Wednesday, October 30, 2013

French Style Crepes

While shopping at my local grocery store, I came across pre-packaged crepes.  They were priced at $4.99 for 10 and I thought that was absolutely crazy.  I make crepes all the time and they don't cost anywhere near that amount.  They are very easy to make and you can fill them with just about anything.  I love savory crepes more than the sweet ones, but I won't turn those ones down either.

French Style Crepes

1C Flour
1 1/2C Milk
2 Eggs
2 Tbs Sugar
1/8Tsp Salt
1Tbs Butter, melted

Combine all ingredients and beat until smooth.

I let the batter sit on the counter for 20 minutes so everything is completely mixed.

Lightly spray a 6" non-stick skillet and place over medium heat.

Add 2 tablespoons of batter to pan and swirl around until the pan is completely coated and the batter won't move any more.

Cook on one side until just browned and then flip to the other side using a small spatula.

Cook for additional minute and then remove from pan onto a plate covered with parchment paper.

Finish the rest of crepe batter the same way.

You can fill these crepes with just about anything, but my favorite way is  a couple slices of turkey, Swiss cheese, baby spinach and a few olives.  So darn yummy.

This recipe will make 18 crepes and it only costs just over .50!  That's around .02 per crepe!

Giada's Frozen Meringue Cake

This recipe is amazing.  The end.  I made it for a family get together, and I wasn't disappointed.  It was light, and creamy and now my mouth is watering.  I had dreams about it and still do.  It takes very little work to make, most of the time is spent baking the meringues, and they are so simple to do.
Next time I make these, I am going to make small individual meringues and then dollop these with cream and berries and drizzle the sauce on top.  Yummy!

This recipe costs around $11.00 to make and is worth every delicious penny.

Total Time:
8 hr 0 min
30 min
5 hr 0 min
2 hr 30 min

6 to 8 servings




4 large egg whites, at room temperature
3/4 cup superfine baker's sugar
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
Pinch fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


2 cups heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups fresh raspberries (6 ounces)


1 1/2 cups fresh raspberries (6 ounces)
1 cup balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1/2 cup fresh raspberries, for garnish, optional
Special equipment: One piping bag fitted with a plain 1/2-inch tip


For the meringue: Place an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 200 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using a pencil, trace two 8-inch-diameter circles, side-by-side, on the parchment paper.

Beat the egg whites until fluffy in a stand mixer with a whisk attachment. Gradually add the superfine sugar, about 1 tablespoon at a time, with the machine running on medium-low speed, until the mixture holds soft peaks. Beat in the cream of tartar and salt. Increase the speed to high and beat until the mixture is thick and holds stiff peaks, 3 to 5 minutes. Beat in the vanilla extract. Place the meringue in the piping bag. Pipe the meringue into two 8-inch circles on the prepared baking sheet using the traced circles as a guide. Bake until crisp, 2 hours. Turn off the oven and allow the meringues to cool completely while still in the oven, about 2 hours.

For the cream: Beat the cream on high speed until thick using an electric hand mixer. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla extract. Continue to beat on high speed until the cream holds stiff peaks. Add the raspberries and beat until incorporated into the cream.

Spread one-third of the cream over each meringue circle. Place 1 circle on top of the other to create 2 layers. Spread the remaining cream on the sides of the cake. Garnish with fresh raspberries if using, and freeze the cake until firm, 3 hours.

For the syrup: Mix the raspberries, vinegar and maple syrup in a small saucepan. Lightly mash the raspberries using a fork. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until thick, 25 to 30 minutes. Strain the mixture through a fine sieve and allow to cool.

To serve: Allow the cake to sit at room temperature for 15 minutes. Cut the cake into wedges and place on serving plates. Drizzle with the syrup and serve

Read more at:
*If you don't have a piping bag, don't rush out to get one.  You can use a large zip-loc bag and get the same results.  Just place the egg whites into the bag, in the corner and twist the bag.  Cut off the corner and pipe like you would if you had a professional piping bag.  

Broccoli Chicken and Rice Casserole

Who doesn't love a good casserole.  Cheesy, comforting, easy, cheap.  I love em.  They bring back memories of childhood or can brighten up a sick persons day.

I am sure everyone has this recipe written down somewhere, a ward cook book...or two...or three...
I don't think it has changed much over the years and that's what makes it the most perfect comfort food.

