Wednesday, December 5, 2012



First, let me start with an apology for my recent absence.  I have been trying to get the house in order, and doing lots of holiday activities with Laura, our 2 year old.  Also, I must admit that my couponing has been taking up the majority of my free time.  Since I haven't been on in a while, I will share with you one of the ultimate frugal recipes.



Dried beans are a great way to stretch your food dollar!  They are super inexpensive and the one pound bag takes the place of several (about 4 or 5) cans of beans.  Some people are intimidated by dried beans because of the work involved.  There is nothing to it, and it is well worth the nearly 80% savings you can get just by planning a little ahead.  The night before you want to cook your beans you need to soak them.  To do this, you just get a pan that has a tight fitting lid.  Pour beans into your hand in small quantities, check for small pebbles (it happens) and 'bad' beans, and pour into the pan.  Once you have the amount of beans you need, add enough water to cover the beans by several inches.  Cover the pan and leave it alone until the next morning.

The next day, take your pan and put it on medium heat, lid still in place.  Do not add salt or other seasonings at this point, but you may add any meat you would like in your beans (for the Pasta Fazool recipe, we do not add any meat).  Cook for several hours until tender, turning down to med-low after an hour or two until tender.  Your beans do not have to be floating in water, but they do need to be covered with water during the whole process or they will dry out again.

For Pasta Fazool, we use cannellini or great northern beans.  After the beans are tender, you could pull out your 2 cups of beans, and season the rest to be eaten as a side dish later on in the week.

Pasta Fazool- a.k.a Pasta Fagioli or Pasta and Beans

2-3 cups cooked cannellini or great northern beans (or 1-2 cans of beans)
1 rib celery, finely chopped or minced
2-4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped, or 1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 cup olive oil
2-4 cups peeled, seeded and chopped or 2 cans of tomatoes
1 Tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 cup water
Bell pepper, hot shot, crushed red pepper flakes, or other source of heat to your taste
8 oz spaghetti, broken into 1 inch pieces

Cook the celery and garlic (and pepper if you are using whole raw peppers) in olive oil in a large sauce pot over moderate heat.  When garlic is golden, add tomatoes, tomato paste, water, salt and pepper to taste.  Simmer for 10 minutes, until sauce is slightly thickened   

Add the beans and some of their cooking liquid (or canned beans un-drained).  Bring the mixture to a simmer, mashing some of the beans with the back of a spoon.

Stir in the pasta and cook, stirring often, until the pasta is al dente or to desired tenderness.  The mixture should be very thick, but more water can be added if you like a thinner dish.


This recipe is a great way to change up your pasta night!  It is also much cheaper than making meat sauce for your spaghetti.  This recipe has been husband and two year old tested and approved.

6:16 AM Christine D


First, let me start with an apology for my recent absence.  I have been trying to get the house in order, and doing lots of holiday activities with Laura, our 2 year old.  Also, I must admit that my couponing has been taking up the majority of my free time.  Since I haven't been on in a while, I will share with you one of the ultimate frugal recipes.



Dried beans are a great way to stretch your food dollar!  They are super inexpensive and the one pound bag takes the place of several (about 4 or 5) cans of beans.  Some people are intimidated by dried beans because of the work involved.  There is nothing to it, and it is well worth the nearly 80% savings you can get just by planning a little ahead.  The night before you want to cook your beans you need to soak them.  To do this, you just get a pan that has a tight fitting lid.  Pour beans into your hand in small quantities, check for small pebbles (it happens) and 'bad' beans, and pour into the pan.  Once you have the amount of beans you need, add enough water to cover the beans by several inches.  Cover the pan and leave it alone until the next morning.

The next day, take your pan and put it on medium heat, lid still in place.  Do not add salt or other seasonings at this point, but you may add any meat you would like in your beans (for the Pasta Fazool recipe, we do not add any meat).  Cook for several hours until tender, turning down to med-low after an hour or two until tender.  Your beans do not have to be floating in water, but they do need to be covered with water during the whole process or they will dry out again.

For Pasta Fazool, we use cannellini or great northern beans.  After the beans are tender, you could pull out your 2 cups of beans, and season the rest to be eaten as a side dish later on in the week.

Pasta Fazool- a.k.a Pasta Fagioli or Pasta and Beans

2-3 cups cooked cannellini or great northern beans (or 1-2 cans of beans)
1 rib celery, finely chopped or minced
2-4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped, or 1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 cup olive oil
2-4 cups peeled, seeded and chopped or 2 cans of tomatoes
1 Tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 cup water
Bell pepper, hot shot, crushed red pepper flakes, or other source of heat to your taste
8 oz spaghetti, broken into 1 inch pieces

Cook the celery and garlic (and pepper if you are using whole raw peppers) in olive oil in a large sauce pot over moderate heat.  When garlic is golden, add tomatoes, tomato paste, water, salt and pepper to taste.  Simmer for 10 minutes, until sauce is slightly thickened   

Add the beans and some of their cooking liquid (or canned beans un-drained).  Bring the mixture to a simmer, mashing some of the beans with the back of a spoon.

Stir in the pasta and cook, stirring often, until the pasta is al dente or to desired tenderness.  The mixture should be very thick, but more water can be added if you like a thinner dish.


This recipe is a great way to change up your pasta night!  It is also much cheaper than making meat sauce for your spaghetti.  This recipe has been husband and two year old tested and approved.

Saturday, October 6, 2012




My mother pointed this out to me:  We all know some ways we can eat more cheaply, but that doesn't always leave us eating the healthiest of foods. She is trying (and succeeding) to lose weight while on a budget. Why is it that it is so much easier to eat junk food when you are on a budget?  The fact is, that if you don't mind preparing more of your meals yourself (yes, using raw ingredients) and staying away from prepackaged foods, you can easily eat healthy on a budget.

1.  Eat Less Meat

Cutting back on meat is very popular right now?  Some do it because "so and so did", but here's why it is actually a good idea.  Not only is meat an inefficient way of getting our calories and protein, but it is also expensive.  There are many other, more efficient (both in terms of nutrition and budget) ways of getting your daily protein.  
  • Whole grains (especially quinoa) One cup of quinoa has 18g of protein and 9g of fiber!
  • Beans, lentils, and other legumes
  • Peanut butter, nuts, and seeds
  • Eggs

Emphasize grains and legumes.  
They add a heaviness to a meal that most people rely on meat for.

Dried beans and other legumes are nutritional superstars (and are super cheap.  They don't always have to be the side dish either.  They are great in a variety of dishes as either stretchers (more on that later)  or as the main ingredient because they provide plant based protein and fiver.  Even though it takes longer to prepare dried beans (what with the soaking and all), the results are well worth it because you get less sodium and 5x more beans for your money than with canned.

Grains such as pasta and rice can definitely stretch your food dollar.  Meatless meals where pasta or rice are served make you feel more full, and if you use whole grain pasta or rice, you will have the added bonus of fiber and protein.

2.  Buy Locally 

Go to local farmers markets to buy local seasonal foods.  Often at these places, you are buying directly from the farmer, so you get fresher and cheaper food.  If you just want run of the mill veggies, most towns and cities have some pop up produce stands when crops are abundant.  Some local farms will even allow visitors and let you buy directly from them on site.  Some of these farms even have "u pick" veggies at a much cheaper rate.  

Where I used to live before I moved to Florida, (the Tennessee side of the Kentucky/Tennessee state line right by I-65) we were lucky to live near a community of Amish and Minonites.  It is called Perrrytown and is in Kentucky.   They had several stores that were open year round with dry goods (bulk grocery items, canned goods, etc.), but in the summer the produce markets opened up!  There were several in the community, so the prices were competitive.  They had a shipping center where the minonites would sell many of their crops to be shipped to local grocery stores.  


