Monday, June 23, 2008

Crescent Roll Yummy Goodness--Yummy-O!

  • 1 roll of Pillsbury Crescent Rolls
  • 1 can of apple pie filling or peach or blueberry, cherry or any pie filling
  • melted butter
  • cinnamon
  • sugar (optional)
  • Cool Whip or ice cream

Basically you just add a few dashes of cinnamon to the pie filling to give it more of a homemade taste (a few dashes of ginger powder gives the filling a nice little kick as well) and put about a tablespoon of filling in the crescent roll, roll it up, brush the crescent with some melted butter and pop it in the oven (follow the directions on the crescent roll package) and you are good to go. When they are done (and cool), add a dollop of Cool Whip on each roll. You can plate it with a sprig of mint and a dusting of cocoa powder if you have it and you want to be really fancy smansy and you're good to go! You can even serve the leftovers as breakfast treats without the cool whip.

http://chroniclesofmommyhood.typepad.com

Hip Tips--Cereal Bag Uses

Another handy use for empty cereal or cracker bags: use a double layer to separate pieces of chicken, meat, fish that you are freezing to use later.

The sturdy cereal bags don't stick to frozen food so it is easy to take out just the amount you want, or to have recipe ready pieces in flat, separated groups ready to easily and quickly defrost.

Prep the chicken/meat/poultry into serving size or meal size portions. Or slice so it is recipe ready (e.g., round steak in strips ready for a crock cooker meal; chicken in pieces ready for a stir-fry).

Then, to freeze, cut the wrap a little smaller than the size of the freezer bag. Use 2 layers of wrap. Put one layer of pieces on top, put it in the freezer bag. Then turn the freezer bag over, and put another layer of cut up meat, chicken or fish on the wrap.

Press out the air, seal tightly, and freeze after marking the bag with the contents, amount or weight, and date. You can take out as much as you want. The sturdy cereal bags don't stick to the frozen food. Far superior to waxed paper.

Check out www.SavingDinner.com for more hints and tips!


Hip Tips--Cereal Bag Uses

Another handy use for empty cereal or cracker bags: use a double layer to separate pieces of chicken, meat, fish that you are freezing to use later.

The sturdy cereal bags don't stick to frozen food so it is easy to take out just the amount you want, or to have recipe ready pieces in flat, separated groups ready to easily and quickly defrost.

Prep the chicken/meat/poultry into serving size or meal size portions. Or slice so it is recipe ready (e.g., round steak in strips ready for a crock cooker meal; chicken in pieces ready for a stir-fry).

Then, to freeze, cut the wrap a little smaller than the size of the freezer bag. Use 2 layers of wrap. Put one layer of pieces on top, put it in the freezer bag. Then turn the freezer bag over, and put another layer of cut up meat, chicken or fish on the wrap.

Press out the air, seal tightly, and freeze after marking the bag with the contents, amount or weight, and date. You can take out as much as you want. The sturdy cereal bags don't stick to the frozen food. Far superior to waxed paper.

Check out www.SavingDinner.com for more hints and tips!


Sorry for the Super Long Sabbatical. . .

We have been bUsY around here lately, but I am back now. . .send me some stuff to post! wOOhOO!

Andrea

Monday, June 9, 2008

All about making homemade mixes and recipes


from Leanne Ely

I learned a few tricks and some great treats to make that didn't take much time. I gave myself a few rules for groceries (like I'll never pay over .10/ounce for dry cereal, for example) and I stuck with them. That helped me cut grocery store dollars way, way down and gave me the much needed boost I needed to be able to put money into something else, other than food. It was amazing how drastically I cut my costs!

One of the places you can do that is with those packaged mixes. I am particularly fond of taco seasoning mix, although less fond of the cost and the MSG that is inevitably in there. I still use it on occasion, but I've also made this mix before and it's terrific and easy to make.
Click here for the link to the following recipes:
  • Taco Seasoning Mix
  • Noodle Mix
  • Homemade Shake and Bake
  • Dry Onion Soup Mix
  • Homemade Flavored Rice Mix
  • Vegetables Rice Mix
  • Spanish Rice Mix
  • Long Grain and Wild Rice Mix
  • Teacher Rice Mix
  • Onion-flavored RiceMix
  • Chicken-flavored Rice Mix
  • Mexican Rice Mix
  • Vegetarian Rice Mix

Honey Bun Cake--One of my Favorites!


