Other Pinterest Moms

I agree!

I agree!

I saw this on Facebook and I just had to post here on my blog! It’s been awhile since I’ve posted but things have been so busy lately that I have barely had time to myself let alone looking at Pinterest!! Tonight I am going to make a cake off Pinterest and then before Christmas I am going to make some yummy cookies I found there too! So tomorrow I will be back to my usual cooking/playing on Pinterest!

 

Happy Pinning!

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10 Tips to Spend Less on Food

I know it has been awhile since I have posted on my blog but life has just been so busy! My boyfriend is moving in with me so we’ve bene working on that then he dislocated his shoulder which has left us in a bind. So we’ve been focusing on the move and almost nothing else! After looking on pinterest I found a post about top 10 tips on how to save on food. Being a frugal person I love this pin and I do several important things on it to keep my own costs down.

The Pin:

Food saving tips

Food saving tips

Tip #2: I always use brown bananas to make banana bread! I don’t know anyone who doesn’t but I never thought about freezing them! A local store always has cheap, brown bananas for super cheap so I may try this once.

Tip #3: I rarely have leftovers because I usually cook just enough for my family because a lot of us don’t like to eat them. If there are leftovers I will take some for lunch the next day but things that won’t taste good reheated I will put out for the strays.

Tip #5: Every Wednesday I get the food ads in the mail so I will look at whats on sale and plan my meals around that. If chicken is on sale for a cheap price, $1.99/lb or less I will buy enough for 2 weeks worth of meals. I also combine this tip with #4 and use items on sale this week with items I got for cheap last week. It works well and saves me a lot of money every week/month/year. I also combine these sales with tip #10 and get things on sale then use coupons on them to pay a lot less. This week target has Campbell’s cream of mushroom soup for $0.69 and I have a coupon for $0.40/4 and 5% off so for 4 cans I will pay $2.22 (about $0.50 each).

Tip #6: This tip also gets combined with #5 in those weekly ads you will see cheap produce on sale and the cheaper items are the ones in season. Also in the fall I will go to local markets like an Amish store or the local farmer’s market for cheaper, local fresh produce.

Tip #7: I don’t think I have ever done a meatless meal….I love my chicken, pork and fish lol!!

Tip #8: This is a good tip but I don’t make a list I have a rotation system in my freezer. I have my packages of chicken on one shelf and when I get more I pull the older ones to the front and put the newer ones behind them. So when I grab a package in the front I know it’s the older ones. I also will date the packages, sometimes with a date, but at times I get to lazy for this lol!

Tip #9 and #10: I will buy generic foods but often times I find I can get name brands for cheaper with coupons and sales. I haven’t had a good trash bag deal so I got the Target brand and used a 5% off to get some cheap bags. As for coupons….I could write a whole post on this!! Now I am not extreme…most legit coupon users find this to be an insult…I am a logical coupon user. I make sure to use them on the right things and never try to cheat the system! Target is the best place to shop since they have their own coupons on their site, you can use Sunday paper coupons, get their debit card to get 5% off, use their mobile q’s, and their new Cartwheel which gives you % off items. So I can clean up there lol!! I often save thousands of dollars by using coupons matched with sales and gift card deals!!

I love this list of tips since it can save you lots of cash! I am a big fan of saving money, using coupons, and by reusing items you have at home! I never realized how much I do this until I cleaned out my boyfriend’s deep freeze, freezer, fridge and pantry durin the moving process! He had so much expired foods in vast quantities…it looked like he forgot he had certain things in back so he bought more. The deep freezer was the worst he would just pile fresher foods on top of the old foods (he has a chest freezer mine is an upright) and by the time I got to the bottom of it he had food from 2007!!! Thankfully we agreed that I would do all the shopping for us lol!! Hope you  like the tips!!

Happy Pinning!

Baked Spaghetti Squash

I love eating spaghetti squash with my pasta sauce so much now I doubt I will ever eat pasta again! But I have never cooked it myself….until now! The few times I have had it my mom has baked it and I have either #1 eaten it at her house or #2 taken some of her already cooked and frozen squash home with me. So while we were out at the local pumpkin patch I bought up both a nice spaghetti squash for about $1.50 each. Tonight I ate the last bit of the frozen squash I had left so I decided tonight I would cook the one I had at home.

