Monday, April 28, 2008

Cell Phone Assistance

Everyone's cell phone has an “organizer” and many have an alarm. It only takes seconds to type in a forgotten grocery/shopping item that comes to mind during the day, and setting the alarm to go off before your trip to walmart reminds you to check the list and get your coupons together.

Monday's Menu for the Holloman Household

Monday-chicken alfredo a la Andrea with broccoli and linguine (scroll down for recipe)

Tuesday-Two fer Tuesday @ Dominos' or I will make some pizza with a Chef Boy r Dee mix

Wednesday-Hot Dogs with Chili and chips

Thursday-PC Roast Chicken with potatoes and carrots, green beans, and bread (haven't decided yet)

Friday--Chicken Fluff & Mixed Veggies

Saturday--Lunch: Soup & Sandwiches
Supper: Hamburgers & Chips

Sunday-Eat out day

Friday, April 25, 2008

Swappin' Strawberry Frap--Hungry-Girl Style

A Berry Good Thing!

Here's an amazing guilt-free swap you can make in your own home. Save time, money and calories with this awesome recipe!
  • 2/3 cup frozen strawberries (just plain- NOT in syrup!)
  • 5 oz. light vanilla soy milk
  • 2 tsp. Fat Free French Vanilla Coffee-mate powder (dissolved in an oz of warm water)
  • 1 oz. Sugar Free Torani Strawberry Syrup
  • 3 Splenda packets
  • 3 large ice cubes
  • 2 tbsp. Fat Free Reddi-Whip
  1. Place all of the ingredients in blender, except for the whipped cream.
  2. Blend on high speed for 30-45 seconds.
  3. Pour, and top with Fat Free Reddi-Wip.


Serving Size:
12 oz. with whipped topping Calories: 119 Fat: 1g Sodium: 102mg
Carbs: 21g Fiber: 2g Sugar: 14g Protein: 4g

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Christian Ways to Reduce Stress

Special thanks to my precious friend Cindy Berry for this. Her husband is a pastor and here is their church website. Check it out.
  1. Pray.

  2. Go to bed on time.

  3. Get up on time so you can start the day unhurried.

  4. Say No to projects that won't fit into your time schedule, or that will compromise your mental health.

  5. Delegate tasks to capable others.

  6. Simplify and declutter your life.

  7. Less is more. (Although one is often not enough, two are often too many.)

  8. Allow extra time to do things and to get to places.

  9. Pace yourself. Spread out big changes and difficult projects over time; don't lump the hard things all together.

  10. Take one day at a time.

  11. Separate worries from concerns ... If a situation is a concern, find out what God would have you do and let go of the anxiety . If you can't do anything about a situation, forget it.

  12. Live within your budget; don't use credit cards for ordinary purchases.

  13. Have backups; an extra car key in your wallet, an extra house key buried in the garden, extra stamps, etc.

  14. K.M.S. (Keep Mouth Shut). This single piece of advice can prevent an enormous amount of trouble.

  15. Do something for the Kid in You everyday.

  16. Carry a Bible with you to read while waiting in line.

  17. Get enough rest.

  18. Eat right.

  19. Get organized so everything has its place.

  20. Listen to a tape while driving that can help improve your quality of life.

  21. Write down thoughts and inspirations.

  22. Every day, find time to be alone.

  23. Having problems? Talk to God on the spot. Try to nip small problems in the bud. Don't wait until it's time to go to bed to try and pray.

  24. Make friends with Godly people.
  25. Keep a folder of favorite scriptures on hand.

  26. Remember that the shortest bridge between despair and hope is often a good 'Thank you Jesus .'

  27. Laugh.

  28. Laugh some more!

  29. Take your work seriously, but not yourself at all.

  30. Develop a forgiving attitude (most people are doing the best they can).

  31. Be kind to unkind people (they probably need it the most).

  32. Sit on your ego.

  33. Talk less; listen more.

  34. Slow down.

  35. Remind yourself that you are not the general manager of the universe.

  36. Every night before bed, think of one thing you're grateful for that you've never been grateful for before. GOD HAS A WAY OF TURNING THINGS AROUND FOR YOU.

'If God be for us, who can be against us?' (Romans 8:31)

Berry Dessert Nachos

  • 3/4 cup(s) sour cream, light or fat-free
  • 3/4 cup(s) frozen
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 tortilla(s), flour
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 teaspoon sugar
  • 3 cup(s)
  • 2 tablespoon nuts sliced
  • 1 tablespoon semisweet chocolate

    1. Preheat oven to 400°F. In a small bowl, stir together sour cream, Cool Whip-like stuff, vanilla, and 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon. Cover and chill while preparing tortillas.