3. Eat Seasonally

Seasonal foods are not only at their peak of flavor and nutrition, they often cost less since they don't need to be shipped in from other places (like other continents).  What fruits and veggies are in season where I live???  When your favorite fruits and veggies are in season, preserve them with freezing, canning or drying!

4.  Grow your own.

Being able to go outside and pick your own tomato for your sandwich is certainly the freshest way to get one.  It can also be the cheapest. . . if you plan correctly.  If you grown too big of a garden, you could end up with more money invested in the veggies you do use.  Also, if you buy all expensive starts from Lowe's or Home Depot, you may not end up getting the best deal.  It is more economical to start your veggies from seed.  If you make the one time investment of buying heirloom seeds, then they can be collected from your crop and used for the next year.  

Growing your own garden does not mean you have to have a quarter acre designated to your veggies.  Some of us just don't have the space or the time.  A small kitchen garden can be grown on your back patio in containers.  One squash plant in a hanging basket, for instance, may provide enough squash for your family throughout it's growing season.  Two bean plants may provide enough for dinner and it will continue to produce as long as you keep it picked and the weather cooperates.  One tomato plant in a pot will definitely provide plenty of b.l.t.s, but may even give you enough for a batch or two of sauce that can be frozen for future use.  Herbs are always a good addition to a patio garden, or even a window sill garden!  Have fun and try different things.

One really neat gardening trick, is the everlasting green onions!  You take one bunch of store bought green onions.  When you cut off the bottom inch of the onion bulb, don't throw it away!!!  Plant them for the next time you need green onions.  In just a few weeks, you will have a whole other batch of onions, ready for your recipes!

5.  Preserve it When it's Cheap


I've already mentioned canning, drying and freezing your local produce when you can find it cheap. Many foods will freeze well.  If boneless chicken breast is on sale, buy a bunch, divide it into smaller portions to be used in cooking, and freeze.  Same thing with other meats such as hamburger, steaks, turkey, etc.  

Another way to preserve meals is to go ahead and assemble the meals in ready to cook packs.  Slow cooker meals are especially good for this.  For instance, freeze 2 pork chops in the water and barbecue sauce with onion to make slow cooker pulled pork.  

Similarly, you can also cook the meals to be reheated later.  Make sure if you do this, you use containers that can be used to cook in.  Foil pans are great for anything that will need to be put in the oven to reheat.

6.  Skip the Processed Foods!


Some processed or prepackaged meals may seem cheaper (more convenient, anyway).  The real steal in these ready to use meals is in the nourishment they provide.   Their empty calories will leave us still hungry for the nourishment our bodies require.

Many processed foods can be duplicated for less at home.


Frozen waffles, tv dinners, baked goods, prepackaged kids lunches, etc. can be easily assembled in your kitchen for less.  Some can even be assembled and frozen for convenient use later.  Many other processed foods (candy, chips, soda) are foods that we are better off without and serve us best as a special (and rare) treat.

7. Buy the Whole Chicken


Instead of buying chicken piece by piece, plan meals that use breast and thighs on different nights.  Chicken legs and wings can be frozen until you have enough to make a separate meal of just legs or wings.  You can also roast a whole chicken and use your leftovers in recipes calling for chopped or shredded cooked chicken.  Whole chickens can be found for around $0.90 per lb, compared to $3.00 per lb (or higher) for individual parts.

8. Stretchers


Adding  cheap healthy foods (that don't have an overbearing flavor that could change the flavor of your dishes too drastically) to your favorite recipes will help 'stretch' your food dollar and can even help conceal veggies from those who wouldn't normally eat them (maybe even yourself? ).  For instance, cauliflower can replace half of the potatoes in your mashed potatoes.  It doesn't change the flavor, and when well cooked and mashed, doesn't change the texture either.  

Stretchers don't have to stay hidden.  Add veggies or legumes to many recipes to 'stretch' it AND make it healthier.



The best way to eat cheaper and healthier is to make a plan specifically for your family.  Start by writing down everything you eat for a week, and save your receipts from the grocery store.  From there, tweak the foods you eat to make them healthier, see what prepackaged foods can be made yourself, and how else you can use your grocery money more effectively.  Also, limit the amount of meals you eat out.

Until next time. . . 

  



8:39 AM Christine D



My mother pointed this out to me:  We all know some ways we can eat more cheaply, but that doesn't always leave us eating the healthiest of foods. She is trying (and succeeding) to lose weight while on a budget. Why is it that it is so much easier to eat junk food when you are on a budget?  The fact is, that if you don't mind preparing more of your meals yourself (yes, using raw ingredients) and staying away from prepackaged foods, you can easily eat healthy on a budget.

1.  Eat Less Meat

Cutting back on meat is very popular right now?  Some do it because "so and so did", but here's why it is actually a good idea.  Not only is meat an inefficient way of getting our calories and protein, but it is also expensive.  There are many other, more efficient (both in terms of nutrition and budget) ways of getting your daily protein.  
  • Whole grains (especially quinoa) One cup of quinoa has 18g of protein and 9g of fiber!
  • Beans, lentils, and other legumes
  • Peanut butter, nuts, and seeds
  • Eggs

Emphasize grains and legumes.  
They add a heaviness to a meal that most people rely on meat for.

Dried beans and other legumes are nutritional superstars (and are super cheap.  They don't always have to be the side dish either.  They are great in a variety of dishes as either stretchers (more on that later)  or as the main ingredient because they provide plant based protein and fiver.  Even though it takes longer to prepare dried beans (what with the soaking and all), the results are well worth it because you get less sodium and 5x more beans for your money than with canned.

Grains such as pasta and rice can definitely stretch your food dollar.  Meatless meals where pasta or rice are served make you feel more full, and if you use whole grain pasta or rice, you will have the added bonus of fiber and protein.

2.  Buy Locally 

Go to local farmers markets to buy local seasonal foods.  Often at these places, you are buying directly from the farmer, so you get fresher and cheaper food.  If you just want run of the mill veggies, most towns and cities have some pop up produce stands when crops are abundant.  Some local farms will even allow visitors and let you buy directly from them on site.  Some of these farms even have "u pick" veggies at a much cheaper rate.  

Where I used to live before I moved to Florida, (the Tennessee side of the Kentucky/Tennessee state line right by I-65) we were lucky to live near a community of Amish and Minonites.  It is called Perrrytown and is in Kentucky.   They had several stores that were open year round with dry goods (bulk grocery items, canned goods, etc.), but in the summer the produce markets opened up!  There were several in the community, so the prices were competitive.  They had a shipping center where the minonites would sell many of their crops to be shipped to local grocery stores.  


3. Eat Seasonally

Seasonal foods are not only at their peak of flavor and nutrition, they often cost less since they don't need to be shipped in from other places (like other continents).  What fruits and veggies are in season where I live???  When your favorite fruits and veggies are in season, preserve them with freezing, canning or drying!

4.  Grow your own.

Being able to go outside and pick your own tomato for your sandwich is certainly the freshest way to get one.  It can also be the cheapest. . . if you plan correctly.  If you grown too big of a garden, you could end up with more money invested in the veggies you do use.  Also, if you buy all expensive starts from Lowe's or Home Depot, you may not end up getting the best deal.  It is more economical to start your veggies from seed.  If you make the one time investment of buying heirloom seeds, then they can be collected from your crop and used for the next year.  

Growing your own garden does not mean you have to have a quarter acre designated to your veggies.  Some of us just don't have the space or the time.  A small kitchen garden can be grown on your back patio in containers.  One squash plant in a hanging basket, for instance, may provide enough squash for your family throughout it's growing season.  Two bean plants may provide enough for dinner and it will continue to produce as long as you keep it picked and the weather cooperates.  One tomato plant in a pot will definitely provide plenty of b.l.t.s, but may even give you enough for a batch or two of sauce that can be frozen for future use.  Herbs are always a good addition to a patio garden, or even a window sill garden!  Have fun and try different things.