The pin:

http://inspireandindulge.wordpress.com/2013/01/03/paleo-spaghetti-squash/

To bake the squash you cut it in half lengthwise and clean out and dispose of the goopy guts! Then place the squash skin side up on an oiled cookie sheet. Some people use olive oil, salt, and pepper on the squash before baking it. However I just spray some Pam for baking on the cookie sheet and bake it like that,

Well the squash has a really thick skin and it was impossible for me to cut it so I asked my boyfriend to help me. By the time I got it in the oven it looked like this:

Pieces ready to bake.

Pieces ready to bake.

The poor thing was in about 5 pieces and, as you can see, I had about half a pumpkin to roast too.  So I put it in the oven on 350 degrees for an hour. You’ll know it’s ready when you can easily prick the flesh with a fork.

Cooked!

Cooked!

Ready to eat!

Ready to eat!

Once it’s cooked use a fork to scoop out the flesh, it will come out in strings hence the name spaghetti squash. After this you can use it for any recipe from spaghetti squash au gratin or put spaghetti sauce over it. It’s delicious!

Tips from me:

#1 After it cools down I intend to measure it out in 1/2 cup fulls, place in individual baggies, and then freeze it until I am ready to use it!

#2 Remember when roasting any squash the time may vary due to the size. Bigger, thicker ones take longer and the smaller ones will cook quicker.

Happy Pinning!

Banana Nut Bread

Last night my boyfriend came home with 4 rotting bananas he had found at his house and he asked me to make him some banana nut bread. Then he told me his roommate wanted me to make him some of my homemade beer bread (https://aradiasilvermoon.wordpress.com/2013/09/02/homemade-beer-bread/)  and at first I was flabbergasted thinking “What am I a short order cook?” But then I was flattered because apparently I was getting so good at baking homemade breads that everybody wants some! So off I went to my Pinterest page and I brought up the cooking board where, sure enough, I had a recipe pinned for banana but bread! Now the recipe I found was for a double, 2 loaf, batch so I cut the ingredients in half to make just one loaf. I put the half ingredients on this post but if you want the double batch ingredients go to the pin below.

The pin:

http://southernfood.about.com/od/bananabread/r/bl30426m.htm

Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter or margarine

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp baking soda

2 cups flour

3 very ripe bananas mashed

1/8 tsp salt

1 cup chopped nuts

Ingredients

Ingredients

Melt the butter then cream with the sugar in a large bowl then add the eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly before adding another. Mix the flour, salt, and baking soda together in a separate bowl then slowly add the dry mixture to the liquid ingredients. Then you mash the bananas on a plate.

Bananas ready to mix in the dough.

Bananas ready to mix in the dough.

Then fold the bananas into the dough and mix well then add your chopped nuts (I used walnuts). After the dough is ready pour into a greased loaf pan and cook at 325 degrees for 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Ready to bake!

Ready to bake!

Now I don’t have an after photo since it’s not done cooking yet! I have made banana bread before so I know this will turn out just fine! 🙂 I love any fresh bread straight out of the oven! So warm, fluffy, and at times so gooey….I am getting hungry just thinking about it!!

Tips from me

I don’t have any today! This is a fairly easy, simple, and straight forward bread that anyone can make!

Happy pinning!!!

Breakfast Casserole

During a church dinner I tried this amazing, yummy casserole made of sausage, cheese, eggs, and hashbrowns. I always wanted to make it but never could find a recipe until I joined Pinterest. But it makes a HUGE pan full so I never made it until last weekend when my parents and 18 year old nephew came down. I figured it would be the perfect meal since my dad and nephew can put away some food, mainly my nephew lol. It made a nice 13-in. x 9-in. x 2-in pan full!

The pin: 

http://peppertree.wordpress.com/2011/12/28/morning-after-breakfast-casserole/

Ingredients

8 frozen hash brown patties. Or you can use a 12 oz bag of shredded hash browns
4 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
1 pound cubed fully cooked ham (or cooked sausage and bacon!)
7 eggs
1 cup milk (I used skim milk and the author of the blog used Silk soymilk)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground mustard (I didn’t have so I omitted)
A few drops of Hot Sauce (Franks or Tabisco)- I omitted

Ingredients

Ingredients

Brown your sausage or cook your meat and while it’s cooking place hashbrowns in a greased 13×9 in pan.