    2. Lightly brush both sides of each tortilla with melted butter. In a small bowl, stir together sugar and 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon; sprinkle over tortillas. Cut each tortilla into 8 wedges; arrange on two ungreased baking sheets. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until crisp. Cool completely.

    3. To serve, divide tortilla wedges among six dessert plates. Top with raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, blueberries, or any combination thereof and sour cream mixture. Sprinkle with nuts and grated chocolate.

5 Reasons to eat more chocolate (like we need another reason!)

It may be hard to believe that something as delicious as chocolate could actually be good for you. But according to a growing body of research, America’s favorite sweet treat comes with a host of surprising health benefits—from lowering cholesterol levels to boosting your brainpower. Read on for five guilt-free reasons to indulge in this decadent dessert (as if you needed any more convincing).
  1. Healthier Cholesterol Levels. A recent study conducted at Penn State University found that people who ate a diet rich in cocoa powder and dark chocolate had lower oxidation levels of LDL “bad” cholesterol and higher levels of HDL “good” cholesterol.
  2. Better Blood Pressure. According to a German study recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, a bite of dark chocolate a day may help regulate high blood pressure. The study’s authors suspect that the cocoa increases levels of nitric oxide, a compound that helps to relax and open the blood vessels.
  3. Muscle Magic. It might seem like a strange choice for a sports drink, but chocolate milk may help boost athletic performance. In a recent Indiana University study, cyclists who drank chocolate milk between workouts scored better on fatigue and endurance tests than those who consumed standard sports beverages.
  4. Brain Gains. According to the National Alzheimer’s Association, consuming dark chocolate can help reduce your chances of developing dementia later in life. In fact, a local chapter of the organization recently included dark chocolate in all the gift baskets it gave to attendees at the Maintain Your Brain program.
  5. Disease-Fighting Power. Cornell University researchers recently found that cocoa contains nearly twice the disease-fighting antioxidants of red wine and up to three times more than green tea.

Check out this site.

Need a New Chicken Recipe. . .Look no further!

Check out all of these chicken ideas!


This site looks AWESOME. . .and parts of it are FREE!

Click here for Menus4Mom.

Look at the list down there! Looks awesome, huh?

What you will find on Menus4Moms:
Free weekly dinner menus
Home organization helps
Frugal living ideas
Cookbooks for immediate download
Bulk cooking and OAMC helps
Breakfast and lunch ideas
Menu planning helps

What does a 100 calorie snack look like?

Click here and take a little quiz. . .
I didn't do so hot on this one.


5 No-Cook Meals

Weight Watchers has some great ideas here!

Check 'em out.



1 1/2 cups baking mix (like Bisquick. . .)
1/3 cup very hot water
1 can (8 ounces) pizza sauce (or some left-over spaghetti or marinara sauce)
1 package (3 1/2 ounces) sliced pepperoni
1/2 cup sliced fresh mushroom (optional--my crowd says "NO" to mushrooms)
1/2 cup chopped bell pepper
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (6 ounces)
  1. Heat oven to 450ºF.
  2. Grease 12-inch pizza pan.
  3. Stir together biscuit mix and very hot water; beat 20 strokes until soft dough forms.
  4. Press dough in pizza pan.
  5. Spread pizza sauce over dough.
  6. Top with remaining ingredients.
  7. Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until crust is golden brown and cheese is bubbly.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Have you seen the sister site?

Andrea's Blog-O-Rama is a blast.

Check it out.


Do you MENU?

The point of a menu is to see in advance what you are going to need for the week. this allows you to calculate, almost to the dollar, what you will spend. You can adjust your menu according to the amount of money you have left in the food budget each month. Some buy weekly, some bi-weekly, some monthly. I have never personally been able to do the monthly thing. It is just a bit too far ahead for us. I am usually somewhere in the bi-monthly area!

Here are some "menu" standards that seem simple, but some of this was an "A-HA" moment for me. Do I follow this to the letter? NO. Do I eat out more than I want to? YES.

Tuesday-Bread or Toaster Items
Friday-Bread or Toaster Items
Saturday-Eggs or Breakfast with Meat (this is our BIG breakfast day. . .)
Sunday-Pancakes, waffles, etc

Tuesday-Burritos or Wraps
Wednesday-Salads (tuna, chicken, ham, or chef)
Saturday-Burritos or wraps
Sunday-Leftovers or Eat Out (We usually eat out on Sunday afternoon.)