Broccoli Chicken and Rice Casserole

1 bag Frozen broccoli
1 can Cream of Mushroom Soup
1 can Cream of Chicken Soup
1/2 c Milk
1 c Cheddar Cheese
2 tbs Dried Onion
1 c Rice, cooked
1 Chicken breast, cooked and cubed
Salt and pepper to taste

Grease casserole dish and preheat oven to 350 degrees

In casserole dish layer in cooked rice

Mix broccoli, soups, milk, cheese, salt, pepper and dried onion and spoon in dish over rice.

Cover and bake for 30 minutes.

This recipe is so cheesy and good and costs just under $5.00 to make.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Homemade Vanilla

I love vanilla.  The flavor, the smell.  Makes me a happy happy girl.

The other day I was almost out so I went to the store to pick some up.  I push my cart down the isle and reach for the vanilla and Bam!  The price hit me square between the eyes.  The store priced it at $10.00 of a tiny bottle of Vanilla.  Yeah, right.  I picked up the cheap bottle for .99, much better deal even if it really isn't vanilla.  Then and there I decided that I would make my own vanilla.  It couldn't be that hard.

            This is a before and almost after shot.  Vanilla is only 4 weeks along.

That week I ordered a basket from Bountiful Baskets.  If you haven't checked them out, do.   Amazing.  Anyway, I ordered their tropical basket for $14.00 and when I opened the box, low and behold, 2 beautiful Madagascar Vanilla Beans.  I took it as a sign that I needed to make my own vanilla.

It isn't hard.  Just 2 items in homemade vanilla.  It does take a bit of time to develop the flavor, but it is so worth it.  Hard thing to do is not drink it straight, and I don't drink period.  It smells that good!


3 Vanilla Beans, cut and seeded
1 (375ml) Bottle of Vodka

Slice Vanilla bean down the center.

Run the back of your knife down each side and harvest the vanilla beans.

Place scraped vanilla beans and both stalks in the vodka.  Shake.

Place in a dark cupboard for 6 weeks.  Shake every once in a while.

If you want a darker color, use another bean.

This recipe will cost you around $11.00, depending on how much you spend on the vanilla bean and Vodka.  Buy the cheap kind, you aren't going to be drinking it.

*As you use Vanilla, replace what you lost with a little more vodka.  This way you never run out.
*This is hard Liquor.  I wouldn't suggest eating anything raw if you use this.
*PLEASE keep out of reach of little ones, this can make them very sick and or  kill them.

Thursday, October 17, 2013


I find it funny how each pregnancy is different.  With my first child, carbs were the thing.  They seemed to give me the pick up I needed, so bread became my favorite to eat.  With my second baby, I craved Sugar.  Holy, but did I crave sugar.  Pretty much any way I could get it, I would eat it, except straight out of the bag, I couldn't bring myself to do that.

Here is my favorite cheesecake recipe from that time.  It takes a bit of work, and boy, does it take patience (something I was incredibly short on those 8 months) but it is so worth it.  Creamy, luscious cheesecake.  Oh great, now I am wanting some, what's a girl to do?

Eggnog Cheesecake


1/3c Butter at room temp
1c Flour
1/3c Brown sugar, firmly packed.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, butter 8" spring form pan and set aside. Boil several cups of water and keep hot until you are ready to bake entire cheesecake.  In a mixing bowl combine sugar and butter and mix well for 1 minute.  Scrape sides down and mix for 1 more minute.  Add flour and mix for another minute.   Press into the bottom of pan and set aside.  Do not pre-bake.


4 (8oz) Cream cheese
1 1/2c Sugar
3/4c Egg Nogg, you can substitute milk if you are against this:)
4 Eggs
1c Sour cream
1tbs Vanilla
1/4c Flour

Mix cream cheese and sugar on med speed for 5 minutes.  During that time, scrape bottom and sides a few times.
Add in eggs one at a time, mixing well after each egg.
Scrape bottom and sides of bowl and then add in sour cream and vanilla.  Mix well and make sure there are no lumps.
Add egg nogg (or milk) and combine well.
Last step is to add the flour and mix.

If you are worried about lumps, you can run ingredients through a fine mesh sieve.
Pour this luscious batter into prepared crust.  Remember that water you boiled and are keeping hot?  Put that whole pan (as long as it is oven safe) into the oven on a lower rack.  Make sure there is plenty of water in there(this will help the cake to remain crack free and keep it moist)  and bake the cheesecake in a 350 degree oven for 1 hour.  Then, turn the oven off and let completely cool for 5-6 hours.  This will help it not crack.  Chill in the fridge.