  • 1 (18.25 ounce) package yellow cake mix

  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil

  • 4 eggs

  • 1 (8 ounce) container sour cream

  • 1 cup brown sugar

  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar

  • 4 tablespoons milk

  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract


DIRECTIONS


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).

  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine cake mix, oil, eggs and sour cream. Stir by hand approximately 50 strokes, or until most large lumps are gone.

  3. Pour half of the batter into an ungreased 9x13 inch glass baking dish.

  4. Combine the brown sugar and cinnamon, and sprinkle over the batter in the cake pan.

  5. Spoon the other half of the batter into the cake pan, covering the brown sugar and cinnamon.

  6. Twirl the cake with a butter knife or icing knife until it looks like a honey bun (or whatever design you want to make).

  7. Bake in preheated oven for 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

  8. Frost cake while it is still fairly hot.

  9. Serve warm.

  10. To Make the frosting: In a small bowl, whisk together the confectioner's sugar, milk and vanilla until smooth.

Honey Bun Cake--One of my Favorites!

  • 1 (18.25 ounce) package yellow cake mix
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 (8 ounce) container sour cream
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 4 tablespoons milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine cake mix, oil, eggs and sour cream. Stir by hand approximately 50 strokes, or until most large lumps are gone.
  3. Pour half of the batter into an ungreased 9x13 inch glass baking dish.
  4. Combine the brown sugar and cinnamon, and sprinkle over the batter in the cake pan.
  5. Spoon the other half of the batter into the cake pan, covering the brown sugar and cinnamon.
  6. Twirl the cake with a butter knife or icing knife until it looks like a honey bun (or whatever design you want to make).
  7. Bake in preheated oven for 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
  8. Frost cake while it is still fairly hot.
  9. Serve warm.
  10. To Make the frosting: In a small bowl, whisk together the confectioner's sugar, milk and vanilla until smooth.

Crisco Peanut Butter Cookie

From my mom!
  • 3/4 c Creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 c Crisco
  • 1 1/4 c Brown sugar
  • 3 tb Milk
  • 1 t Vanilla
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 3/4 c Flour
  • 3/4 ts Salt
  • 3/4 ts Baking soda
Directions:
1. Heat oven to 375F.
2. Combine peanut butter, Crisco, sugar, milk, and vanilla
3. Beat at medium speed until blended.
4. Add egg and beat again.
5. Combine dry ingredients. Mix in at low speed
6. Drop by teaspoonful onto ungreased baking sheet.
7. Bake 7-8 minutes or until brown.

Variation: flatten slightly in a criss-cross pattern with a floured fork. Top with sprinkles or mini semi-sweet chocolate chips.

(Taken from the back of a Crisco can in the '60's)

Saving Leftover Spaghetti

Thanks again to my mom for this good tip

I find it difficult to guesstimate how much spaghetti to cook. I usually ended up discarding the extra spaghetti, which I hated to do. Since I am frugal, I decided to put the excess in a sealed container and freeze it. When I need spaghetti again, I dump the frozen spaghetti into a pot of boiling water and boil it for about 3 minutes. It comes out just like fresh cooked spaghetti. My family doesn't have a clue that it had been frozen spaghetti.

Perfect Brownies

Thanks to my mom for this tip.

When I make brownies, I bake them in paper cupcake holders.
That way, there are no more brown edges and everyone gets an individual brownie that is perfect.

Consumer Reports' tests show how to get the best gas mileage

The best way to burn less fuel is to buy a car that gets better gas mileage.

But our tests with a Toyota Camry and other vehicles show there are ways to minimize what you spend at the pump with your current car.

2.5 cents/min Long Distance--No Monthly Min.; Free 800 Number

Pay only 2.5 cents a minute for long distance on ECG's state-to-state plan. The rate is good all day, with no minimum usage and no monthly fee like $4.95 or $5.95. (Only a 59¢ reg. recovery fee applies and the usual taxes.) You are billed online, and must pay automatically by debit/credit. They use real phone lines, and there are no special codes to dial. Six-second billing saves money, and a free 800 number lets the kids call home easily. U.S. based customer service. Instate and HI/AK rates vary.