Hashbrown layer

Hashbrown layer

Mix the eggs and milk in a bowl with the seasonings and hot sauce. Sprinkle your meat and cheese on top of the hashbrowns and then pour the egg mixture on top. Cover with tin foil and bake for an hour at 350 degrees then uncover and cook an additional 15 minutes to brown the top.

Out of the oven.

Out of the oven.

Then enjoy!

Served and ready to eat.

Served and ready to eat.

Tips from me: 

#1 Instead of ground mustard I seasoned the egg mixture with salt and pepper just like I do when I make scrambled eggs.

#2 Four cups of cheese seemed like a lot to me because when I layered two cups it covered the meat and hashbrowns perfectly. So depending on how much cheese you like you can adjust this without any cooking problems.

While eating my mom and I discussed the possibility of baking this, cutting it into squares, place them in freezer bags, and then freezing them. So on a busy day you can take out a bag, heat a square up in the microwave, and eat a nice hot  meal without cooking! I decided to try this idea and it worked out nicely! So now I can make this and not worry about wasting leftovers!

Happy Pinning!

Homemade Pumpkin Puree

After making the steel cut pumpkin pie oats and the homemade pumpkin bread I had to break down and buy some more pumpkin so I could continue my cooking. But what I found shocked me! The canned pumpkin was $1.99 for generic and around $2.xx for name brand! I was astonished and decided I wouldn’t buy any! When I got home I looked on my pinterest and I found a how to on making your own pumpkin puree for use in recipes. I also like the idea of making my own because it won’t have any dyes, preservatives, or other artificial ingredients in it!

The pin: 

http://dailysavings.allyou.com/2012/09/24/pumpkin-cooking/

I went to a local grocery store and found they had pie pumpkins on sale for $0.89 and I bought two for under $3. The are a lot smaller then carving pumpkins, you should use pie pumpkin because they have a better taste to them. First you cut them in half legthwise (start at the stem and cut until you reach the stem again. After cutting it scoop out the seeds and put them aside (I am going to roast them for the first time tonight and post about it tomorrow) in a bowl of water.

Cut, scooped, and ready to bake.

Cut, scooped, and ready to bake.

Place both halve cut side down on a lightly oiled baking sheet and cook on 350 degrees the time ranges due to several factors. My tiny ones cooked up in 45 minutes but it can take up to 2 hours depending on size and density.

Baking

Baking

After they are cooked fully the flesh should scoop out easily, if not place back in over and cook longer. Wait until the pumpkin is cooled then scoop out the flesh and place into a bowl and toss the rinds in the trash, or compost. The pin said to mash it up but I had trouble and couldn’t mash it well enough so I dumped into a food processor until it was all smooth.

Pumpkin puree

Pumpkin puree

I baked two pumpkins and got around 3 cups of puree and since the bread calls for one and a half cups I measured out that amount. I put some into the fridge then froze the rest. I found nicer, darker pie pumpkins at a local market that sells Amish and Mennonite produce (they were $1.49 each) and I will bake them today but I don’t expect much change. I asked my mom about how pale the pureed pumpkin was compared to the canned pumpkin (she makes her own canned pumpkin) and she said the color didn’t matter. She said the products I made would be paler in comparison (to canned products) but taste the same since pumpkin has really no taste of it’s own…it’s the spices that make the taste. So don’t be frightened if your puree is pale too.  So for under $3 I got enough pumpkin for 2 loaves of bread compared to $2.xx for one can which would only make one loaf! It was super easy and unless I can find a crazy good deal on canned pumpkin I will make my own!

Happy Pinning!

Food (and life) Saving Tips

Imagine you’re cooking your favorite meal and halfway through it you realize you don’t have the spices for it or another important ingredient. Nothing is more frustrating right? Well thanks to Pinterest I have found so many neat tricks that have saved me a lot of time, money, and most important frustration!

Seasonings

I was halfway through making tacos one night when I realized I didn’t have any taco seasoning packets! I was also broke so I couldn’t just run out and buy one! Thankfully I remembered I had pinned some seasoning blends so I went to my computer and found this lifesaver!

Taco Seasoning:
1 tbsp chili powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp paprika
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp black pepper
mix and use! When I made this I omitted the red pepper flakes since I don’t like it to spicy. Also when using this put a little in at a time then taste it before adding more. I didn’t do this and my meat came out really spicy so I had to cut it down with water and more meat before we could eat it.
Pumpkin Pie Spice Blend:

I was making the pumpkin pie steel cut oats I realized that it called for pumpkin spice blend and I didn’t have any! S0 again I dug through my pins and found a great helping recipe.