Monday-Casserole or Meat Dish
Tuesday- Poultry
Friday-Fish or Fun (Pizza, Burritos, etc)
Sunday-Whatever you kind find after church

So pull out your recipes and use this as a guide. There is no "set" way to do this. Just start with this week.

Sit down and make a list of your family's top 6 recipes. . .

Recipes on the Go (or "fly" if your minivan travels as fast as mine does!)

Keep recipes for quick, frugal meals, in a 4x6 cheap-o plastic covered photo album in your glove box or other storage hole in your vehicle.
If you are in dire need of a super-quick meal and have nothing at home to cook, pull out the recipes and head into Food Lion, armed with the list (the recipe) and your coupons, if you have your binder in the van too.

You will most likely still spend less than you would if you got take-out for your family.


What a Cool Idea! Bite-Sized Beauties

  • Slice kiwi into 1/4 inch thick slices, then use a cookie cutter (heart or star shaped) to cut out the middles.
  • Cut (heart or star) shapes from 1/4 inch melon slices and fit the melon shape into the opening of the kiwi.
AWWWW. How cute!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Lemon Angel Cheesecake

  • 1 tub (24.2 oz.) PHILADELPHIA Ready-To-Eat Cheesecake Filling
  • 1 container (6 oz.) lemon low-fat yogurt
  • 1 graham cracker crust (6 oz.)
  • 1 cup thawed whipped topping
  1. PLACE cheesecake filling in large bowl. Add yogurt; stir just until blended.
  2. SPOON into crust. Smooth top lightly with back of spoon to form even layer; top with whipped topping. Garnish with lemon slices and mint sprigs, if desired.
  3. SERVE immediately. Or cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
  4. Store leftovers in refrigerator.

Since this quick-and-easy cheesecake makes 8 servings, it's a great recipe to serve at your next gathering.

Jazz It Up
Sprinkle with 1/4 cup toasted slivered almonds before serving.

Fish Cakes

  • 2 cans (6 oz. each) light tuna in water, drained, flaked
  • 1 pkg. (6 oz.) Stuffing Mix for Chicken
  • 1 cup Shredded Mild Cheddar Cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrots
  • 1/3 cup Mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbsp. Sweet Pickle Relish
  • 3/4 cup water
  1. MIX all ingredients. Cover and refrigerate 10 min.
  2. HEAT large nonstick skillet sprayed with cooking spray on medium heat. For each tuna cake, shape 1/3 cup lightly packed tuna mixture into patty. Add patties to skillet in batches.
  3. COOK 3 min. on each side or until golden brown on both sides, turning over carefully.

Healthy Living
Save 60 calories and 8 grams of fat per serving by preparing as directed with Shredded Reduced Fat Cheddar Cheese and Light Mayonnaise.

Substitute 1 cup Shredded Mozzarella Cheese, 1/2 cup chopped green onions and 1 Tbsp. lemon juice for the Cheddar cheese, carrots and pickle relish.

How to Prevent Fish Cakes from Falling Apart
Shape patties as directed; cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour to help firm them up before cooking.

Look Younger and Feel Great (This might actually work!)

  • Always wear sunscreen, even when indoors.
  • Get the proper amount of rest (Yeah, right!)
  • Drink 8-10 glasses of water per day.
  • Eat plenty of fresh fruits (do fruit roll-ups count?) and vegetables, nuts and seeds.
  • Work out for 20 mins. per day, 3 days per week.
  • Limit caffeine consumption (Starbucks is gonna be sad!)

Hearty Chicken & Noodle Casserole

  • 1 can (10 3/4 ounces) Condensed Cream of Chicken or Mushroom Soup
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 cup frozen mixed vegetables
  • 2 cups cubed cooked chicken
  • 2 cups medium egg noodles, cooked and drained
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese (about 2 ounces)
Stir the soup, milk, black pepper, vegetables, chicken, noodles and Parmesan cheese in a 1 1/2-quart casserole dish.
  1. Bake at 400°F. for 25 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
  2. Stir the chicken mixture.

    Top with the Cheddar cheese.

Golden Onion Chicken & Noodle Casserole: Substitute 1/2 cup crushed french fried onions for the Cheddar cheese.
Twisty Hearty Chicken Casserole: Substitute 2 cups cooked corkscrew-shaped pasta for the egg noodles.

Green Beans a la Andrea

  • Pour the entire can (liquid and all) int0 a small sauce pan (make sure you have a snug-fitting lid).

  • Splash a little canola oil (or whatever you have) into the beans.

  • Shake a bit of pepper.