Buy $100 of Dockers at Sears, Get $75 Gas Card + $10 Sears Card


Not to be outdone by JCP, Sears is offering its version of the father's day Dockers promotion.



Buy $100 of mens Dockers clothing or accessories (not shoes) by June 15 at Sears, and get back a Shell gasoline card worth $75.



Here is the rebate form and details.



Note also that a Sears press release indicates that you also qualify for a $10 Sears giftcard, but they don't tell you how to get it! [Aside: MrConsumer snared a pair of dress pants and five shirts for $101. Look for really soft clearance, no-iron, solid, long sleeve, button down shirts for only $9.99.]


FDA Warns Consumers Nationwide Not to Eat Certain Types of Raw Red Tomatoes

The Food and Drug Administration is expanding its warning to consumers nationwide that a salmonellosis outbreak has been linked to consumption of certain raw red plum, red Roma, and red round tomatoes, and products containing these raw, red tomatoes.

FDA recommends that consumers not eat raw red Roma, raw red plum, raw red round tomatoes, or products that contain these types of raw red tomatoes unless the tomatoes are from the sources listed below. If unsure of where tomatoes are grown or harvested, consumers are encouraged to contact the store where the tomato purchase was made. Consumers should continue to eat cherry tomatoes, grape tomatoes, and tomatoes sold with the vine still attached, or tomatoes grown at home.

On June 5, using traceback and other distribution pattern information, FDA published a list of states, territories, and countries where tomatoes are grown and harvested which have not been associated with this outbreak.This updated list includes: Arkansas, California, Georgia, Hawaii, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Belgium, Canada, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Israel, Netherlands, and Puerto Rico.

This list will be updated as more information becomes available.

FDA's recommendation does not apply to the following tomatoes from any source: cherry, grape, and tomatoes sold with the vine still attached.

FDA recommends that retailers, restaurateurs, and food service operators not offer for sale and service raw red Roma, raw red plum, and raw red round tomatoes unless they are from the sources listed above. Cherry tomatoes, grape tomatoes, and tomatoes sold with the vine still attached, may continue to be offered from any source.

Since mid April, there have been 145 reported cases of salmonellosis caused by Salmonella Saintpaul nationwide, including at least 23 hospitalizations. States reporting illnesses linked to the outbreak include: Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin. Salmonella Saintpaul is an uncommon type of Salmonella.

Salmonella can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections particularly in young children, frail or elderly people, and those with weakened immune systems. Healthy persons often experience fever, diarrhea (which may be bloody), nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. In rare circumstances, the organism can get into the bloodstream and produce more severe illnesses. Consumers who have recently eaten raw tomatoes or foods containing raw tomatoes and are experiencing any of these symptoms should contact their health care provider. All Salmonella infections should be reported to state or local health authorities.

FDA recognizes that the source of the contaminated tomatoes may be limited to a single grower or packer or tomatoes from a specific geographic area. FDA also recognizes that there are many tomato crops across the country and in foreign countries that will be ready for harvest or will become ready in the coming months. In order to ensure that consumers can continue to enjoy tomatoes that are safe to eat, FDA is working diligently with the states, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Indian Health Service, and various food industry trade associations to quickly determine the source of the tomatoes associated with the outbreak.

FDA is taking these actions while the agency continues to investigate this outbreak with state and federal partners. Such actions are a key component of FDA?s Food Protection Plan a scientific and risk-based approach to strengthen and protect the nation?s food supply.

Creamy Ranch Coleslaw

Toss together
  • 16-ounce bag of coleslaw mix
  • 1/2 cup reduced-calorie ranch salad dressing
  • 1/4 cup shelled sunflower seeds
  • 2 teaspoons snipped fresh dill or 1 teaspoon caraway seed or celery seed

Serve immediately or cover and chill up to 24 hours.

Makes 4 cups (8, 1/2-cup servings)

Saturday, June 7, 2008

I just found something SOOOO Cool!


Have you heard of Google Blog Search?
Basically, you go there and find blogs on your favorite topics . . . pretty cool huh?