One really neat gardening trick, is the everlasting green onions!  You take one bunch of store bought green onions.  When you cut off the bottom inch of the onion bulb, don't throw it away!!!  Plant them for the next time you need green onions.  In just a few weeks, you will have a whole other batch of onions, ready for your recipes!

5.  Preserve it When it's Cheap


I've already mentioned canning, drying and freezing your local produce when you can find it cheap. Many foods will freeze well.  If boneless chicken breast is on sale, buy a bunch, divide it into smaller portions to be used in cooking, and freeze.  Same thing with other meats such as hamburger, steaks, turkey, etc.  

Another way to preserve meals is to go ahead and assemble the meals in ready to cook packs.  Slow cooker meals are especially good for this.  For instance, freeze 2 pork chops in the water and barbecue sauce with onion to make slow cooker pulled pork.  

Similarly, you can also cook the meals to be reheated later.  Make sure if you do this, you use containers that can be used to cook in.  Foil pans are great for anything that will need to be put in the oven to reheat.

6.  Skip the Processed Foods!


Some processed or prepackaged meals may seem cheaper (more convenient, anyway).  The real steal in these ready to use meals is in the nourishment they provide.   Their empty calories will leave us still hungry for the nourishment our bodies require.

Many processed foods can be duplicated for less at home.


Frozen waffles, tv dinners, baked goods, prepackaged kids lunches, etc. can be easily assembled in your kitchen for less.  Some can even be assembled and frozen for convenient use later.  Many other processed foods (candy, chips, soda) are foods that we are better off without and serve us best as a special (and rare) treat.

7. Buy the Whole Chicken


Instead of buying chicken piece by piece, plan meals that use breast and thighs on different nights.  Chicken legs and wings can be frozen until you have enough to make a separate meal of just legs or wings.  You can also roast a whole chicken and use your leftovers in recipes calling for chopped or shredded cooked chicken.  Whole chickens can be found for around $0.90 per lb, compared to $3.00 per lb (or higher) for individual parts.

8. Stretchers


Adding  cheap healthy foods (that don't have an overbearing flavor that could change the flavor of your dishes too drastically) to your favorite recipes will help 'stretch' your food dollar and can even help conceal veggies from those who wouldn't normally eat them (maybe even yourself? ).  For instance, cauliflower can replace half of the potatoes in your mashed potatoes.  It doesn't change the flavor, and when well cooked and mashed, doesn't change the texture either.  

Stretchers don't have to stay hidden.  Add veggies or legumes to many recipes to 'stretch' it AND make it healthier.



The best way to eat cheaper and healthier is to make a plan specifically for your family.  Start by writing down everything you eat for a week, and save your receipts from the grocery store.  From there, tweak the foods you eat to make them healthier, see what prepackaged foods can be made yourself, and how else you can use your grocery money more effectively.  Also, limit the amount of meals you eat out.

Until next time. . . 

  



Friday, October 5, 2012

So far, I have only posted recipes that are cheap to make and kept it at that.  From now on, we are going to, of course have more recipes, but we are going to talk about how you can make some of your favorite recipes more cheaply.  This way, you don't feel like you are missing out on things you already or used to make for the sake of frugality.

One of the very best ways to save on everyday recipes, is to make some of your kitchen staples homemade. For instance, I am making chicken cakes (like crab cakes only with less expensive chicken in place of the crab).  For this recipe, I need chicken, bread crumbs, veggies, and eggs.  Rather than buying canned chicken, I took one chicken breast, seasoned it up, poured some Italian dressing on it, and baked it in the oven to chop to size or shred myself.  Instead of buying bread crumbs, I toasted 5 pieces of wheat bread in the oven VERY well, and then pulsed them in my food processor until they were the right consistency.  Since the chicken breast cost about $.95 and the 5 pieces of bread cost approximately  $.18 (rather than $2.50 for a can of chicken, and 2.39 for a can of bread crumbs), I have saved about $3.76 just by making some of the ingredients myself.  If you were to save this much on your recipes twice per week, then you save $30 per month and $391 per year.  That is amazing!  Not budget saving, but every little bit helps.

There are tons of kitchen staples you can easily make yourself!  Below, I am sharing a few such recipes, along with a breakdown of how much you will save.


Homemade Chocolate Syrup


1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 cup water
2 cups sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla

Mix the cocoa powder and the water in a saucepan.  Heat and stir to dissolve the cocoa.  Add the sugar; stir to dissolve.  Boil for about three minutes on medium heat.  Be careful not to let it boil over!  Add the salt and vanilla.  Let cool.  Pour into a clean glass jar and store in the refrigerator.  Keeps for several months.  
Yield: 2 cups

Directions:  use one teaspoon per glass of chocolate milk

Savings Information:
Okay, a 48 oz bottle of hershey syrup is $3.88 at walmart.com.  It has 35 servings per container, so it's $0.11 per serving.
I bought 4 cups of natural cocoa powder from the Amish near my old house for $3.80, so the cocoa in this recipe cost $0.48.  A 5lb bag of sugar has 11 1/4 cups in it (1lb=2 1/4 cups) and costs $2.88.  So, the sugar in this recipe cost $0.51.  2 floz of vanilla is $3.48 and has 12 teaspoons in it, so it's $0.07 for the vanilla.  The salt and water cost are so slight, we'll say $0.02 as an estimate.  That means, my recipe costs a total of $1.08 to make, and has 96 servings in it (48 teaspoons in a cup), so it cost $0.01 per serving!

That's a savings of $0.10 per serving.  If you have a child that drinks 2 glasses of chocolate milk per day, then you will save $6.00 per month and $73 per year. . . just on chocolate milk!!!!


Homemade Croutons


This could not be any simpler!


2-5 of bread the thickness you want your croutons (depending on how many croutons you need)
2-4 Tablespoons of butter (again, depending on croutons needed)
Sprinkle of  Italian seasoning, garlic powder, and/or other desired seasonings

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Remove the crust from your bread slices.  Melt the butter in the microwave and stir in seasonings.  Cut your slices of bread into cubes.  Toss bread crumbs in seasoned butter and place on cookie sheet in single layer.  Cook until it crisps (about 5-10 minutes.

Now then, one of my loaves of bread costs about $0.85 to make, and I only used about 1/5 of a loaf, so lets says this recipe costs about  $0.30 to make ( got to count the butter and sprinkling of spices)
A bag of croutons costs about $2.25, so that's a savings of $1.95 for every salad with croutons!  If you have one salad with croutons a week (and we all KNOW we should eat salad more often than that), you save $7.80 a month and $101.40 per year.  

Do we get the idea yet?  I know we must be getting it.  Surely we are.  I mean, I just saved us nearly a weeks worth of groceries on bread crumbs, croutons, canned chicken and chocolate syrup. I even saved us money while cutting out things like preservatives and high fructose corn syrup!!!!   I will add more recipes for homemade kitchen staples as I find them.  



My next challenge was given to me by my Mom.  She is currently trying (and doing a damned fine job, I might add) to lose weight.  My mission is to find ways to eat healthy, low fat foods on a budget.  As if this isn't hard enough, she is super picky about health foods, especially veggies.  The ideas I suggested on the phone (frozen/canned veggies, etc) were all met with "I don't like that".  She doesn't like veggies really.  She can eat raw carrots, celery, and tomatoes.  She loves onions.  Hates peppers, broccoli, green beans, and a host of other healthy things.  My answers to her will be in the next post.  Be sure that homemade kitchen staples will play a large roll again.

Everyone else should feel free to give me "challenges" and I will do my best to meet them in a coming post.

Until next time. . . 