  • Throw in a spoonful of bacon (bits, chunks, chopped up, etc.) or a wee-bit of ham.

  • Put the lid on.

  • Cook on medium heat for about 20 minutes.

Walah....greenie beenies a la Andrea.

QUICK & EASY BREEZY--Crunchy Onion Chicken & Green Beans

Stay with me here. . .I know what you're thinking--"Onion Chicken????"

1-1/3 cups French Fried Onions (Find these in the canned veggie aisle)
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken (about 4 pieces)
1 beaten egg

Crush Onions in plastic bag. (Depending on your day, you may need this as therapy!)
Dip chicken in the egtg, then coat in onion crumbs.
Bake 20 minutes at 400 degrees until cooked through.

I would probably also do some buttered noodles or rice with this.

Make green beans how ever your family enjoys them.

The Green Beans a la Andrea version goes something like this:
  • Pour the entire can (liquid and all) int0 a small sauce pan (make sure you have a snug-fitting lid).
  • Splash a little canola oil into the beans.
  • Shake a bit of pepper.
  • Throw in a spoonful of bacon (bits, chunks, chopped up, etc.) or a wee-bit of ham.
  • Put the lid on.
  • Cook on medium heat for about the same amount of time it takes to cook the chicken.
  • Walah....greenie beenies.

QUICK & EASY BREEZY--Mexi-Cheese Burgers & Corn on the Cob

  • Drain a can of chopped green chilies and mix with ground beef.
  • Grill/Cook as usual.
  • Top with Jack cheese.
  • Serve on buns with Salsa.

Steamfresh Corn on the Cob.

Lots of variations here. Use your imagination and whatever you have in the pantry.


QUICK & EASY BREEZY--Vegetable Soup and Quesadillas

Prepare enough canned Vegetable Soup for your family.

While it is warming. . .

  1. Layer sliced or shaved ham and cheese between two flour tortillas.
  2. Brown in a skillet on both sides with a little butter (or margarine) until the cheese melts.
  3. Cut into wedges.

That's it! Woohoo for a fast meal. There are so many variations to this meal it's not even funny. Use your imagination and use what you have on hand.


Butter Pecan Chocolate Fudge

1 cup butterscotch morsels
1 container (16 oz.) prepared vanilla frosting, divided
1 cup pecan halves, toasted
1 pkg (8 oz.) semi-sweet chocolate squares (8 squares), coarsely chopped, divided
1/2 tsp vegetable oil

Line bottom of a small Bar Pan with 8 1/2 X 10-in. piece of Parchment Paper. Combine butterscotch morsels and half of the frosting in small saucepan. Stir over low heat until melted and smooth. Add pecans, stirring to coat evenly. Spread butterscotch mixture evenly over Parchment Paper.

Reserve 1/2 cup (125 mL) of the chopped chocolate for garnish.

In same saucepan, combine remaining chocolate and remaining frosting. Stir over low heat until melted and smooth. Carefully pour chocolate mixture over butterscotch layer in bar pan; spread evenly. Refrigerate 10-15 minutes or until set.

Invert bar pan onto cutting board. Carefully peel Parchment Paper off fudge. Place reserved chocolate and oil in microwaveable bowl. Microwave, uncovered, on MEDIUM 1 1/2-2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds. Spread chocolate evenly over top of fudge. Refrigerate 15-30 minutes or until firm. Cut into 60 small squares.

Moody Foody. . .

Stressed? Sluggish? Moody? Relief may be as close as your local supermarket. That's 'cuz what you eat affects how you feel. So what foods will put you in a good mood? Take a look...

FEELING FOGGY? If you're finding it hard to concentrate and feel like your mind is a pile of goo, you may want to snack on some protein-rich foods. Foods like cheese, soy products and lean meat are great for making you feel alert, energized and ready to take on the day. So if your brain's feeling a bit foggy, just nibble on some low-cal string cheese, a veggie burger, or some lean skinless chicken or turkey breast. You may be thinking more clearly in no time.

THE ULTIMATE MOOD LIFTER A little chocolate can fix anything, right? It's sweet, delicious and creamy, and it seems to make us feel a lot better once we've eaten it. Well, it turns out chocolate's mood-boosting ability is not all in our heads -- eating the sweet stuff really does make us feel happy, content and soothed. Why? The fat, sugar, and high amounts of tryptophan found in chocolate work together to raise serotonin and endorphin levels in the brain. The result? Your mouth will be happy -- and so will the rest of you. Keep chocolate portions in check with a 6g-of-fat Trader Joe's 100 Calorie Milk Chocolate Bar (POINTS® value 3*).