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

1/4 tsp ground ginger

1/8 tsp ground cloves

mix together and use!

The best thing about these blends is the fact that they have no MSG, preservatives, or other additives! I like knowing what is in my food and I love how with a few simple spices you can save money by not buying packets at the store!

Freezing

Ever make something only to have a TON of it and no idea what to do with it all? I always freeze items for quick and tasty meals but I found some great tips that made this process a bit easier.

#1 Use a muffin tin!

Oatmeal in a muffin tin

Oatmeal in a muffin tin

(the pin http://highermiles.blogspot.com/2012/03/friday-food-oatmeal-from-freezer.html) After I made the pumpkin pie steel cut oats (post here https://aradiasilvermoon.wordpress.com/2013/09/19/pumpkin-pie-steel-cut-oats/) I took a 1/2 cup measuring cup and filled the muffin tin with the oatmeal then I put it in the freezer. After they froze I used a knife to gently loosen them so they popped out and I put them in the baggie to save for later!

bag of oatmeal!

bag of oatmeal!

You can also use your freezer to make yummy desserts!

The pin: http://www.funelf.net/ice-tray-strawberries-chocolate-go/

Slice strawberries in half, place in an ice cube tray, pour melted chocolate over,and freeze! I would spray the tray with a bit of non stick spray so you can pop them all out then break apart!

Misc Tips: 

#1: Use your muffin tin to poach eggs!

Poached eggs

Poached eggs

Crack the eggs into a muffin tin and cook at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes! You can then freeze them like this then heat up for breakfast or make sandwiches out of them and freeze those!

#2 Use 2 cookie sheets to make crispy, baked sandwiches!

Perfect grilled sandwiches

Perfect grilled sandwiches

Hopefully these tips will help you in your cooking future!!

Happy Pinning!

Homemade Pumpkin Bread

Since the season of pumpkin is upon us I decided to make some yummy, scrumptious pumpkin bread! I love all things pumpkin including, but not limited to, pumpkin bread, pumpkin rolls, pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin spice cappuccino, pumpkin pie, and pumpkin oatmeal. Yummy!!

The pin:

http://mylifeandkids.com/moist-pumpkin-bread-recipe/#comment-91397

Ingredients:

2 eggs

1 c sugar

½ c brown sugar

½ c butter or margarine, softened

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1½ cups all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

1½ cup canned pumpkin

Ingredients

Ingredients

First you preheat the over to 350 degrees then mix all dry ingredients in a bowl and set aside. Mix butter and sugar together until creamy then add eggs one at a time while still stirring (or crack one and then stir…add the other…stir). After the eggs add the vanilla, then you slowly combine the dry ingredients with the liquid ingredients. Add pumpkin into mixture (the blog says to “by hand, mix in pumpkin”) but I folded it in gently until all combined.

Pumpkin batter, ready to bake

Pumpkin batter, ready to bake

Pour into a greased, floured pan and bake for 45 minutes, let set in the pan once cooked for 15 minutes then remove and cool on a wire rack.

Done and ready to eat!

Done and ready to eat!

Tips from me:

#1: Oven temperatures vary widely so the cooking time may be longer. I checked mine at 45 minutes and it was still really liquidy so I cooked it longer, it took 1 hour and 10 minutes before the knife came out clean.

#2: Like I said above the blog stated to “by hand, mix in pumpkin”. But in my experience a batter like this that is sticky and really liquid it is hard to knead by hand.

#3: When it says dry ingredients it means the spices too lol! When I first made this (I have made 2 loaves so far) I mixed everything in but the spices since it didn’t occur to me they were dry ingredients! So I added them in at the end but before adding the pumpkin! It tasted every bit as delicious as my second loaf (made properly this time lol!).

I found this to be a very easy and simple bread to make! It was very moist, flavor full, and it sliced real easily! It was so good in fact my boyfriend ate half the loaf the next morning for breakfast! Since my mom, as well as I, wanted some I had to bake a second loaf and let him have the remainder of the first one! So be prepared because this pumpkin bread is so good it’ll disappear quickly!

