Friday, August 22, 2008
Of course I had the big white one for the silver wear but the other stuff was just floating about in there. So I used a long container to hold my measuring spoons and two square ones to hold the Popsicle sticks and all the mini baby spoons. The chop sticks and large knife tuck in nicely now that these containers are there.
This second draw was the worst nightmare as I was always playing with it trying to get it to open. So I condensed then organized into these baskets.
This was definitely $2 well spent!
Thursday, August 21, 2008
The idea to organize the freezer into basket sections came when I started making baby food. It was so cluttered that I couldn't find anything and when I did it was so covered in freezer burn you could hardly make out what it was. And you all know I didn't want to come home finding hubby feeding the baby the wrong thing!!
So I headed down to the local dollar store and stocked up on these wonderful bins. I placed them in the freezer and made categories for each of them.
This top blue bin is filled with meats. Mostly portioned pizza meat, hot dogs and cheese so its what hubby and I call the pizza bin. The bottom green one has left overs or portioned out sub sauce, pizza sauce, tomato paste and crushed tomatoes. The big cool whip container is not the yummy whip topping you think it is but its actually gravy. This bucket comes in handy for days when you just need to make home made poutine.
The other bins house our veggies, fruit and of course baby food. And like always there is some miscellaneous stuff is on the top shelf. My baking supplies such as chocolate chips, nuts, butter milk and liquid egg are kept on the freezer door.
So let me know how you keep these spaces organized. I know my friend Niki did a great post on her organized fridge.
For more tips on how to be Frugal check out Biblical Womanhood
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
You see all the leftovers used to be kept in their individual baggie from the bulk barn and stored in a large Tupperware that didn't have a lid because it wouldn't fit. This was just not working for me as I would always mange to buy more of a spice that I had buried deep down in the bottom of baggie mountain. So after removing all the labels from the baby food jars I simply filled them up with the left overs, labeled them with my kitchen sharpie and stored them in these aluminum dishes from the dollar store. The baby jars work great because you can see through which helps and they can be easily labeled and stored.
Now I don't know about the rest of you but my spice rack holds about 20 spices. Its a nice one and I love it, but not all the spices that I enjoy or use often can fit into the rack. So to fix this problem I created a portable spice container which is located at a convenient space right inside the cupboard.
May of these spices are used daily so they basket is great as I can take it in and out of the cupboard quickly and don't have to dig through all the other spices to get at it.
Any reusable container (lots of glass jars) have been washed out and made containers in my cupboards. I love it as it helps reduce all the plastic bag confusion in the cupboard.
This is the bean/lentil section of the cupboard and the picture below is the snack/ salad fixing part.
Other ideas for containers that I love to use are:
Any left over glass jar
Hot chocolate containers
Peanut containers (great for baking powder and soda since I buy these at bulk barn)
Peanut butter jars
Small plastic containers such as sour cream and yogurt
What are some things you find helpful to keep the cupboards tidy?
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
I know that its small but it sure does the trick. After living in a one bedroom apartment with a small kitchen that had only one sink this kitchen is high class for me.
I wanted to take this week to show you all how my kitchen works, share with you some tips for maximizing space and show you some of my new organization skills that I have been putting into practice.
First is counter space. This is something that is very important when you bake, especially breads, to have as much space as you can. It's hard to get counter space these days since they house very important kitchen essentials such as the coffee maker and toaster. Plus we have lots of bulky appliances that make our lives easy just to name a few there are toaster ovens, sandwich grills, inside grills, blenders, food processors and the list goes on. One thing that I find helpful is to store appliances that are not used everyday somewhere besides my counter top and just have the important "used daily" ones out. For me that's the coffee pot and toaster. Another unit that takes up lots of space is the microwave.
This microwave stand was a great gift given to us by a dear friend when we moved into our place. It saves so much counter space and fits nicely into our kitchen. It is also great because the top shelf holds all our place mats, table clothes and a little basket that has our cloth napkins. And the bottom shelf (which is closed-in in the back) has my cook books.