STABILIZE MOOD SWINGS Do you go from laughing to crying in a matter of seconds? Curbing mood swings may be as easy as drinking water. That's because dehydration can play a big part in emotional stability. If you don't get those recommended 8 - 10 cups of water a day, you might just find yourself sweatin' the small stuff. So drink up!

STOP FEELING SLUGGISH Tired and lethargic all the time? Find it hard to get going in the morning? You may want to whip up some scrambled eggs or an omelette. That's because eggs are a great source of zinc, a substance that makes you feel more awake, energized and engaged by helping to regulate blood sugar. For an eggy fix without too much fat, check out Egg Beaters with Yolk in original and flavored varieties -- a 1/4-cup serving (the equivalent of 1 egg) has 40 calories and 1.5 - 2g fat (POINTS® value 1*).

NIX NERVOUSNESS Stressed? Nervous? Anxious? Soothe your nerves with some skim milk or a handful of almonds. Both foods are rich in calcium, and calcium is great for reducing anxiety and making you feel calm and relaxed. For a portion- controlled almond fix, check out Blue Diamond's 100-calorie packs (9g fat, 2g fiber, and a POINTS® value of 2*) -- there are 50mg of stress-busting calcium in each pack. Or sip some Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Breeze -- 1 cup has 40 calories, 3g fat, and 1g fiber (POINTS® value 1*), and it serves up 20% the RDA of calcium.

SNACK HAPPY Salmon and strawberries may be nature's equivalent of Prozac and Zoloft. That's because folate-rich foods cause a boost in serotonin levels in the brain, much like antidepressants do. So the next time you're feeling depressed, grill some salmon, or treat yourself to a bowl of strawberries. Chances are, you'll turn that frown upside down in no time. BTW, a serving of Chicken of the Sea's canned pink salmon mixed with a teaspoon of Vivi's Original Sauce in Classic Carnival Mustard makes us VERY happy, and that snack has just 65 calories and 2g fat (POINTS® value 1*).
TAME YOUR TEMPER Feeling angry? Reach for a grapefruit, some grapes, an apple or some carrots! All four of these great-tasting foods are rich in pectin, a soluble fiber that lowers blood cholesterol. Another plus? When you're angry, your body kicks into fight-or-flight mode, causing your heart rate, adrenaline levels and blood pressure to increase. But pectin reverses these effects and helps your system return to normal. Get a pectin fix with HG's Sweet 'n Chunky Chicken Salad -- it's packed with grapes and apples, and a full cup has just 145 calories and 1.5g fat, plus a gram of fiber.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Germ-Free Food. . .Can We Fix It? Yes, We Can!

Use separate cutting boards.
Have one for meat and the other for vegetables. Wash them thoroughly after each use. Avoid wood boards, which may harbor organisms from meat, even after washing them.

Scrub fruits and veggies.
Use a scrub brush on fruits and vegetables with skin such as potatoes, cantaloupes and yams. Even if you're not eating the skin, washing will prevent bacteria from seeping in when you cut the skin.

Add healthier leaves.
Toss the outer leaves of a head of lettuce, then rinse the ones you use. It's also best to wash those that are labeled pre-washed.

Throw out the batter.
Don't let kids lick the cake batter or cookie dough because it contains raw eggs, which can harbor bacteria.

Chill mayo-filled foods.
Store foods with mayonnaise in the fridge until you're ready to serve, then put them away within two hours. You can also try placing the serving dish in an ice-filled container.

Turn down the fridge.
If you're having a party, lower the temperature of the fridge a few degrees because you'll be opening and closing the door frequently. In general, you should keep the fridge temperature between 34 and 40 degrees to keep your food fresh and as bug-free as possible.

Store leftovers quickly.
Refrigerate leftovers within 90 minutes because bacteria grow quickly at room temperature.

Proper Portion Sizes

Click here to print a pocket-sized Serving Size Card. It is interesting to see how much I am overeating, based on these sizes. . .

Check it out!

Dairy- and Nut-Free Meatloaf

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. nut-free vegetable oil, plus extra for pan
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 8 oz. pork or sausage meat
  • 1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce (optional)
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 1/2 cups bread crumbs
  • 1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme or 1/2 tsp. dried
  • 6 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
  • 3 Tbsp. tomato puree
  • 3 Tbsp. ketchup
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 large egg, beaten

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. For a soft-sided loaf that is crusty on top, line a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with waxed paper. If you prefer the meatloaf crusty all the way around, line a baking sheet instead.
2. Fry onion in oil until softened and golden, about 4 minutes.
3. In a bowl, mix beef, pork, Worcestershire sauce (if using) garlic, bread crumbs, thyme, parsley, ketchup and tomato puree. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in beaten egg to bind.
4. Transfer mixture to prepared pan or shape into a loaf roughly 9 inches by 5 inches on baking sheet.
5. Bake until browned on top and sides are beginning to shrink away from pan, 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes.
6. Turn out onto a warm plate. Pour any juices in pan over loaf. Slice and serve.