1:14 PM Christine D
So far, I have only posted recipes that are cheap to make and kept it at that.  From now on, we are going to, of course have more recipes, but we are going to talk about how you can make some of your favorite recipes more cheaply.  This way, you don't feel like you are missing out on things you already or used to make for the sake of frugality.

One of the very best ways to save on everyday recipes, is to make some of your kitchen staples homemade. For instance, I am making chicken cakes (like crab cakes only with less expensive chicken in place of the crab).  For this recipe, I need chicken, bread crumbs, veggies, and eggs.  Rather than buying canned chicken, I took one chicken breast, seasoned it up, poured some Italian dressing on it, and baked it in the oven to chop to size or shred myself.  Instead of buying bread crumbs, I toasted 5 pieces of wheat bread in the oven VERY well, and then pulsed them in my food processor until they were the right consistency.  Since the chicken breast cost about $.95 and the 5 pieces of bread cost approximately  $.18 (rather than $2.50 for a can of chicken, and 2.39 for a can of bread crumbs), I have saved about $3.76 just by making some of the ingredients myself.  If you were to save this much on your recipes twice per week, then you save $30 per month and $391 per year.  That is amazing!  Not budget saving, but every little bit helps.

There are tons of kitchen staples you can easily make yourself!  Below, I am sharing a few such recipes, along with a breakdown of how much you will save.


Homemade Chocolate Syrup


1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 cup water
2 cups sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla

Mix the cocoa powder and the water in a saucepan.  Heat and stir to dissolve the cocoa.  Add the sugar; stir to dissolve.  Boil for about three minutes on medium heat.  Be careful not to let it boil over!  Add the salt and vanilla.  Let cool.  Pour into a clean glass jar and store in the refrigerator.  Keeps for several months.  
Yield: 2 cups

Directions:  use one teaspoon per glass of chocolate milk

Savings Information:
Okay, a 48 oz bottle of hershey syrup is $3.88 at walmart.com.  It has 35 servings per container, so it's $0.11 per serving.
I bought 4 cups of natural cocoa powder from the Amish near my old house for $3.80, so the cocoa in this recipe cost $0.48.  A 5lb bag of sugar has 11 1/4 cups in it (1lb=2 1/4 cups) and costs $2.88.  So, the sugar in this recipe cost $0.51.  2 floz of vanilla is $3.48 and has 12 teaspoons in it, so it's $0.07 for the vanilla.  The salt and water cost are so slight, we'll say $0.02 as an estimate.  That means, my recipe costs a total of $1.08 to make, and has 96 servings in it (48 teaspoons in a cup), so it cost $0.01 per serving!

That's a savings of $0.10 per serving.  If you have a child that drinks 2 glasses of chocolate milk per day, then you will save $6.00 per month and $73 per year. . . just on chocolate milk!!!!


Homemade Croutons


This could not be any simpler!


2-5 of bread the thickness you want your croutons (depending on how many croutons you need)
2-4 Tablespoons of butter (again, depending on croutons needed)
Sprinkle of  Italian seasoning, garlic powder, and/or other desired seasonings

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Remove the crust from your bread slices.  Melt the butter in the microwave and stir in seasonings.  Cut your slices of bread into cubes.  Toss bread crumbs in seasoned butter and place on cookie sheet in single layer.  Cook until it crisps (about 5-10 minutes.

Now then, one of my loaves of bread costs about $0.85 to make, and I only used about 1/5 of a loaf, so lets says this recipe costs about  $0.30 to make ( got to count the butter and sprinkling of spices)
A bag of croutons costs about $2.25, so that's a savings of $1.95 for every salad with croutons!  If you have one salad with croutons a week (and we all KNOW we should eat salad more often than that), you save $7.80 a month and $101.40 per year.  

Do we get the idea yet?  I know we must be getting it.  Surely we are.  I mean, I just saved us nearly a weeks worth of groceries on bread crumbs, croutons, canned chicken and chocolate syrup. I even saved us money while cutting out things like preservatives and high fructose corn syrup!!!!   I will add more recipes for homemade kitchen staples as I find them.  



My next challenge was given to me by my Mom.  She is currently trying (and doing a damned fine job, I might add) to lose weight.  My mission is to find ways to eat healthy, low fat foods on a budget.  As if this isn't hard enough, she is super picky about health foods, especially veggies.  The ideas I suggested on the phone (frozen/canned veggies, etc) were all met with "I don't like that".  She doesn't like veggies really.  She can eat raw carrots, celery, and tomatoes.  She loves onions.  Hates peppers, broccoli, green beans, and a host of other healthy things.  My answers to her will be in the next post.  Be sure that homemade kitchen staples will play a large roll again.

Everyone else should feel free to give me "challenges" and I will do my best to meet them in a coming post.

Until next time. . . 



Tuesday, September 18, 2012

We all know that coupons are one of the best ways to save money.  We also all know that you can find coupons in your Sunday Paper.  Did you know that you can also get coupons straight from the manufacturer? They even tend to be for a high value (sometimes even free).  All you have to do is go to the manufacturer's website and contact them.  Some even have clubs you can join that will send you occasional recipes, tips, and coupons.  I even found one or two that had coupons you could print out directly from the website.  

Below is a list of Manufacturer website's that have been known to send out coupons.  The 'contact us' button is often found at the VERY bottom of the screen.  It will give you a form to fill out.  Be sure to fill in your correct physical and e-mail addresses, as this is how your coupons will arrive.  I just started working on this list yesterday, and have already received several  e-mails.