* oh ya and another thing that is always on the counter is a block of knifes and a bucket filled with cooking utensils.
Monday, August 18, 2008
Another Monday here again and another week of yummy meals. Last week I was busy preparing peach and blueberry jam. I have to re-boil the blueberry jam because it didn't set. Its still pretty runny in the jar. I have found that I like to use my older frozen berries from last years batch to make my jam and use the newer ones for baking, eating and then freeze them of course for next years jam. The peach jam turned out fantastic and if I can pick up a basket for cheap this week I will be making another batch.
This past weekend I made french bread using a recipe I found. It turned out better then I was anticipating. Because it uses a lot of whole wheat flour I couldn't seem to get the dough to a good consistency. After much kneading I finally gave up and let it raise. It doubled nicely but I was only able to get 3 loafs out of it instead of 4.
So far with the bread I made homemade garlic bread last night to accompany our spaghetti feed.
1 16-ounce loaf of Italian bread or French bread
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
2 large cloves of garlic, smashed and minced
1 heaping tablespoon of freshly chopped parsley
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
Preheat oven to 350°F. Make the butter, garlic, parsley mixture as above. Make 1-inch thick slices into the bread, but do not go all the way through, just to the bottom crust. Put a teaspoon or two of the butter mixture between each slice. Wrap the bread in aluminum foil and heat for 15 minutes in the oven.Another recipe I tried out with our french bread was Peach stuffed french toast. Below is the original recipe. I didn't make such a big batch because we are just a small family.
| Stuffed Peach French Toast presented by Adventurers' Country Bed & Breakfast and Horse Motel|
In blender, combine softened cream cheese and preserves. Make a pocket in sliced french bread and stuff each piece with 2 tablespoons of mixture. Place in single layer in large pan or dish. With wire whisk, combine eggs, milk sugar and vanilla. Pour mixture over bread, turning once. Do this carefully, so the bread will stay together. Cover with saran wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Remove from refrigerator 1/2 hour before cooking, so it will warm up. Grill, till brown, on both sides. Do not press down on bread while cooking. Slice fresh peaches and mix sugar, to your taste, to make a syrup. Toss gently. Serve each piece of toast with peach mixture and powdered sugar. Also good with maple syrup.
This was such a delicious treat this morning. It was easy to do since you prepare it the night before. So all hubby had to do this morning was take it out of the refrigerator when he got up and slap them on the grill 30 minutes later. We enjoyed our french toast with some fresh peach and maple syrup. (Sorry there isn't any picture...they were so good we wanted to enjoy them hot and didn't want to wait to take a snap shot).
Now back to meal planning....
Last weeks menu got rearranged because we had an abundance of left overs in the fridge that I didn't want to see go to waste so we sadly traded in Mexican night for a left over buffet. We also didn't get around to making a chicken pizza either but I am still looking for a good BBQ chicken pizza recipe if anyone would like to share. So here is the plan for this week.
Monday: MexicanMesagna and salad
Tuesday: Baked beans and potato scallop
Thursday: Left overs
Friday: BBQ chicken and couscous salad ( anyone have a great recipe)
Hey this week I will be doing a feature on my kitchen. I am calling it the Kitchen Make Over. I will posting on my new and improved kitchen (now that its organized) and giving tips on how to make your kitchen easy to use!
But for more great meal plans check out Organizing Junkie
Sunday, August 17, 2008
You see each Saturday we usually pack the little family up in the car and head down to the local farmers market. This is because we love buying local meat and vegetables because its cheaper then the grocery store and it taste better. While there last week scooting around checking out the prices of all the different farmers we just happened to see a large sign at SpringBrook Farm. PORK PACK $20. After questioning the man about the sign are bag was loaded with
1 large ham steak
1 large oven roast
Pork stew meat
4 HUGE pork chops
and Maple Bacon
Before leaving we always stop by Harry's Pizza to say hi to our wonderful friend. He also had wonderful things to say about this farm and the quality of their products. One thing he recommended to us was to try their Hickory Smoked Pork Burgers!!! Well on our way out the door I ran back to the their booth to get a price list and a brochure to add to my home binder so I could compare the prices and have their contact information on hand and well chatting with the nice gentlemen I told him that they next time we were there we would have to try these. The next thing I knew we were skipping out the market doors with them, excited to BBQ after church the next day!