It is important that all of the ingredients are at room temperature.  This ensures that the batter is smooth and no lumps will show up in your cake.  Take out all the ingredients at least an hour before you plan on using them.  2 is even better.

This easy cheesecake serves 12 big slices and only cost me $10.22 to make, that's just a little over .85 a slice. Store bought is over $15.00 and mine tastes better.  That's just a little over .85 a slice.  You can also add other flavors like pumpkin (yum) or cherry or strawberry or chocolate.  The list goes on!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

I broke down

Ok, I'll admit it.  Yesterday was a bad day.  I wasn't feeling all that well.  I was tired and grumpy and cold and miserable and pretty much everything else a person can be while having a bad day.  I didn't feel like making dinner.  So, 25 minutes before the hubs got home from work I called the local Chinese place.  I spent $50 bucks on food that I know I could have made for 75% cheaper.  The really stinky thing about this situation other than the fact that I spent that much money on dinner is that it didn't taste good.  At all.  For a Chinese place, they had really bad food. 

Lesson learned.  Now back to my goal of no eating out.  Today is bound to be a better day for me and for the food we eat. 

It's Wednesday and this is my craziest day.  No seriously, it's crazy.  I worked while managing to make sure my youngest two didn't kill each other, themselves or destroy my office.  I have to pick up the oldest boy from school to take him to a standing, weekly doctors appointment.  Then I get to wrangle the younger ones to pick up the oldest daughter at school after the skating bus drops her off. The hubs has school and won't get home until just before I need to take my oldest daughter to achievement days, and then run back and grab the oldest boy and take him to scouts.  Then I get to swing back by where my daughter is at and pick her up.  Then I will get home and host the scout committee meeting of which I am the Chairperson AND assistant Cub Master. 

Sheesh, just typing it all out makes me want to cry. Somewhere in there I need to squeeze in a shower, laundry, kid time-for the kids, not me;) and dinner.  How on earth am I going to manage all this in one small day?  I need an extra pair of hands, 10 more hours in a day, and a housekeeper.  I'm not asking for much, but my fairy godmother seems to be on a vacation. 

Some of these things are going to have to go, but dinner is not one of them.  I have my trusty crock pot.  I love the thing.  When it breaks, I just might shed a few tears.  Tonight we are having shredded chicken tacos.  I am going to make the meat in the crock pot and the other things pretty much come out of a can, jar or bag. 

Here is my recipe for shredded Mexican Chicken  You can also make this with beef or pork.  Any of those meats will taste amazing.

Shredded Mexican Chicken

2 Chicken breasts, bone in
2 Chicken thighs, bone in
2 Pkgs, Taco Seasoning
1tsp Garlic, minced
1tsp Pepper
1tsp Salt
1/2c Water
1 can (8oz) tomatoes
2tsp Chicken bullion 
1 Onion, sliced thinly
1 Green Pepper, sliced thinly

Coat chicken pieces in salt and pepper. 

Place in crock pot and cover with taco seasonings

Pour in water, bullion and can of tomatoes.  Stir and put lid on.

Cook on low for 5 hours

Add onion and green pepper and cook another 3 hours on low.  If you need more water, add a tablespoon at a time.

When finished, the meat should fall off the bone.  Shred into small pieces and discard the bones.

Serve these on Tortillas, or over rice. Very yummy!

This recipe will make fill over 20 tacos or more, depending on how much meat you use and the size of your tortillas, so it really makes a ton.  It costs just $5.43, that's just .27 per serving

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

He's here! He's here!

My newest little nephew was born on this last Friday.  I got to spend several hours snuggling on his sweet little face while mom and dad tried to get some sleep.  He is precious and sent straight from Heavens Door. 

My brother and sister-in-law have settled into parenthood like pros and other than the sleep deprivation that all new parents have, they are doing great.  As for the baby, he is wonderful.  I forgot how small they are when they are first born, and truthfully, he wasn't a small baby to begin with. 

Wyatt was born weighing a whopping 9 pounds 14 OUNCES with a 14inch head.  He is 21 1/2 " long and much to his dads chagrin, has the most perfect shade of red hair.  His momma has red hair, so we were all praying it would be that color.   I am not able to post pics at this moment, so you will just have to take my word that he is the cutest little thing to be born since my little Carter-man. 

I love being an auntie.  Best ever!  I am now aunt to 9 nieces and nephews and great aunt to 7!  When I married my husband I inherited 6 nieces and nephews my age and all the great nieces and nephews.  Life is good!