Grocery Shopping For A Month

Good article aboout cutting the costs of food. . .

What to Pack for a 3 Day Trip by MissusSmartyPants

It’s that time of year to plan vacations and get-a-ways! Get a change of scenery and spend time collecting memories (and shells) with your loved ones. Even if you can’t take a full week off, at least take a mini-vacation or relax during a long 3-day weekend. Just a bit planning is all you need!

Here are some style and packing tips to help you have a relaxing flip-flop of a time! Here’s a checklist of what we’ll need for a three-day trip to the beach (or Lake House).

Take into consideration what activities you are planning besides lying on the beach reading “chick-lit”…and get packing girl!

What You Need:

Flip-Flops! Nothing says summer better than flat beach flip-flops. This year there’s a rainbow of colors to choose. Look for fun patterns printed on the soles of the flip-flops too. Even a pair of sandals with sewn on shells would be fun. Get a couple of fun pairs to pack! I like to shop the “big box” stores for these!

1 pair of heeled slip-ons. You need one “dressier” pair of sandals for a nice dinner out.

1 pair of sneakers. Wear these for shopping and sightseeing the town.

2 stylish t-shirts or tanks. Pick some fun colors that you look good in! Remember: body skimming-no baggy t-shirts!

2 pair of shorts. These need to work for you body type (body skimming and with stretch!) They should match your t-shirts/tanks. Basic colors work best…white, navy, khaki, brown and black.

1 pair of casual pants/jeans. Just in case it gets cool when you stroll at sunset it’s nice to have pants.

1 sundress. You will look cute and “beachy” when you wear a cool gauzy frock. I like to pick a style that I can wear to brunch or dinner (if it has spaghetti straps, you may want to add a light weight sweater over the top) Also add a matching bangle or two, to quickly dress up the look.

Your bathing suit! Don’t forget your suit! One “fab” styled “miracle suit” can do wonders for a gal’s image!

A cover-up. Just throw it on and you’re good to go! Wear it when you stroll along the shore with your honey, or when grabbing an icy latte at the cafĂ©.

Beach bag/extra large tote. Choose a straw or vinyl tote in a bright and cheery color. (One the compliments your bathing suit is best) I also like one with a zipper, so I can avoid the contents of my bag spilling out into the sand!

Large brim hat and sunglasses. Even if you sit under an umbrella, you still need to have the essentials to protect you from harmful UV rays.

2 Large Beach Towels. Invest in a couple of quality velour extra-large beach towels. The bigger towels help keep the sand at bay and off your body. Use the extra towel rolled up as a pillow for when you are lying down. After a cooling off swim, this towel can dry you off (instead of picking up your towel and spraying sand on everyone!) See how important it is to have 2 towels?!

Sunscreen and Toiletries. The last thing you want to do is get sunburned the first day out! Don’t forget to slather on sunscreen before you head outdoors--and every few hours as needed. Sunscreen lotion: should have SPF 30 and contain both UVA and UBA protection. Also you may want get a “glow” with some self-tanning product-to enhance the “suntan look”!

Toiletries: toothbrush, makeup, deodorant, hairbrush, shampoo, lotions and soaps. Keep it simple and take only trial sizes.

Accessories. You don’t need too many accessories for a 3-day trip, but take some to dress up your casual attire. I like to take a bangle bracelet, some dangle earrings and perhaps a necklace made out of shells (very tropical).

Have a great trip and send me a postcard!

Leslie Gonzales AKA MissusSmartyPants helps women dress their best! Check out her website for more information.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Nothing to do with cooking. . .

My son Reilly REALLY wants this game. He woke up at my mom's on June 3rd

Hungry Girl's June 2008 Supermarket List

Just in time for the summer season, it's an updated Hungry Girl Supermarket List! CLICK HERE for a printable version--then grab a grocery cart and hit the aisles runnin'!

Stay Out of the Supermarket and Save

GREAT article from Mary Hunt here.