Hubby did a wonderful job BBQ them. He was very impressed with how well they stayed together and how they didn't shrink one bit!! The taste of these BIG guys was explosive it was such a delicious burger. They are on the top of our summer time BBQ list.
SpringBrook farmers is a family business that does not use steroids, hormones or tenderizers. There is no pesticides, drugs, chemicals or vaccines. If you would like to contact them you may do so at firstname.lastname@example.org and if you are from the maritimes you will find these guys at the following markets
Friday, August 15, 2008
When I first starting freezing things I would just put the whole thing in the freezer (except for meats, I would always portion them) however I just never thought to portions other things. Well everything seems to come with experience and I have been getting better at freezing in portion sizes. I am finding out that there are a lot of things that can be frozen in portions so here are just a few that I have found work great.
I know there is the classic just add vinegar to your milk but sometimes I just really enjoy adding this lovely flavor to cinnamon buns, pancakes or corn bread. However most recipes only call for about 1 cup; leaving you with a container of butter milk that has lots of potential for going bad so I used trusty old google to search if this can be frozen and sure enough it can. So I carefully measured out 1 cup portions, placed in Ziploc baggies, labeled and frozen them. I just got a chance to use them the other day when I made Cranberry Chocolate Muffins and zucchini chocolate cake. It thaws quickly when I placed the baggie into a cup of hot tap water. Give it a shake and it is ready to be added to the recipe.
This is great as I make my own pizza sauce. I simply make a batch and then I place it into mini jars, label and freeze. One jar is enough for one pizza. To thaw I simply place in cold water that way I don't have to worry about the glass breaking and it doesn't take forever if I forget to take it out over night.
This one is great. I buy a pack of meat (pepperoni, salami and ham) then I simply cut them in half and divide them into a little piles. Then bag the piles, label and stick in the freezer. When I make pizza I just take one out and use that for the meat.
Hot dogs and hamburgers
I use to just freeze the whole package of hot dogs then spend at least 10 minutes trying to use my mussels to get one or two hot dogs free from the frozen pack. Now when I bring them home from the grocery store I divide them 2 per bag and freeze. That way they are ready to go when I need them. Also instead of freezing the whole bag of hot dog and hamburger buns I freeze them 2 per bag so they are quick and easy to thaw for hubby and I.
I don't always freeze these in portions but I have found it helpful when buying things like peppers on clearance. Usually they aren't too bad so I seed them and cut them in quarters. Freeze them on a cookie sheet then place in a baggie. When a recipe calls for peppers (soup, casseroles) I simply get it out of the freezer, cut it up frozen and put it in the recipe. For other veggies such as celery I slice it up and freeze in 1 cup baggies that way I just drop a bag into soups and casseroles.
This time of year vegetables such as zucchini is great for shredding and freezing in 2 cup portions then you can simple pop it into your favorite zucchini bread or cake recipe.
So there are just a few items that freeze well in portions. Of course left overs freeze well in individual portions for hubby's lunch. It just makes baking and cooking easier when you have the ingredients frozen in portions that your recipes call for; that way you aren't waiting around for ever for something to thaw and you don't have to find ways to use up the whole quantity. If there are other things you freeze please share your secrets!
For other money saving tips visit biblical women hood.
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Let me help you. Last week I had planned on making Mexican Lentil Casserole. This is a recipe that I must admit I have tried to make before and was only successful once (out of 3 that's not too bad). So now I am admitting that I don't know how to cook lentils. Is there a trick that someone isn't telling me. Well if so let me first tell you what I did to get this mess (and yes I followed the recipe).