Make it egg-free: Substitute 1 tablespoon of potato flour mixed with 2 tablespoons of water in place of the beaten egg and stir into the mixture in step 3.

Gluten- and Nut-Free Southern Skillet Cornbread

  • 1 Tbsp. bacon drippings or vegetable oil
  • 2 cups stone-ground cornmeal
  • 2 Tbsp. superfine sugar
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 2 1/4 cups buttermilk

1. Preheat oven to 450°F and place a rack in top third of oven.
2. Put the bacon fat in a large cast-iron skillet or a 9-inch baking pan and place in oven.
3. Mix cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.
4. In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs and buttermilk; add to cornmeal mixture. Beat until smooth.
5. Pour batter into hot pan. Bake until top is browned and center springs back when gently pressed, 20 minutes. Cut into wedges and serve hot.

Babe Ruth Bars (a la Momma Sharlene)

  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 6 cups corn flake cereal
  • 1 cup white corn syrup
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup dry roasted peanuts
    1/2 cup white sugar


  1. Heat sugars, syrup, and peanut butter in a heavy pan until smooth.
  2. Mix cornflakes, chips, and peanuts in a buttered 9x13 pan.
  3. Pour peanut butter mixture over all and mix. Press gently into pan.
  4. Allow to cool and cut into bars.

Makes 18 bars.

Emergency Recipe Substitutions

It happens to every cook sooner or later: You're in the middle of a recipe when you realize you're out of a key ingredient. Don't panic! Check this handy chart for a quick solution!

Lemon juice:: 1 tsp. = 1/2 tsp. vinegar
Garlic: 1 small clove = 1/8 tsp. garlic powder
Tomato juice: 1 cup = 1/2 cup tomato sauce plus 1/2 cup water
Tomato sauce: 2 cups = 3/4 cup tomato paste plus 1 cup water

Eggs: 1 large egg = 1/4 cup egg substitute
Whole milk: 1 cup = 1/2 cup evaporated milk plus 1/2 cup water
Half-and-half: 1 cup = 7/8 cup milk plus 11/2 Tbsp. melted unsalted butter
Heavy cream: 1 cup = 1/3 cup melted unsalted butter plus 3/4 cup milk (to use for baking, not for whipping)
Sour cream: 1 cup = 1 cup plain yogurt
Plain yogurt: 1 cup = 1 cup cottage cheese (blended until smooth), buttermilk or sour cream
Buttermilk: 1 cup = 1 cup minus 1 Tbsp. sweet milk plus 1 Tbsp. lemon juice or vinegar (let it stand for 5 minutes before using)

All-purpose flour: 1 cup sifted = 1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. cake flour
Cake flour: 1 cup sifted = 1 cup minus 2 Tbsp. sifted all-purpose flour
Self-rising flour: 1 cup = 1 cup minus 2 tsp. all-purpose flour plus 11/2 tsp. baking powder and 1/2 tsp. salt

Granulated sugar: 1 cup = 1 firmly packed cup brown sugar
Brown sugar: 1 firmly packed cup = 1 cup granulated sugar plus 1/4 cup molasses
Powdered sugar: 1 cup = 3/4 cup granulated sugar

Fresh herbs: 1 Tbsp. = 1 tsp. dried herbs
Dried herbs: 1 tsp. = 1 Tbsp. fresh, finely cut
Allspice: 1 tsp. = 1/2 tsp. cinnamon plus 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
Apple pie spice: 1/2 tsp. = 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, 1/4 tsp. nutmeg plus 1/8 tsp. cardamom
Pumpkin pie spice: 1 tsp. = 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, 1/4 tsp. ginger, 1/8 tsp. allspice plus 1/8 tsp. nutmeg

Red wine: 1 cup = 1 cup beef broth, tomato juice or water
White wine: 1 cup = 1 cup grape juice, apple juice, chicken broth or water

Unsweetened: 1 oz. = 3 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder plus 1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
Semisweet: 1 oz. = 1 oz. unsweetened chocolate plus 4 tsp. sugar
Unsweetened cocoa powder: 3 Tbsp. = 1 oz. unsweetened chocolate, melted

