Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

Two things I have mentioned a once or twice or twenty is that I like to save money and reuse items I have on hand. After Christmas I got some cheap premade Pillsbury peanut butter cookie dough for less then $1 a roll. After Easter I snagged mini Reese’s peanut butter cups on clearance for $0.98 a bag then I used $1/2 coupons on top of that to pay $0.96 for 2 bags ($0.48 each)! On the package of cookie dough it give a recipe for peanut butter blossoms that uses Hershey Kisses. Well I thought why not use the peanut butter cups I got instead?

Ingredients

1 roll Premade or Homemade Peanut Butter cookie dough

1 Bag of peanut butter cups

2 tbsp sugar

peanut butter cups

peanut butter cups

cookie dough

cookie dough

Roll cookie dough by the tablespoon into balls then roll those is sugar.

dough rolled in sugar

dough rolled in sugar

Cook for 9 minutes at 350 or whatever your dough suggests then once done remove from cookie sheet and place on flat surface or cooling rack. I lay my fresh baked cookies on the counter that is covered in paper towels. Then press a piece of candy in the center of the cookie before it cools down.

finished and ready to eat!

finished and ready to eat!

 

Tips By Me:

#1: I have made these with Hershey’s Kisses before and the candy gets soft quickly but as the cookies cool the candy hardens back up slightly. With the peanut butter cups however they melted significantly, mine were even frozen, before they cooled. So I would suggest freezing the candy because room temperature candy may melt completely before they can cool to harden.

 

Happy Pinning!

Advertisements

Oreo Cookie Balls

So now that life has settled down following the holidays and my boyfriend’s surgery I can finally relax and post about all the yummy treats I made! One things I made is Oreo Cookie Balls…they are easy to make and very yummy!

Ingriedients:

1 package Oreos

1package Cream Cheese

Ingredients

Ingredients

All you do is put the whole package of Oreo cookies into a food processor and crush until there are fine crumbs.

Processed oreo cookies

Processed oreo cookies

Then you add the room temperature cream cheese to the processed Oreo cookies and form into a soft dough.

Oreo crumbs mixed with cream cheese.

Oreo crumbs mixed with cream cheese.

Then you form the mixture into round balls about bite size and place on a cookie sheet. Then place into a freezer until they are solid and ready to dip.

Formed into balls and ready to cool.

Formed into balls and ready to cool.

Once the balls are frozen melt chocolate in a bowl, I used white chocolate chips, until smooth. You can use any kind of chocolate or almond bark for this step.

Melted white chocolate

Melted white chocolate

Once the chocolate is melted enough to be creamy and smooth you dip the balls into it until fully covered. Then you place them on wax or parchment paper to dry.

 

Rolled in white chocolate and ready to cool again.

Rolled in white chocolate and ready to cool again.

Tips From Me:

#1 When I first made this with my mom they didn’t coat very well the first time so once they hardened I dipped them a second tim to cover any  holes.

#2 These can be made with any flavor of Oreo cookies! These are really rich on their own and the added flavor will add to the richness. My sister once made some with mint Oreo cookies and they were divine but very rich and I couldn’t manage to eat more then half at a time!

#3 If the almond bark is clumpy and doesn’t coat well add a bit of shortening to it and reheat. This should help thin it out a bit to make it easier to coat with.

I love making these because they are so simple if you ever need a quick dish for a party, potluck, or unexpected guests this is a go to recipe!

Happy Pinning!

Pumpkin Puree Part 2

In another post I covered how to make your own purred pumpkin for cooking and in it I said:

“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.”

Well I cooked some up recently that were a nice dark color and the puree they made was so much better then the pale ones at the grocery!

Nice dark pumpkin.

Nice dark pumpkin.

I cooked them according to my old post (here: https://aradiasilvermoon.wordpress.com/2013/09/29/pumpkin-puree/) and pureed them in my food processor. The puree came out so nice and dark! You could definitely tell the difference!

Freshly pureed

Freshly pureed

Fresh puree packaged for freezing.

Fresh puree packaged for freezing.

 

Old vs. New

Old vs. New

In this photo you can see the old, pale puree laying on top of the darker, newer pumpkin. Now I know you are thinking did it really make any difference? In cooking no it didn’t but the darker puree had a richer taste to it…hard to describe…but it was better tasting.  Another problem I ran into was after packaging them in baggies it was difficult to get the puree out and some got stuck. Since I measured these out at precisely the amount needed for the items I was making leaving some behind wasn’t ideal. Then I came up with an idea on how to get the puree out without leaving any behind! I cut the end off the baggie and slowly squeeze out every drop, if you have ever iced cakes this way then it’s the same concept.