Potato and Sausage Bake

Ready or not, winter weather is upon us.  I am not ready.  I admit I am a pansy when it comes to cold weather.  I don't like snow.  I don't like cold.  Funny coming from a girl who grew up in Idaho where the winters are bitter and harsh and never-ending.  This year mother earth skipped fall and went directly to  cold weather.  Here it is October and we had our first snow last week.  It didn't stick, but that doesn't matter to me.

On days like today where I feel like blasting the heat to a nice toasty 70 degrees and forgetting for a while that it will be winter soon, I like to make something comforting for lunch.  My kids have already eaten and now are down for a nap and while they are sleeping, I am making a Potato and Sausage bake.  Hold on a sec.......

So remember how I said I would post the good,the bad and the burned?  Funny, here I am, typing away and all of a sudden I smell something burning.  Darn it, the potatoes that I had started to cook.  I got lost in thought and they burned.  Hate it when I do that.  Oh well.  Starting over now.

Potato and Sausage Bake

4 Medium Potatoes, cubed
2tbs Oil
1 Can Cream of Mushroom soup
1/4c Milk
1/3c Sour Cream
1 Hillshire Farms Sausage (or any kind that you like)
1 1/2c Cheddar cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2c Potato chips, smashed

Heat oil in a skillet and brown potatoes for 5 minutes. 

Add sausage and cook for another minute.

Pour in soup, milk, Sour cream and seasonings

Add cheese and stir.

Pour into a greased casserole dish  and top with crunched up potato chips and bake in a 375 degree oven for 20 minutes or until hot and bubbly.  

This recipe cost just under $6.00 and will serve 4 people.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Basic Pantry Items

The other day I was straightening up my pantry.  It's huge and gets messy with 4 people going in and out of it all day long, gathering the things we need for dinner.  I thought to myself, I should post something about basic pantry items that I keep on hand.

I keep a little of everything just in case I don't feel like going to the store, or I have a sick kid with me or a freak snow storm.  In any of these cases I can make a nice homemade meal that my family will enjoy eating.

So, here are my basic pantry items.

Dried beans of every kind
Canned beans
Canned tomatoes
Peanut butter
Jarred Jam-I can this myself as well
Coconut flakes
Boxed meals
Bags of chips
Canned soup
Canned meat-I can my own, so this is just jarred chicken.
Canned veggetables
Canned  fruits-I have a mix of home canned and store bought
Tomato sauce
Tomato paste
Pasta sauce
Pasta in every shape
Canned salsa
Salad Dressings
Steak sauce
Soy sauce
Hoysin sauce
Powdered Sugar
Brown Sugar
Baking Powder
Baking Soda
Soup mixes
Taco and Fajita seasoning
Canned olives
Drinking water
Bottled apple juice
Hard Squashes
Mac and cheese-a staple at my place with 4 kids who think it is Manna
Noodle soups
Cake and cookie mixes
Tubs of frosting
Brownie Mixes
Karo syrup

Dried milk


I am sure I have missed a few items, but you get my point.  I can make a number of meals with the basics from my pantry alone.

I also have a few non-edible items that I keep in my pantry like:

Laundry soap
Cleaning supplies
Paper towel
Toilet and tissue paper
Air freshners
Hygiene needs of all kinds
Shampoo and conditioner
Razors and shaving cream

I also keep several things in my freezer

Diced onion
Diced green bell peppers
Milk-yes, it does freeze and I do it all the time.  Super easy too!
Cheese-this freezes great as well.
Pie/pastry crusts
Deli meats
Bread dough
Homemade mozzarella sticks
Frozen Veggies
Cookie dough, homemade of course.
Pancakes/french toast

In my fridge I keep:

Soy sauce
Salad dressings
Hot sauce
Fresh veggies/fruits
Sour cream
Cream cheese
Browned butter

I try to keep a few of each on hand, you never know when something is going to happen that prevents you from going to the store.  I hope this helps you get started on basic pantry items.

Decedant Cinnamon Rolls

                                Right about now, my house smells divine.  I can hardly wait!
Really, is there anything better than a gooey cinnamon roll dripping with butter, cinnamon-sugar and frosting?  I don't think so.

Today I've got all four of my kiddos at home with me.  On these mornings I like to do something special.  We are in too big a hurry during the week to get a homemade breakfast on the table for the older two.  They go to school at 7:36, I am a work by 7:30.  Unless I want to get up at the crack of dawn to make something, and I don't, it's just a quick bowl of cereal and out the door.