176 Manufacturers to Ask for Coupons



1. BirdsEye http://www.birdseye.com/
2. Sensodyone http://www.sensodyne.com/
3. Starkist Tuna http://www.starkist.com/(three FREE product coupons)
4. Idahoan http://www.idahoan.com/
5. Cole’s Garlic Bread http://www.coles.com/
6. Arm & Hammer http://www.armandhammer.com/
7. Windex http://www.windex.com/(FREE Product coupon)
8. Uncle Ben’s http://www.unclebens.com/
9. Whiskas http://www.whiskas.com/
10. Lipton http://www.liptont.com/
11. Zatarains http://www.zatarains.com/
12. Mrs. T’s Pierogies http://www.mrsts.com/
13. 9 Lives http://www.9lives.com/
14. Barber Foods http://www.barberfoods.com/
15. Banquet http://www.banquet.com/
16. Del Monte Veggies http://www.delmonte.com/
17. Blue Diamond http://www.bluediamond.com/
18. Florida’s Natural http://www.floridasnatural.com/
19. Campbell’s http://www.campbellkitchen.com/ ($2.00 off any Campbell products)
20. Jose Ole http://www.joseole.com/
21. Malt O Meal http://www.malt-o-meal.com/
22. Haagen Dazs http://www.haagen-dazs.com/
23. Tillamook http://www.tillamookcheese.com/
24. Michelena’s http://www.michelinas.com/ (2 FREE Michelena coupons)
25. Kotex http://www.kotex.com/
26. Luigi’s Italian Ice http://www.luigis.co/
27. Thomas’ http://www.thomas.gwbakeries.com/
28. Hostess http://www.twinkies.com/
29. Edy’s http://www.edys.com/
30. Tyson http://www.tyson.com/
31. Hatfield http://www.hqm.com/
32. Hillshire Farm http://www.hillshirefarm.com/
33. Purina  http://www.purina.com 
34. Eucerin http://www.eucerin.com/
35. Farm Rich http://www.farmrichfun.com/
36. Kozy Shack http://www.kozyshack.com/
37. Mt. Olive http://www.mtolivepickles.com/
38. Pilgrim’s Pride http://www.pilgrimspride.com/
39. Healthy Balance http://www.healthybalance.com/
40. Mrs. Smith’s http://www.mrssmiths.com/
41. Helluva Good http://www.helluvagood.com/
42. Perdue http://www.perdue.com/
43. Viva Paper Towel http://www.vivatowels.com/
44. Edward’s Pies http://www.edwardsbaking.com/
45. Electrasol http://www.electrasol.com/
47. Kashi http://www.kashi.com/
48. Schick http://www.shaving.com/
49. Smart Ones http://www.eatyourbest.com/
50. Georgia Pacific http://www.gp.com/
51. Ling Ling’s http://www.ling-ling.com/
52. Horizon http://www.horizonorganic.com/
53. Land O Lakes http://www.landolakes.com/
54. Sargento http://www.sargentocheese.com/
55. Dannon http://www.dannon.com/
56. Bolthouse Juice http://www.bolthouse.com/
57. Hefty http://www.pactiv.com/
58. Tribe Hummus http://www.tribehummus.com/
59. 7 Up http://www.7up.com/
60. Morningstar Farms http://www.morningstarfarms.com/
61. Welch’s http://www.welchs.com/
62. McCain’s Fries http://www.mccainusa.com/
63. Vlasic http://www.vlasic.com/
64. Stonyfield Farm http://www.stonyfield.com/
65. Keebler http://www.keebler.com/
66. Celestial Seasonings http://www.celestialseasonings.com/
67. Boboli http://www.boboli.com/
68. Entemman’s http://www.entenmanns.com/
69. Arnold Bread http://www.arnoldbread.com/
70. Freihof’s Bread http://www.freihofers.com/
71. Tree Ripe OJ http://www.johannafoods.com/juice.htm
72. Wonder Bread http://www.wonderbread.com/
73. Hebrew National http://www.hebrewnational.com/
74. St. Ives http://www.stives.com/
75. Ronzoni http://www.ronzoni.com/
76. Tropicana http://www.tropicana.com/
77. Ball Park Franks http://www.ballparkfranks.com/
78. Clorox http://www.clorox.com/
79. White Castle http://www.whitecastle.com/
80. PictSweet http://www.pictsweet.com/ (FREE product coupons)
81. Lean Cuisine http://www.leancuisine.com/
82. Olivio customerservice@olivioproducts.com
83. Tide http://www.tide.com/
84. Oust http://www.oust.com/ (FREE product coupon)
85. Chef Boyardee http://www.chefboyardee.com/
86. Propel http://www.propelwater.com/
87. Bagel Bites heinzconsumeraffairs@hjheinz.com
88. Snapple http://www.snapple.com/
89. Clearasil http://www.clearasil.us/
90. Rumba Juice http://www.rumbaenergyjuice.com/
91. Luna Bars http://www.lunabar.com/
92. Mott’s http://www.motts.com/
93. White House Applesauce http://www.whitehousefoods.com/
94. Natures Own Breads http://www.naturesownbread.com/
95. Cascadian Farms http://www.cascadianfarm.com/
96. Brach’s Candy http://www.brachs.com/
97. Fast Fixin’s http://www.fastfixin.com/
98. Carl Budding http://www.budding.com/
99. Bar-S Hot Dogs http://www.bar-s.com/($5.00 Gift Certificate and coupons)
100. Hawaiian Punch http://www.hawaiianpunch.com/
101. Bigelow Tea http://www.bigelowtea.com/
102. El Montery http://www.ruizfoods.com/
103. Wylers Soups http://www.wylers.com/
104. Nexcare http://www.nexcare.com/
105. Sunny Delight http://www.sunnydelight.com/
106. Freschetta http://www.freschetta.com/
107. Dunkin Donuts http://www.dunkindonuts.com/
108. Blistex http://www.blistex.com/
109. Little Crow Foods http://www.littlecrowfoods.com/
110. Promise http://www.promisehealthyheart.com/
111. Pepperidge Farm http://www.pepperidgefarm.com/ (FREE product coupon up to $3.00)
112. Greenies http://www.greenies.com/
113. Crayola http://www.crayola.com/
115. Gorton’s Fish http://www.gortons.com/
116. Hanes http://www.hanes.com/
117. Marie Calendar http://www.mariepies.com/
118. Pine-Sol http://www.pinesol.com/
119. Foster Farms http://www.fosterfarms.com/
120. General Mills http://www.generalmills.com/
121. Rhodes Bread customersatisfaction@rhodesbread.com
122. Breyers http://www.icecreamusa.com/breyers
123. Duncan Hines http://www.duncanhines.com/
124. Sea Pak Shrimp http://www.seapak.com/
125. Dole http://www.dole.com/
126. Mama Mary’s http://www.mamamarys.com/
127. IBC Root Beer http://www.ibcrootbeer.com/
128. Dial Soap http://www.dialcop.com/
129. Bakers Joy http://www.bakersjoy.com/
130. Jennie-O Turkey http://www.jennieo.com/
131. Barbara’s Bakery http://www.barbarasbakery.com/
132. Ian’s Natural http://www.iansnaturalfoods.com/
133. Hansen’s Beverage http://www.hansens.com/
134. Alexia Foods http://www.alexiafoods.com/
135. Brown Cow Yogurt http://www.browncowfarm.com/
136. Ocean Spray http://www.oceanspray.com/
137. Flat Out Bread feedback@flatoutbread.com
138. Rudi’s Organic http://www.rudisbakery.com/
139. Mussleman’s Applesauce http://www.knouse.com/
140. Skinny Cow http://www.skinnycow.com/
141. Baker’s Inn Bread ravindernath@bakersinn.com
142. Lactaid http://www.lactaid.com/
143. Silk Soy Milk http://www.silksoymilk.com/
144. Shady Brook Farms http://www.shadybrookfarms.com/
145. Mrs. Dash http://www.mrsdash.com/
146. Rice Dream http://www.tastethedream.com/
147. Blue Bunny http://www.bluebunny.com/
148. Sobe http://www.sobebev.com/ (FREE Sobe coupon)
149. Michangelo’s Frozen Entrees http://www.michaelangelos.com/efamily
150. Mission Tortillas http://www.missionfoods.com/
151. State Fair Corn Dogs http://www.statefairbrand.com/
152. Splenda http://www.splenda.com/
153. Equal Exchange http://www.equalexchange.com/
154. Odwalla http://www.odwalla.com/
155. Ray’s New York Bagels http://www.raysnewyorkbagels.com/
156. Nissin Noodles http://www.nissinfoods.com/
157. Yogi Tea http://www.yogitea.com/
158. Al Fresco http://www.alfrescoallnatural.com/
159. Ben and Jerry’s http://www.benandjerrys.com/
160. Tony’s Pizza http://www.tonys.com/
161. Asian Sensations comments@asiansensations.com
162. Red Baron http://www.redbaron.com/
163. Freschetta http://www.freschetta.com/
164. Gillette Venus http://www.gillettevenus.com/
165. Suave http://www.suave.com/
166. Lady Speed Stick http://www.mennen.com/
167. Jennie O http://www.jennieo.com/
168. Downy http://www.downy.com/
169. Glade http://www.glade.com/ (FREE Coupon for my *favorite item)
170. Mardi Gras http://www.gp.com/
171. Oreida http://www.oreida.com/ (two $0.75 off one Oreida products)
172. Skintamate http://www.scjbrands.com/contact/(FREE Skintamate up to $4.00)
173. Raid http://www.scjbrands.com/contact/ (FREE Raid product coupon)
174.Johnsonville  http://www.johnsonville.com/home.html
175. HoneySuckle White  http://www.honeysucklewhite.com
176. Quorn   http://www.quorn.us


Remember to be courteous and complimentary in your request!  You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar (rolls eyes at own use of worn out cliche)

If you try these and get responses and coupons, please comment below with the results!!!
6:46 AM Christine D
We all know that coupons are one of the best ways to save money.  We also all know that you can find coupons in your Sunday Paper.  Did you know that you can also get coupons straight from the manufacturer? They even tend to be for a high value (sometimes even free).  All you have to do is go to the manufacturer's website and contact them.  Some even have clubs you can join that will send you occasional recipes, tips, and coupons.  I even found one or two that had coupons you could print out directly from the website.  