Pumpkin out of a baggie

Pumpkin out of a baggie

So when making your own puree I would recommend getting the darkest pumpkins so you can get that dark, rich tasting puree for your baked goods! The pale puree works great too and tastes good, so much better then canned versions, so either way it’s a healthy and tasty addition to your cooking!

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!

How to Freeze Cheese

Yes you read that title right I am posting about a good way (it’s probably not the only way) to store sliced cheese in the freezer. When I say sliced cheese I don’t mean those processed american cheese slices. What I mean is those real cheese slices by Kraft or Sargento among others. I have found in the past that when I freeze these then thaw them out they stick together despite being separated by manufacturer’s placed wax paper. So I figured out a great way to keep them separated without sticking together. Now this isn’t a pin yet, after I post this I will pin it lol but I wanted to share this because it’s a great way to save money! I keep posting about my own frugality and there is nothing I hate worse then paying full price for items…except maybe having to throw things away due to preventable issues! I recently got a bunch of Kraft Sliced Natural Cheese at a BOGO Sale ($2.99 each and I used a $1.50/2 coupon to pay $1.49 for 2 packages) so I used this to freeze them effectively.

Items needed:

Sliced Cheese

Freezer Paper

Freezer Bags

Ingredients

Ingredients

First I tore off a sizable chunk of freezer paper and I placed one slice of cheese on top of the paper leaving enough space at the bottom so you can fold this on top of the slice of cheese.

Lay cheese on freezer paper.

Lay cheese on freezer paper.

Then I laid another slice of cheese on top of the paper that I folded over the first cheese.

Fold over and add another.

Fold over and add another.

Then I roll the slices over so the top slice is covered then I add another slice and another until I have a packet of layered cheese, making sure none of the cheese is touching anything other then freezer paper.

 

4 slices layered and wrapped up.

4 slices layered and wrapped up.

I fit about 4 slices to a packet so I had 3 packets after all ten slices were rolled up.

All 10 slices wrapped up.

All 10 slices wrapped up.

Then I put all packets in a freezer bag and placed the empty package on top so I knew which flavor was in each bag.

Everything all wrapped up and ready to store.

Everything all wrapped up and ready to store.

Once you needed cheese all you have to do is pull a bag out, thaw it in the fridge, and then peel a slice off the paper and use it! It may be a bit crumby, all cheese is after freezing it. But it should still be manageable enough after this to use.

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!

Skip Grocery Shopping This Week part 2

In this post: https://aradiasilvermoon.wordpress.com/2013/08/26/skip-grocery-shopping-this-week/ I organized my cupboards thanks to some wonderful tips posted by The Budget Diet blog. Well since it said it would be a week long project I decided to clean out and organize my deep freezer!

What a mess!!

What a mess!!

 

As you can see it has been awhile since it has been defrosted or organized! Whenever I wanted to find something I had to dig around and move stuff which, at times, proved to be quite hazardous to my feet. Ever dropped a frozen package of hot dogs on top of your feet?? OUCH!!! So to start I took everything out and placed it on the floor of my utility room and I started throwing out old stuff. I found several pints of frozen yogurt that when I tasted them were gritty and freezer burned…nasty!…so I tossed them. I also tossed some old chili I had made who knows when and a few other waaaaaaaaaaay out of date things! Then I unplugged the freezer,  boiled multiple pans of water, placed them in the freezer and closed the door. When everything was thawed out hours later I wiped out all the water and lingering frost (my deep freezer is strategically placed over the drain in the utility room so when I defrost it there isn’t much mess on the floor.) and started putting things back in a more organized manner.

When I open the door...

When I open the door…

Easy to see what I have!

Easy to see what I have!

Nice and organized!

Nice and organized!

 

 

Now I can see what I have when I open the door without having to shift and move things! Yay no more bruised feet!! Also the frost was so bad that I found a package of tortillas buried under it as the defrosting started!

Tips from me:

#1 When organizing your freezer place the boxed items in a way that you can clearly see what is inside each ones. Now when I go for veggies I can see what each flavor is the second I open the freezer this make is a lot easier to locate what you need.

#2 Group by like items (i.e veggies) or brand (i.e Bird’s Eye or Green Giant) so you always know which self has what. My top shelf contains misc boxed frozen items, my second shelf has all the boxed snack food (ice cream bars, hot pockets, easy fries etc.), one basket holds all my frozen “loose” meats like hot dogs, individually wrapped pork chops and steaks etc along with my cheese, under that is all the frozen meat on a shelf (like packages of roast, chicken breasts,  lunch meats etc.), and the bottom basket holds my frozen creamers and fresh takes.

#3 Like she stated in the blog if you come across anything you have no idea what to with just do a quick internet/pinterest search and you can find lots of recipes!

So now that I can clearly see what I have I cook for a whole other week just using what I have on hand…apparently we’re going to be eating a lot of asparagus lol!!

Happy Pinning!