Balsamic vinegar: 1 Tbsp. = 1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar plus 1 tsp. honey
Light corn syrup: 1 cup = 1 cup honey
Honey: 1 cup = 1 cup maple syrup
Baking powder: 1 tsp. = 1/4 tsp. baking soda plus 5/8 tsp. cream of tartar
Cornstarch: 1 Tbsp. = 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
Ketchup: 1 cup = 1 cup tomato sauce, 1/2 cup sugar plus 2 Tbsp. vinegar (to use for cooking, not as a condiment)
Dry mustard: 1 tsp. = 1 Tbsp. prepared mustard

Wednesday, April 16, 2008 Article: Cooking Inexpensive Meat

Click here for a good article about cooking inexpensive cuts of beef.

Check out this site!

Thanks to Mrs. Bell for this submission. Here's what she has to say:

Andrea, Here's a great website with free recipes, info, etc. You can also subscribe to a free quarterly magazine. I get it and I really enjoy it.


Click here for Kraft Kitchens Website.

Ranch Roasted Potatoes (a la Andrea)

  • 2 lbs. Small red potatoes, quartered
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 packet/1 oz. Hidden Valley® Seasoning & Salad Dressing Mix
  1. Place potatoes in a gallon size bag and add oil; seal bag. Toss to coat.
  2. Add Ranch Dressing Mix and toss again until coated.
  3. Bake in ungreased baking pan at 450 ˚F for 30-35 minutes, or until potatoes are brown and crisp.
Makes 6 servings,

Fresh Blackberry or Blueberry or Peach Cobbler (a la Andrea)

  • 4 cups whole blackberries or blueberries or chopped up peaches
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 1 cup packaged biscuit mix
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/3 cup light cream
  • Vanilla Ice Cream

    Prep time: 10 minutes
  1. In 10-inch heavy skillet with tight-fitting lid, combine blackberries and ½ cup sugar. Dot with butter. Cook and stir, over medium heat, until bubbly. Keep hot.
  2. For biscuit topper, in medium bowl, combine biscuit mix, 2 tablespoons sugar and cream; mix well.
  3. Spoon biscuit batter in 8 mounds over hot berry mixture.
  4. Cover skillet and place on edge of grill over medium-hot charcoal briquets.
  5. Cook, on covered grill, about 15 minutes or until done.
  6. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.

Serves 6-8

Basic Grilled Chicken (a la Andrea)

  • 6 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
  • ¾ cup Barbecue Sauce
  1. Place chicken breasts on a well-oiled grill.
  2. Cover and grill for 6-8 minutes per side or until cooked through.
  3. Brush with barbecue sauce during last 5 minutes of grilling.
Makes 4-6 servings

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Homemade Pizza Crust (a la Uncle Larry)

  • 1 Tbsp. active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water (105 to 115 degrees F.)
  • 1 tsp. sugar1 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  1. Dissolve the yeast in the water.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients in and mix.
  3. Dump onto a floured surface.
  4. Knead into a smooth dough (five minutes or so).
  5. Roll out and press down onto a greased pizza pan.
    Add toppings. (Have fun and be creative with this! Our favorite variety is salsa or barbecue sauce, diced cooked chicken, and cheese.)
  6. Bake at 450 degrees F. for around 12-15 minutes until the crust looks crispy and lightly browned.

By the way, you can make up a double or triple batch of the pizza crust dough and freeze the extras if you don't need it. This speeds up the preparation even more as all you have to do is pull out a bag of dough and a bag of chopped cooked chicken in the morning and then put the pizza together right before you're ready to eat. You can also freeze the pizzas already cooked - but I doubt it would ever stay uneaten long enough to make it to the freezer around here!

Princess Peg's Scrumptious Butter Pecan Bars

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

  • Butter Pecan Cake Mix
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 1 egg (I use egg substitute)

Mix the above ingredients just until combined. Press into a greased 9 x 13" baking pan, preferably glass.

  • 1 - 8 oz. package cream cheese (I use light)
  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • 2 eggs (or egg substitute)
  • 1 lb. box powdered sugar (or 4 cups)

Mix the above with a mixer until light and fluffy, and pour over top of first mixture.

  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup chopped pecans

Sprinkle pecans over top. Bake at 325 degrees for 50 to 60 minutes. The bottom should be golden and the top turning golden, as well. Allow bars to cool before cutting.