Below is a list of Manufacturer website's that have been known to send out coupons.  The 'contact us' button is often found at the VERY bottom of the screen.  It will give you a form to fill out.  Be sure to fill in your correct physical and e-mail addresses, as this is how your coupons will arrive.  I just started working on this list yesterday, and have already received several  e-mails.





176 Manufacturers to Ask for Coupons



1. BirdsEye http://www.birdseye.com/
2. Sensodyone http://www.sensodyne.com/
3. Starkist Tuna http://www.starkist.com/(three FREE product coupons)
4. Idahoan http://www.idahoan.com/
5. Cole’s Garlic Bread http://www.coles.com/
6. Arm & Hammer http://www.armandhammer.com/
7. Windex http://www.windex.com/(FREE Product coupon)
8. Uncle Ben’s http://www.unclebens.com/
9. Whiskas http://www.whiskas.com/
10. Lipton http://www.liptont.com/
11. Zatarains http://www.zatarains.com/
12. Mrs. T’s Pierogies http://www.mrsts.com/
13. 9 Lives http://www.9lives.com/
14. Barber Foods http://www.barberfoods.com/
15. Banquet http://www.banquet.com/
16. Del Monte Veggies http://www.delmonte.com/
17. Blue Diamond http://www.bluediamond.com/
18. Florida’s Natural http://www.floridasnatural.com/
19. Campbell’s http://www.campbellkitchen.com/ ($2.00 off any Campbell products)
20. Jose Ole http://www.joseole.com/
21. Malt O Meal http://www.malt-o-meal.com/
22. Haagen Dazs http://www.haagen-dazs.com/
23. Tillamook http://www.tillamookcheese.com/
24. Michelena’s http://www.michelinas.com/ (2 FREE Michelena coupons)
25. Kotex http://www.kotex.com/
26. Luigi’s Italian Ice http://www.luigis.co/
27. Thomas’ http://www.thomas.gwbakeries.com/
28. Hostess http://www.twinkies.com/
29. Edy’s http://www.edys.com/
30. Tyson http://www.tyson.com/
31. Hatfield http://www.hqm.com/
32. Hillshire Farm http://www.hillshirefarm.com/
33. Purina  http://www.purina.com 
34. Eucerin http://www.eucerin.com/
35. Farm Rich http://www.farmrichfun.com/
36. Kozy Shack http://www.kozyshack.com/
37. Mt. Olive http://www.mtolivepickles.com/
38. Pilgrim’s Pride http://www.pilgrimspride.com/
39. Healthy Balance http://www.healthybalance.com/
40. Mrs. Smith’s http://www.mrssmiths.com/
41. Helluva Good http://www.helluvagood.com/
42. Perdue http://www.perdue.com/
43. Viva Paper Towel http://www.vivatowels.com/
44. Edward’s Pies http://www.edwardsbaking.com/
45. Electrasol http://www.electrasol.com/
47. Kashi http://www.kashi.com/
48. Schick http://www.shaving.com/
49. Smart Ones http://www.eatyourbest.com/
50. Georgia Pacific http://www.gp.com/
51. Ling Ling’s http://www.ling-ling.com/
52. Horizon http://www.horizonorganic.com/
53. Land O Lakes http://www.landolakes.com/
54. Sargento http://www.sargentocheese.com/
55. Dannon http://www.dannon.com/
56. Bolthouse Juice http://www.bolthouse.com/
57. Hefty http://www.pactiv.com/
58. Tribe Hummus http://www.tribehummus.com/
59. 7 Up http://www.7up.com/
60. Morningstar Farms http://www.morningstarfarms.com/
61. Welch’s http://www.welchs.com/
62. McCain’s Fries http://www.mccainusa.com/
63. Vlasic http://www.vlasic.com/
64. Stonyfield Farm http://www.stonyfield.com/
65. Keebler http://www.keebler.com/
66. Celestial Seasonings http://www.celestialseasonings.com/
67. Boboli http://www.boboli.com/
68. Entemman’s http://www.entenmanns.com/
69. Arnold Bread http://www.arnoldbread.com/
70. Freihof’s Bread http://www.freihofers.com/
71. Tree Ripe OJ http://www.johannafoods.com/juice.htm
72. Wonder Bread http://www.wonderbread.com/
73. Hebrew National http://www.hebrewnational.com/
74. St. Ives http://www.stives.com/
75. Ronzoni http://www.ronzoni.com/
76. Tropicana http://www.tropicana.com/
77. Ball Park Franks http://www.ballparkfranks.com/
78. Clorox http://www.clorox.com/
79. White Castle http://www.whitecastle.com/
80. PictSweet http://www.pictsweet.com/ (FREE product coupons)
81. Lean Cuisine http://www.leancuisine.com/
82. Olivio customerservice@olivioproducts.com
83. Tide http://www.tide.com/
84. Oust http://www.oust.com/ (FREE product coupon)
85. Chef Boyardee http://www.chefboyardee.com/
86. Propel http://www.propelwater.com/
87. Bagel Bites heinzconsumeraffairs@hjheinz.com
88. Snapple http://www.snapple.com/
89. Clearasil http://www.clearasil.us/
90. Rumba Juice http://www.rumbaenergyjuice.com/
91. Luna Bars http://www.lunabar.com/
92. Mott’s http://www.motts.com/
93. White House Applesauce http://www.whitehousefoods.com/
94. Natures Own Breads http://www.naturesownbread.com/
95. Cascadian Farms http://www.cascadianfarm.com/
96. Brach’s Candy http://www.brachs.com/
97. Fast Fixin’s http://www.fastfixin.com/
98. Carl Budding http://www.budding.com/
99. Bar-S Hot Dogs http://www.bar-s.com/($5.00 Gift Certificate and coupons)
100. Hawaiian Punch http://www.hawaiianpunch.com/
101. Bigelow Tea http://www.bigelowtea.com/
102. El Montery http://www.ruizfoods.com/
103. Wylers Soups http://www.wylers.com/
104. Nexcare http://www.nexcare.com/
105. Sunny Delight http://www.sunnydelight.com/
106. Freschetta http://www.freschetta.com/
107. Dunkin Donuts http://www.dunkindonuts.com/
108. Blistex http://www.blistex.com/
109. Little Crow Foods http://www.littlecrowfoods.com/
110. Promise http://www.promisehealthyheart.com/
111. Pepperidge Farm http://www.pepperidgefarm.com/ (FREE product coupon up to $3.00)
112. Greenies http://www.greenies.com/
113. Crayola http://www.crayola.com/
115. Gorton’s Fish http://www.gortons.com/
116. Hanes http://www.hanes.com/
117. Marie Calendar http://www.mariepies.com/
118. Pine-Sol http://www.pinesol.com/
119. Foster Farms http://www.fosterfarms.com/
120. General Mills http://www.generalmills.com/
121. Rhodes Bread customersatisfaction@rhodesbread.com
122. Breyers http://www.icecreamusa.com/breyers
123. Duncan Hines http://www.duncanhines.com/
124. Sea Pak Shrimp http://www.seapak.com/
125. Dole http://www.dole.com/
126. Mama Mary’s http://www.mamamarys.com/
127. IBC Root Beer http://www.ibcrootbeer.com/
128. Dial Soap http://www.dialcop.com/
129. Bakers Joy http://www.bakersjoy.com/
130. Jennie-O Turkey http://www.jennieo.com/
131. Barbara’s Bakery http://www.barbarasbakery.com/
132. Ian’s Natural http://www.iansnaturalfoods.com/
133. Hansen’s Beverage http://www.hansens.com/
134. Alexia Foods http://www.alexiafoods.com/
135. Brown Cow Yogurt http://www.browncowfarm.com/
136. Ocean Spray http://www.oceanspray.com/
137. Flat Out Bread feedback@flatoutbread.com
138. Rudi’s Organic http://www.rudisbakery.com/
139. Mussleman’s Applesauce http://www.knouse.com/
140. Skinny Cow http://www.skinnycow.com/
141. Baker’s Inn Bread ravindernath@bakersinn.com
142. Lactaid http://www.lactaid.com/
143. Silk Soy Milk http://www.silksoymilk.com/
144. Shady Brook Farms http://www.shadybrookfarms.com/
145. Mrs. Dash http://www.mrsdash.com/
146. Rice Dream http://www.tastethedream.com/
147. Blue Bunny http://www.bluebunny.com/
148. Sobe http://www.sobebev.com/ (FREE Sobe coupon)
149. Michangelo’s Frozen Entrees http://www.michaelangelos.com/efamily
150. Mission Tortillas http://www.missionfoods.com/
151. State Fair Corn Dogs http://www.statefairbrand.com/
152. Splenda http://www.splenda.com/
153. Equal Exchange http://www.equalexchange.com/
154. Odwalla http://www.odwalla.com/
155. Ray’s New York Bagels http://www.raysnewyorkbagels.com/
156. Nissin Noodles http://www.nissinfoods.com/
157. Yogi Tea http://www.yogitea.com/
158. Al Fresco http://www.alfrescoallnatural.com/
159. Ben and Jerry’s http://www.benandjerrys.com/
160. Tony’s Pizza http://www.tonys.com/
161. Asian Sensations comments@asiansensations.com
162. Red Baron http://www.redbaron.com/
163. Freschetta http://www.freschetta.com/
164. Gillette Venus http://www.gillettevenus.com/
165. Suave http://www.suave.com/
166. Lady Speed Stick http://www.mennen.com/
167. Jennie O http://www.jennieo.com/
168. Downy http://www.downy.com/
169. Glade http://www.glade.com/ (FREE Coupon for my *favorite item)
170. Mardi Gras http://www.gp.com/
171. Oreida http://www.oreida.com/ (two $0.75 off one Oreida products)
172. Skintamate http://www.scjbrands.com/contact/(FREE Skintamate up to $4.00)
173. Raid http://www.scjbrands.com/contact/ (FREE Raid product coupon)
174.Johnsonville  http://www.johnsonville.com/home.html
175. HoneySuckle White  http://www.honeysucklewhite.com
176. Quorn   http://www.quorn.us