To cook this wonderful meal it says that I needed to saute my onions, celery and green peppers in a sauce pan. Then add 4 cups of water and 1 cup of lentils; cook them covered for 40 minutes. Well this is what my beautiful red lentils turned out after that 40 minutes. Should I not have used red lentils??
If anyone has any advice for me I would love to hear it. This recipe is delicious when the lentils turn out which has been, like I said, once for me!
After much sluking I did suck it up and doctor up this goop to get a decent supper. I used it kind of like a cream soup mix (since the rice was made for the lentil casserole). I added some spices to it, lots of curry, cumin and cinamon, and added it to my cooked rice. Then I added some black beans I had in the freezer, salsa and LOTS of cheese (that seems to make everything taste good). I baked it at 300 for about 20 minutes.
The creation didn't stop there. Once cooked I stuffed this Mexican lentil mess into the delicious pitas I made, topped with salsa and called it yummy!!!
So in the end I was able to save us from having to spend $6.00 buying 2 cheeseburger platters from Deluxe French Fries.
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
The recipe was easy to follow and called for ingredients that were around the house. One ingredient it called for was butter milk. I know that this ingredient can be easily made by adding 1 Tbsp of vinegar to 1 cup of milk but I have been looking for recipe that called for this lovely ingredient because a while back I decided to freeze butter milk in one cup portions; so now it was time to see if the flavor and texture would remain the same. I did make some alterations to the recipe; I used 1/2 cup of chocolate chips, 1/2 cup dried cranberries and a few shakes of wheat bran.
The verdict: Once the batter was mixed it looked really thick and I didn't think that it would turn out. However they did and they tasted yummy. Next time I make these I would add 1/4 cup of apple sauce and 1/4 cup of oi.l
Monday, August 11, 2008
We had some last minute adjustments to last weeks menu. We didn't end up going to our NB day BBQ but instead had some wonderful friends over to enjoy supper. This was a good thing because it finally forced me to clean out the freezer and up date my freezer inventory list. This is such a wonderful thing to have on hand. Because by having it on hand (placed in section number 1 of my house binder) you don't find things down at the very bottom smothered in freezer burn. Luckily I didn't have to throw anything away and I was happy to find some hidden treasures that will be used in this weeks menu! I will posting later this week some ideas for freezing foods in portion sizes so make sure to check back!
Here is this weeks menu. A couple of evening are up in the air as we have some stuff planned so it will be a short cooking week. I do hope to get some yogurt made and also some bread. I did just receive a bread maker from my mother who just wanted to get rid of the clunky thing that was taking up way to much space in her house...so she shipped it off to me! So if any of you have a favorite bread maker recipe please let me know I am anxious to try.
Monday: Pork chops, mashed potatoes and corn on the cob
Tuesday: Sweet and Sour Sausages, Rice and veggies
Wednesday: No supper needed
Thursday: Mexican Mesagna (see below) and Salad
Friday: Chicken Pizza (anyone have a good recipe?) and vegetable sticks
Saturday: Spaghetti, garlic bread (maybe in the bread maker?), Caesar salad
Sunday: Left overs
Now this is a Peterson Favorite. There are no really amounts for the ingredients so you just put them together the way you like and hope that it turns out....heheh..
Med. Can of Tomato Paste
Water ( fill the tomato paste can up)
One cup cooked rice
1-2 cans of black, kidney or maple beans (depends on how much you like them)
6 tortilla shells
1. Fry hamburger, garlic and onions. You can add salt, pepper and Worcestershire sauce for flavor. Drain Grease.
2. Add Taco seasoning, tomato paste, water (usually you only need the amount that fits in the empty paste can) and some salsa. Let simmer low heat ~ 15 minutes.
3. Well simmering you can cook rice. Rice is something that stores well so I usually cook this up any day of the week when this is on the plan just to save time.