Stay Out of the Supermarket and Save

Peanut Butter Cereal Bars

  • cooking spray
  • 4 cup(s) cereal, sweetened oat flakes
  • 3/4 cup(s) oats, rolled, quick cooking
  • 1/2 cup(s) flour, all-purpose
  • 1/2 cup(s) apples, dried
  • 2 egg(s)
  • 1/3 cup(s) honey
  • 1/3 cup(s) peanut butter, chunky
  • 1/4 cup(s) oil, cooking

1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Line a 9x9x2-inch baking pan with foil. Coat foil with nonstick cooking spray; set aside. In a large bowl, combine oat cereal flakes, rolled oats, flour, and dried apples. Set aside.

2. In a small bowl, beat eggs with a fork; stir in honey, peanut butter, and oil. Pour over cereal mixture. Mix well. Transfer mixture to prepared pan. Using the back of a large spoon, press mixture firmly into pan. Bake for 28 to 30 minutes or until edges are browned. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack. Using a serrated knife, cut into bars.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Cookie Personality Quiz


Take this quiz and get a $1 coupon. . .sounds good to me!

What's your Cookie Personality?







Take this quiz and get a coupon to boot!

Frugal Vacation Ideas

Vacation season is here, and if you’re like me, you want to make your vacation as fun, and frugal, as possible. Fortunately fun and frugality can go hand in hand. There are lots of ways to save money on your vacation, without scrimping on the fun. Here are a few ideas to get you going.

Chicken Fettuccine With Broccoli

Cooking the broccoli with the pasta saves time -- and cleanup.

INGREDIENTS:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion
1 medium red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and cut lengthwise into thin strips
1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary, crumbled
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme, crumbled
8 ounces fettuccine or linguine
1 1/2 cups frozen broccoli florets, unthawed
12 ounces skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-wide strips
1/4 cup water
2 teaspoons instant chicken bouillon granules
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup half-and-half
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

DIRECTIONS:
1. Heat oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat 1 minute. Add onion, bell pepper, rosemary, and thyme; cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 8 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, cook fettuccine according to package directions, adding broccoli during the last 4 minutes of cooking time.

3. Drain fettuccine and broccoli well and place in a large serving bowl. Cover with foil and keep warm.

4. Increase heat to medium-high and add chicken, water, bouillon granules, and ground pepper to onion-bell pepper mixture; stir to combine. Cook, uncovered, stirring often, until chicken is no longer pink on the inside, about 5 minutes.

5. Add half-and-half, reduce heat to medium, and cook, stirring, just until heated through, 1 to 2 minutes more. Ladle over fettuccine and broccoli and sprinkle with Parmesan.

Monday, June 2, 2008

75 Gas Saving Tips

Edmunds.com did a real-world test of a few of the common gas saving tips to see how they stacked up and these were the tips they found to be most important.

Ten Secrets of Slow Cooker Success


I love my slow cooker! I can prep early in the day, clean up the kitchen and just go about my normal routine knowing that come evening I’ll have something hearty and HOT to fill myself (and my parents) with. However slow cooking is not as instinctive as I would have thought.


Terrific One-Pot Recipes



Who doesn't love to have a hot meal waiting at the end of the day? With slow cookers, you just put the ingredients in the pot on your way out the door, and when you return home, voila -- a ready-to-eat meal!

Dining Room Decorating: Creative Ways to Add Style

Give your formal dining room a new look with these creative, budget-friendly decorating tips.
A formal dining room is a wonderful amenity to have in a home. It is the place where friends and family gather for holiday meals, informal dinners, and good conversation. Decorating a dining room to create an appealing and impressive atmosphere is a great way to make the space even more comfortable and inviting, and the following creative decorating ideas will help you add style and designer appeal. Absolutely anyone can make an ordinary dining room look like a million bucks!

Ten Tips to Building a Better Burger

Summer's almost here and if you're anything like me, you've already made that annual trip to the store to refill the propane tank on your backyard grill.


One thing I often hear from guests is that my barbequed burgers actually taste good ... rather than just being hard and dry as hockey pucks like so many of those traditional family reunion barbequed hamburgers we've all endured from time to time.


In honor of the hallowed summertime tradition of outdoor cooking, here are some of my favorite tips for finding your way to Hamburger Heaven in your own backyard.


Thirteen Easy Things You Can Learn to Do Yourself That Have a Big Impact on Your Budget

Click here to read these practical tips. . .

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