Remember to be courteous and complimentary in your request!  You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar (rolls eyes at own use of worn out cliche)

If you try these and get responses and coupons, please comment below with the results!!!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Laura (2 yrs old) has been becoming more and more picky.   She doesn't like any fruits, and eats very few vegetables.  I have started trying to figure out ways to 'hide' fruits and veggies.  Since she loves bread, and has been known to eat the occasional corn dog (and Aldi's had packs of hot dogs for a dollar) , I decided to make a homemade corn dog muffin.



First, prepared a cornbread batter.  I used a recipe from Crieve Hall Cooks a book made by the ladies of  Crieve  Hall Church of Christ.  My mother-in-law used to go to this church, and gave me this cookbook.
Here is the original recipe, but I do a couple of things differently for the muffins.  First,  I mix all my wet ingredients first in the bowl, to keep from having to use two bowls.  Also, since we are cooking this in muffin tins, instead of a cast iron skillet, I melted the bacon drippings in the microwave and added it to the batter.  I did NOT preheat my muffin tin.  Remember, we are using this recipe more or less just to get the batter.


Aunt Baddie's Cornbread


1/4 cup bacon drippings (or oil)
1 cup flour
3/4 cup cornmeal
1 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup milk

Put bacon drippings in cast iron skillet.  Preheat skillet  in 400 degree oven until drippings are melted.  Combine dry ingredients.  In separate bowl, combine wet ingredients.  Add to dry mixture with bacon drippings; mix well.  Bake at 400 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes, until golden brown.




Since the object of this is to get more veggies into Laura, I added about 1/2 cup of leftover corn to the batter. Since she ate this so well, I may try to add some finely grated carrot as well next time.


I greased my muffin tin with shortening, and added the batter (about 2/3 full for each muffin).  Then, I took two hot dogs, and cut each one into 6 pieces and dropped one piece into the center of each muffin.  Press it down lightly into the batter.  Once your oven is preheated (to 400, like the recipe), just pop them in the oven on a lower rack until they start to brown on top.  They took about 20 minutes.




This recipe made 12 corn dog muffins.  As you can see, by the time I could grab my camera, I only had 6 left!  I think that's safe to say they were a hit.  Laura ate three,  Mark had two, and I tried one.  Laura called them "hot dog birthday cakes" (I suppose since she thought they looked like cupcakes).   I put the leftovers in the fridge, since they have meat inside, and will have a ready snack for Laura for the next couple of days!

This recipe was really easy and cheap.  One pack of hot dogs cost one dollar, and I used two out of the pack.  So, twenty cents for the dogs, and probably another dollar in the other ingredients.   $1.20 for twelve corn dog muffins definately beats $4.00 for some frozen corn dogs at the store (plus there is corn hidden in mine) I will definitely be making these again, and trying to hide another veggie or two inside.
6:59 AM Christine D
Laura (2 yrs old) has been becoming more and more picky.   She doesn't like any fruits, and eats very few vegetables.  I have started trying to figure out ways to 'hide' fruits and veggies.  Since she loves bread, and has been known to eat the occasional corn dog (and Aldi's had packs of hot dogs for a dollar) , I decided to make a homemade corn dog muffin.



First, prepared a cornbread batter.  I used a recipe from Crieve Hall Cooks a book made by the ladies of  Crieve  Hall Church of Christ.  My mother-in-law used to go to this church, and gave me this cookbook.
Here is the original recipe, but I do a couple of things differently for the muffins.  First,  I mix all my wet ingredients first in the bowl, to keep from having to use two bowls.  Also, since we are cooking this in muffin tins, instead of a cast iron skillet, I melted the bacon drippings in the microwave and added it to the batter.  I did NOT preheat my muffin tin.  Remember, we are using this recipe more or less just to get the batter.


Aunt Baddie's Cornbread


1/4 cup bacon drippings (or oil)
1 cup flour
3/4 cup cornmeal
1 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup milk

Put bacon drippings in cast iron skillet.  Preheat skillet  in 400 degree oven until drippings are melted.  Combine dry ingredients.  In separate bowl, combine wet ingredients.  Add to dry mixture with bacon drippings; mix well.  Bake at 400 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes, until golden brown.




Since the object of this is to get more veggies into Laura, I added about 1/2 cup of leftover corn to the batter. Since she ate this so well, I may try to add some finely grated carrot as well next time.


I greased my muffin tin with shortening, and added the batter (about 2/3 full for each muffin).  Then, I took two hot dogs, and cut each one into 6 pieces and dropped one piece into the center of each muffin.  Press it down lightly into the batter.  Once your oven is preheated (to 400, like the recipe), just pop them in the oven on a lower rack until they start to brown on top.  They took about 20 minutes.




This recipe made 12 corn dog muffins.  As you can see, by the time I could grab my camera, I only had 6 left!  I think that's safe to say they were a hit.  Laura ate three,  Mark had two, and I tried one.  Laura called them "hot dog birthday cakes" (I suppose since she thought they looked like cupcakes).   I put the leftovers in the fridge, since they have meat inside, and will have a ready snack for Laura for the next couple of days!