4. Grate cheese. This is usually also done in advance.
5. Open beans and get out tortillas. * real easy step*
6. Once all your ingredients are together you can start to assemble.
7. In a 9 * 13 pan layer
and top with cheese
For more" cheesyness" add some cheese whiz to the top.
Bake at 350 for 30 minutes
If you like it more spicy you can add any kind of hot peppers to your hamburger meat.
For more great ideas head on over to Meal Planning Plan at Organizing Junkie
Friday, August 8, 2008
I did make an alteration to the recipe so here are my tips for making great homemade pitas
3 cups flour (1 cup 7 grain flour and 2 cups white)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 Tablespoon sugar
2 1/4 tsp traditional yeast
1 1/4 cups water, roughly at room temperature
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
I used tradition yeast so I followed the instructions on the package mixing together 2 1/4 tsp of yeast with 1/4 cup of water and a sprinkle of sugar. I let that sit for about 10 minutes. Then I added the rest of the ingredients. (I am not sure if that is what you are suppose to do when you are working with tradition yeast or if you pour the yeast into the other ingredients, if anyone knows could you let me know). When I turned the dough out onto a floured surface I made sure my hands where floured as well and that I had lots of extra flour close by because the dough seemed very sticky. It took me a little while to get it the elastic consistency you want it to be. After the dough doubled in size (90 minutes or so) I punched it down and divided it into 10 balls.
Well the dough was resting I placed my pizza stone in the oven and preheated it to 400 degrees. This is an important step because it is the high heat the makes the pita fluff and separate the way you want them to. The dough was very easy to roll out...although I didn't always get a perfect circle.
Once you have your circle simply place the dough onto the hot stone and bake for 3 minutes. This is what will happen after approximately 2 minutes in the oven.
Remove from oven after 3 minutes (some of mine I baked for 4 or 5 for a more crispy pita) and place on a cooling rack.
I found that by the 4th pita they weren't fluffing as much so I decided to let the oven heat up again by leaving it for 5 minutes. Then I thought since the back of my oven gets the hottest that I would try to place the pita more towards the back of the stone. This worked out very well and ensured all my pitas were fluffy.
So here is the final product; 10 delicious homemade pitas.
They split apart nicely and we have been enjoying them everyday. I like mine warmed up and stuffed with peanut butter or almond butter. Last night we enjoyed them with our Mexican meal.
Now if any one has advice on how to store these that would be great. Right now I have them in the refrigerator but I think that I will try to freeze some.
Thursday, August 7, 2008
Here is a photo of last nights supper Butter Chicken served over scented rice with homemade pitas (the two that didn't rise). It turned out pretty good. I still need to tweak the recipe a bit. I did end up adding more chili powder, turmeric and lots more cinnamon. After looking at this recipe in my Indian cook book I decide to add ground cardamon and nutmeg. Also instead of using diced tomatoes I decided to use crushed because hubby doesn't like diced tomatoes.
Verdict: It wasn't the flavor that I was looking for but its not a failure yet (hubby really loved it). I will continue to tweak the recipe until I get the flavor that I want. If any of you make this recipe please let me know your recipe or spices that you use.
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
I simply combined and refrigerated
1/2 cup margarine
2-4 Tbsp crushed strawberries
This complimented banana bread very nicely. It can also be used on pancakes, waffles, lemon loaf or poppy seed cake.
I like the idea of added some flavor to our margarine. If you make fruit butters or herb butter please send me the recipe I would love to try them.
This recipe freezes well (making it great for when company comes over) and can be great given in a small tin as a gift with some fresh baked scones or biscuits.
Monday, August 4, 2008
This is just a quick meal plan for my week.
Monday: Porky Joes on garlic hamburger buns, squash and fiddle heads
Tuesday: Butter Chicken over Rice
Wednesday: Mexican Lentil casserole and pitas
Thursday: Hodge Podge, sausages and biscuits
For more meal ideas check out Organizing Junkie