Pumpkin Pie Steel Cut Oats

‘Tis the season!! No not that season…not yet anyways! I mean the season of everything pumpkin! I LOVE pumpkin so much that I try to use it as much as possible this time of the year! Pumpkin pie, pumpkin coffee creamer, pumpkin roll, pumpkin bread, and now pumpkin pie steel cut oats! I have only recently because aware of how much better steel cut oats are for you vs. rolled oats so I looked up multiple recipes.  Last time, my first blog post on here, was cinnamon apple steel cut oats https://aradiasilvermoon.wordpress.com/2013/08/25/crock-pot-cinnamon-apple-steel-cut-oats/.

The pin: http://fooddoodles.com/2011/11/13/pumpkin-pie-steel-cut-oats-in-the-crockpot/

Ingredients:

  • 2 C steel cut oats
  • 1 15oz can of pumpkin(or about 1 3/4C)
  • 1 400 mL (about 1.5 cups) or 14 oz can full fat coconut milk plus enough water to make 7C(about 5 1/4C water)
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 1 tbsp + 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 C honey or maple syrup(or leave unsweetened and add after it’s been cooked)

Mix all ingredients in a crock pot and cook 5-6 hours on low.

Ready to cook!

Ready to cook!

When done simply spoon up and enjoy with any topping you like!

Delicious!

Delicious!

I loved cooking this overnight because when I work up this morning not only did my house smell so good but a hot breakfast was waiting for me! I didn’t have to cook or prepare anything I could just serve it up and enjoy! It tasted like you crumbled up a slice of pumpkin pie and ate it in milk! So good! I can’t wait to have more tomorrow morning!

Tips from me:

#1 Any milk can be used in place of the coconut milk. I used a almond/cashew/hazelnut milk blend in mine.

#2 The temperature and time may vary from crock pot to crock pot. Mine has timed settings intervals of 4, 6, 8, or 10 hours so I started mine at 8:30 pm and set it on 10 hours so it would be done by 6:30 am and ready to eat!

#3 I didn’t have any honey or maple syrup so I omitted it (it cooked just fine) and I added brown sugar to my bowl and it tasted fabulous!

#4 It makes a lot so be prepared for leftovers if your family is small, like mine!

Hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I did!

Happy Pinning!

P.S.: I would love it if my readers would post some pins in the comments section! I am always looking for new things to try!!

Copycat Starbucks Chai Tea Latte

OK tonight I was going to post about homemade pop tarts but as I was making them I realized it was a 2 day process! I got half of it done and the rest will be completed tomorrow morning. I am documenting everything so I can make a big post about it tomorrow! Well that left tonight with nothing to post until I saw at the very bottom of my cooking board a tiny pin from when I started pinning a year ago.

The Pin: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/72057662758213519/

I am a HUGE fan of Starbucks Chai Tea Latte (nonfat, no water, with  toffee nut flavoring…or pumpkin in the fall please! 😉 ). But it got to the point where I was an unemployed, single mother who went to school full time. I had no money and no time for my Starbucks fix…until I got the idea of making it at home. I didn’t know if it was possible so I asked the Barista at a Starbucks in Target and she told me to buy the Tazo Chai Tea Concentrate and mix equal amounts milk and concentrate. I asked how to incorporate the flavoring and she said buy some syrup, like Torani, and add it in. Well I tried this and yuck!! Then i got the idea to use flavored coffee creamer! So I tinkered with my recipe and I came up with this:

3/4 cup Tazo Chai Tea Concentrate

1/4 cup flavored creamer

1/2 cup milk

Ingredients

Ingredients

Mix well in either a saucepan or a glass measuring cup. If you used a saucepan then heat on the stove until it is your preferred temperature. If you used a glass measuring cup place in microwave and heat until desired temperature.

Ready to heat!

Ready to heat!

Once hot pour in mug and enjoy!

Ready to drink!

Ready to drink!

Tips from me:

#1 I do the 3/4 cup since it fills my standard size coffee cups, I used a bigger one this time since it was clear and easier to see when photographed. If you use a bigger cup increase the ingredients to 1 cup mix, 3/4 cup milk, and 1/4 creamer.

#2 I do not have a way to steam milk like they do at Starbucks so this will taste slightly different then theirs. But it’s close enough to give me my fix without paying $5 a cup!

Now that I have a better paying job I do on occasion splurge at Starbucks but this gets me by! It also has helped since I moved out a big city for work to a small town and the nearest Starbucks in about an hour away!

 

Happy Pinning!