This recipe was really easy and cheap.  One pack of hot dogs cost one dollar, and I used two out of the pack.  So, twenty cents for the dogs, and probably another dollar in the other ingredients.   $1.20 for twelve corn dog muffins definately beats $4.00 for some frozen corn dogs at the store (plus there is corn hidden in mine) I will definitely be making these again, and trying to hide another veggie or two inside.

Saturday, September 15, 2012



Last year for Christmas, I got a bread machine.  It was the best Christmas gift I had received in a long time, and it came from my mother-in-law.  Since then, pasta night has always included fresh bread that my husband and daughter love.  It has saved me a ton of money, since I was buying the pilsbury Italian bread dough (refrigerated section) for over $3.00 per loaf.

I had been eyeing the sourdough recipes in the machine's manual and on allrecipes.com, but was a little intimidated. Finally I looked up some recipes for the starter, and was amazed at how easy it is to make and keep your own sourdough starter.  I decided that I should just try it.  I started mine on Monday and after a week of feeding, it was finally time to see if my starter was a "working" starter.  Guess what?  It was the BEST bread I have made so far.

So here's how I did it:

On Monday, I stirred together 1/2 cup flour and 1/2 cup water and put it in a large empty yogurt containers (I always save any containers like butter tubs, yogurt tubs, etc).   You can use any container that will hold about a quart that is plastic or glass (no metal).   Then I put it on top of the fridge.  On top of a fridge is supposed to have the most constant temperature of any place in your kitchen.  The idea is that you will cultivate your own 'crop' of the yeast that occurs naturally in both the flour and the air.  If you want to help the process along just a little ( I did), you can sprinkle a little commercial yeast into the mixture (when I say a little, I mean like 1/8 tsp or less).

Then, once a day for four more days, I "fed" my starter another half cup of flour and half cup of water and put it back on the fridge. No more commercial yeast is needed, since you are trying to get the natural yeast going. Think of it like a needy house plant during this week, needing daily attention.  On the sixth day (Saturday, in this case), you SHOULD be ready to bake with it.

Sounds easy so far, right?  It was even easier than it sounds!  I did set a reminder on my phone for the same time each day, since I didn't want to forget to feed it.  Now for the recipe I tried! Remember, this recipe is for a bread machine, but it could be done by hand.

    Basic Sourdough Bread    

    3/4 cup warm water (110 degrees F)
    1 cup sourdough starter
    1 1/2 teaspoon salt
    2 2/3 cups bread flour
    1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast

  1. Add all ingredients in order
  2. Select dough setting, and push start
  3. Bake in/on the greased pan of your choice at 365 degrees until golden.
I hardly ever bake the bread in the bread machine, but if you wanted to, you would select the white bread setting.

When you take the cup of starter out, you should replace it by adding 1/2 cup each of water and flour.  Now  you can put your starter in the fridge and you will only need to feed it every week or so.  Remember to always replace what you use.

Now that I know that I CAN make  sourdough bread, I am going to expand on it and try sourdough rolls and sourdough pizza crust.

I will update with some pictures soon, and I will let you know how my other sourdough experiments turn out.  
Until next time. . .

*NOTE*  It has been brought to my attention that I didn't specify whether the starter should be covered or uncovered.  It should indeed be covered.  Also, you want to make sure your container has plenty of room left in it when you 'feed' the starter.  If you need to, you can always discard a cup (or make more bread!)  before you feed.
5:09 PM Christine D


Last year for Christmas, I got a bread machine.  It was the best Christmas gift I had received in a long time, and it came from my mother-in-law.  Since then, pasta night has always included fresh bread that my husband and daughter love.  It has saved me a ton of money, since I was buying the pilsbury Italian bread dough (refrigerated section) for over $3.00 per loaf.

I had been eyeing the sourdough recipes in the machine's manual and on allrecipes.com, but was a little intimidated. Finally I looked up some recipes for the starter, and was amazed at how easy it is to make and keep your own sourdough starter.  I decided that I should just try it.  I started mine on Monday and after a week of feeding, it was finally time to see if my starter was a "working" starter.  Guess what?  It was the BEST bread I have made so far.

So here's how I did it:

On Monday, I stirred together 1/2 cup flour and 1/2 cup water and put it in a large empty yogurt containers (I always save any containers like butter tubs, yogurt tubs, etc).   You can use any container that will hold about a quart that is plastic or glass (no metal).   Then I put it on top of the fridge.  On top of a fridge is supposed to have the most constant temperature of any place in your kitchen.  The idea is that you will cultivate your own 'crop' of the yeast that occurs naturally in both the flour and the air.  If you want to help the process along just a little ( I did), you can sprinkle a little commercial yeast into the mixture (when I say a little, I mean like 1/8 tsp or less).

Then, once a day for four more days, I "fed" my starter another half cup of flour and half cup of water and put it back on the fridge. No more commercial yeast is needed, since you are trying to get the natural yeast going. Think of it like a needy house plant during this week, needing daily attention.  On the sixth day (Saturday, in this case), you SHOULD be ready to bake with it.

Sounds easy so far, right?  It was even easier than it sounds!  I did set a reminder on my phone for the same time each day, since I didn't want to forget to feed it.  Now for the recipe I tried! Remember, this recipe is for a bread machine, but it could be done by hand.

    Basic Sourdough Bread    

    3/4 cup warm water (110 degrees F)
    1 cup sourdough starter
    1 1/2 teaspoon salt
    2 2/3 cups bread flour
    1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast

  1. Add all ingredients in order
  2. Select dough setting, and push start
  3. Bake in/on the greased pan of your choice at 365 degrees until golden.
I hardly ever bake the bread in the bread machine, but if you wanted to, you would select the white bread setting.

When you take the cup of starter out, you should replace it by adding 1/2 cup each of water and flour.  Now  you can put your starter in the fridge and you will only need to feed it every week or so.  Remember to always replace what you use.

Now that I know that I CAN make  sourdough bread, I am going to expand on it and try sourdough rolls and sourdough pizza crust.

I will update with some pictures soon, and I will let you know how my other sourdough experiments turn out.  
Until next time. . .

*NOTE*  It has been brought to my attention that I didn't specify whether the starter should be covered or uncovered.  It should indeed be covered.  Also, you want to make sure your container has plenty of room left in it when you 'feed' the starter.  If you need to, you can always discard a cup (or make more bread!)  before you feed.
Hello Everyone!  My name is Christine, and I am a mommy of two on a tight budget.  I have one girl, Laura, and one boy, Jeremy.  Laura is my oldest.  She just turned two at the end of July.  Five days after her birthday, little Jeremy made his appearance.  I have the two children I always wanted, and (bonus!)  I have both a boy and a girl.

Adjusting to life with a two year old and a newborn has been very rough, but today it has been six weeks and I am still here.  Having "two under two" (even if Laura is technically two already) can be much more expensive than I thought. . . if you let it.

In this blog, I will be talking about what matters most to me:  The education and development of my two children, cooking good meals on a budget, mommy time, and saving money any way I can.

Until next time. . .


7:15 AM Christine D
Hello Everyone!  My name is Christine, and I am a mommy of two on a tight budget.  I have one girl, Laura, and one boy, Jeremy.  Laura is my oldest.  She just turned two at the end of July.  Five days after her birthday, little Jeremy made his appearance.  I have the two children I always wanted, and (bonus!)  I have both a boy and a girl.

Adjusting to life with a two year old and a newborn has been very rough, but today it has been six weeks and I am still here.  Having "two under two" (even if Laura is technically two already) can be much more expensive than I thought. . . if you let it.

In this blog, I will be talking about what matters most to me:  The education and development of my two children, cooking good meals on a budget, mommy time, and saving money any way I can.

Until next time. . .