As I said, Saturdays are made for a special breakfast and I am up making cinnamon rolls.  They take under an hour to make and bake and are so good.  Dripping with butter, extra cinnamon-ey(?) with the perfect amount of frosting oozing every where, these are definitely my kids' favorite breakfast of all times. 

You won't believe how simple and easy these are to make.  I use my Fluffy Roll recipe and add a few more things to them.  They rise and bake in the same time and only cost a few more pennies to make.

Ingredients for rolls

1 Fluffy Dinner Roll, rolled out into large thin rectangle
1tbs Vanilla 
10tbs Sugar
8tbs Cinnamon
1cube+4tbs butter, softened and divided

Make dinner roll recipe as called for but add an additional tablespoon of sugar and vanilla to the dough recipe.

Let rise in warm bowl with plastic wrap for 5 minutes.

Roll out on floured surface until very thin and in a rectangular form.

Let rest for a few minutes while you get the other ingredients and the pan ready.

Mix the remaining 9tbs of sugar with the cinnamon

Slather 1 cube (gasp!) of softened butter over the entire dough, leaving about a 1 inch border along the whole thing.

Sprinkle cinnamong-sugar where butter is and press down firmly so the sugar sticks to the butter.

Small cube the remaining butter and dot all the dough and cinnamon.

Starting at the long end, start rolling the dough tightly.  Keeping it tightly rolled will help after you cut them to keep the sugar inside.

Cut into 18, 1"  rolls and place on a greased cookie sheet side by side.  These are going to expand so they will be pretty big when they finish rising.

Let rise in a preheated 170 degree oven for 20 minutes or until double.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 20-25 minutes until they are no longer doughy inside.

Frosting Ingredients

1 1/2c Powdered Sugar
2 1/2 tsp Milk(+/_)
1/8 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Vanilla
4tbs Butter, room temp

In a mixing bowl combine sugar and butter.  Whip until nice pale yellow color and completely smooth.

Add in salt, vanilla and milk a tsp at a time.  If you need more milk add it in a tsp at a time.  If  it is too runny, add more powdered sugar.

Frost rolls after they have had time to cool, about 10 minutes.

Enjoy!  These rolls are so easy to make and only cost an additional $1.55 in extra ingredients.  That means these rolls only cost $2.55 for 18 servings or .14ea!

                My youngest daughter smiling over her "cake." Everything is cake to her:)

Pull these out of your recipe arsenal the next time you want to make something special.  You won't be disappointed and your family will love them!

Friday, October 11, 2013

The fluffiest rolls ever!

Now, some of my family will debate with me about these rolls.  They will be picky and say that our grandmothers rolls are the fluffiest rolls ever.  Once upon a time I used to agree with them.  Then I grew up and tried to make said rolls and they always turned out like bricks.  See my post about bread making and you will understand my angst.  A friend posted this recipe on her Facebook page and I had to try them.  The recipe said they could be done in under an hour, so I couldn't resist making them for dinner that night.  I also invited the son of that grandmother over to try them out.  I didn't tell him they weren't his mothers recipe until after he had eaten a couple.  Much to his surprise, they were better.  Mmmm, warm fluffy dinner rolls slathered with butter and jelly.  Makes my mouth water just thinking about them.  By far the easiest recipe for rolls ever.  I also made this dough for cinnamon rolls that turned out Ah-MaZiNG!  Here is the recipe, thanks to my friend Nicholya for posting and thanks to for coming up with this recipe.  It is now the star of my Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, and pretty much anytime I want them, dinners!

This recipe costs about a $1.00 to make, that's a much better deal than going to the grocery store where you can pay about $3.00 per dozen and they don't taste as great as these.  You can also substitute buttermilk for the regular milk for pennies more!

Fluffy Dinner Rolls
Time: about 1 hour 10 minutes
Yield: 12 rolls
Recipe from Jamie Cooks It Up!