Oatmeal Walnut Cookies (a la Andrea)

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 18.5-ounce package yellow cake mix
  • 2/3 cup quick cooking oats
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts or chocolate chips
  • Granulated sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  2. Prepare baking sheets with non-stick spray or line them with parchment paper.
  3. In a large bowl, mix butter and eggs until light and fluffy.
  4. Stir in cake mix, quick oats, and walnuts.
  5. Roll dough into walnut-sized balls.
  6. Place cookies onto the prepared baking sheet, and flatten slightly with the bottom of a glass that has been buttered and dipped in granulated sugar.
  7. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown.
  8. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
Note: A tip on storing cake mix cookies: Depending on the type of cake mix you use, these cookies may dry out after two days. To prevent this, store them in an airtight container with a piece of bread. For some reason this keeps the cookies just as fresh and moist as can be.

Butterscotch Pumpkin Cookies (a la Andrea)

  • 2 18.25-ounce packages yellow or spice cake mix
  • 1 29-ounce can pumpkin puree
  • 2 cups butterscotch chips

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Pour cake mixes and pumpkin into a large bowl and mix well until fully incorporated.
  3. Stir in butterscotch chips.
  4. Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto a lightly greased cookie sheet.
  5. Bake 8-12 minutes.
  6. Cool 2 to 3 minutes on cookie sheet before removing to a rack to cool completely.
Yield: 4 to 5 dozen cookies.

Cake Mix Cookies (a la Andrea)

  • 1 18.25-ounce yellow cake mix
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 6 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven go 350 F.
  2. Dump cake mix into a large bowl.
  3. Stir in the oil and eggs until well blended (go ahead, you can even use your clean hands!).
  4. Mix in the chips.
  5. Drop dough by teaspoonfuls or roll into balls the size of walnuts and place 2 inches apart onto a greased cookie sheet and flatten just a bit with your fingers.
  6. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Do not over bake.
  7. Remove from pan to cool on wire racks.

Yield: About 2 dozen 2-inch cookies.

Because there are so many different kinds of cake mixes (with pudding, with double pudding, extra moist and so on), you may need to make slight adjustments to this recipe. For example, I’ve found that with some varieties of mix the dough is so stiff and dry it’s not possible to form the cookies into balls. When this happens I simply add one or two tablespoons of water until the dough is workable. If you want to cut down on fat, try substituting 1/2 cup applesauce for the oil. Variations: You can use just about any combination of cake mix and chips. Example: Carrot cake mix with white chocolate chips; chocolate cake mix with peanut butter chips; devil’s food cake mix with toffee bits chips; German chocolate cake mix with pecans and coconut; white cake mix with crushed pineapple (drained) and coconut.

Lemon Coolers (a la Andrea)

  • 1 18.25-ounce package lemon cake mix
  • 1 8-ounce container frozen whipped topping, thawed (like Cool Whip)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Mix together cake mix, whipped topping, lemon zest and egg. The batter will be very sticky.
  3. Just be patient as you drop by teaspoonfuls into bowl of confectioners’ sugar and coat.
  4. Shape into balls.
  5. Bake for 12-14 minutes. Do not allow to brown.
  6. Best the second day provided they are stored in an airtight container once cooled.
Yield: 36 cookies.

Chicken Alfredo (a la Andrea)

  • 1 stick butter (the real thing, please)
  • 1 8 oz. block of cream cheese
  • Garlic pepper to taste

Melt these together on medium heat. Whisk or use a mixer until smooth. Add garlic pepper.

  • 2 cups liquid--I use 1-1/2 cup heavy cream and 1/2 cup water (Whole or skim milk work fine too!)

Whisk in the liquid, stirring constantly. It will be thin.

  • 6-8 ounces of Parmesan cheese

I use the cheapest grated kind. (I have also grated fresh cheese myself for this recipe and couldn't really tell a difference.) Add cheese slowly to the liquid until blended. Turn heat to low and let cheese melt slowly. It will thicken upon standing off the heat.

I like to make this and refrigerate it until the next day. It reheats well, but you have to add some water to get it to thin up some. It is VERY thick. A word of warning, don't freeze it. I made that mistake and had to throw it away. I don't know if it is the cream or the cream cheese, but it doesn't freeze well.

Serve with grilled chicken strips and linguine pasta.

Serves approx. 6 people (more or less depending on how hungry you are!)

Welcome to Busy Moms CAN Cook!

I hope to make this a simple site with a simple premise--fast and easy recipes that are appealing to the beginning cook, as well as the more advanced chef. Please feel free to comment and submit recipes of all sorts. I welcome entrees, side dishes, breads, vegetables, casseroles, and of course, desserts.


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