3/4 C milk
4 T butter
3/4 C hot water
4 T sugar
1 t salt
4 – 4 1/2 C flour
1 heaping T yeast (I use active dry)
 1. Pour your milk into a microwave safe container. These Pyrex glass measuring cups work fabulously. Add your butter to the milk and put it in the microwave for 1 1/2 minutes.
2. Preheat your oven to 170 degrees. While the milk is getting nice and toasty, turn on the tap to get your hot water. Temperature is important to making these rolls rise quickly. If you add cold water, your rolls will are going to rise at a snails pace, and you’ll feel like cursing. We wouldn’t want that kind of thing going on….so please add hot water. I put my hand in the water to test it. You want it to be almost too hot to put your hand in. 
3. Put your milk/butter and hot water in the bottom of your Kitchen Aid Mixer. Add the sugar and salt. Then add 2 C of the flour…let it mix for 1 minute.
 4. Add the yeast. Turn the mixer on and add the rest of the flour 1 C at a time.
 5. You have enough flour when the dough scrapes the side of the bowl clean. Mix on medium speed for 5 minutes.
 6. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 5 minutes. You need the plastic wrap to trap the heat.
 7. Take a bit of butter and coat the inside of a 9×13 pan.
 8. Spray your counter, or a cutting board with cooking spray. Lay your dough on top of it.
 9. Take a sharp knife, spray it with cooking spray and cut your dough into 12 pieces. Make them as equal as you can….perfection is not necessary. What a relief.

10. Gently round them into balls, and put them in your buttered 9×13 pan.
11. Put the pan into your warm 170 degree oven. Let them rise for about 20 minutes or until they have risen an 1 inch above the rim of the pan.
12. Leave your pan in the oven and turn the heat up to 350 degrees. Bake for 15 minutes. The 15 minutes includes the time it takes the oven to increase in temperature. If your oven takes a long old time….you will of course need to increase the time baking. Bake until golden brown. 

 13. Brush with a little softened butter. 

Homemade Laundry soap

Mmm, I love the smell of laundry soap.  My mom will laugh over this one because she LOVES the smell of laundry soap and will walk down the soap isle even if she doesn't need any. 

I made my first batch of laundry soap and my house smelled amazing after. I can't take credit for this recipe.  I found it on Pinterest and I will never go back. Thanks to Here it is and I hope you make it and use it.

P.S.  I didn't use essential Oils in mine, but next time I will. 
P.P.S. I did a double batch and paid just under $20 bucks.  I am no where near close to running out and I made this nearly a year ago.

DIY Laundry Detergent with doTERRA Essential Oils….AWESOME!

15 Jul
Ok, we FINALLY did it!  Kelli and I had to try this do it yourself laundry detergent.  It not only is SOOOO dang cheap, but it really does an incredible job cleaning as well!  Here are some snap shots of how we did it:
Here is what you need:
  • 25-30 Drops doTERRA Purify Essential Oil
  • 1 Box of  Pure Baking Soda 4 lb.
  • 1 Box of  Borax 4 lb. 12 oz. 
  • 1 Box of  Super Wash Soda 3 lb. 7 oz.
  • 1 Tub of  Oxy-Clean (or generic) 3 lb.
  • 3 Bars of Fels-Naptha 5.5 oz.

Grate all three bars of Fels-Naptha soap.  I used the smaller side of the cheese grater.  This is the ONLY part of this process that took some effort.  I read you could use a food processor too, but I gave mine away! :)
This is about the consistency you want the grated soap to be so it dissolves easily in the washing machine:
Pour each ingredient into a 5 gallon bucket so there is room to stir.  This will cause a bit of a dust storm so you will want to stir slowly.
Stir until all the ingredients are evenly distributed.  This fills the bucket about half full.  I put the lid on tightly and turned the bucket upside down and rolled it around a bit to help stir it as well.  But you have to be sure your lid is on very tightly or you will really have a mess!
Now is the time to add your essential oil.  I used Purify because I love the clean smell and it’s ability to remove odor.  You could use lavender, lemon, citrus bliss, or the essential oil of your choice.  I used 25-30 drops.
Mix it together well.
All it takes is 1 Tablespoon per load!  It cleans very well, better than the detergent I was using.  We will never buy regular, high priced laundry soap again!  If you have a really dirty load, you can add an additional Tablespoon of detergent to the wash cycle.  This pail of detergent should last you a LONG, LONG time!
    • 1–4lb box of Borax — a natural mineral found in California
    • 1–4lb box of WASHING Soda –Washing soda is Sodium Carbonate (also called Soda Ash which can be purchased in swimming pool stores or departments)
    • 1–4lb box of Baking Soda –Baking soda is Sodium Bicarbonate
  • 3 bars of Castile Soap (all natural coconut oil soap)
2-4 Tablespoons for a normal load.
- See more at:

Recipe to avoid Laundry Disasters that it.  Here is my ALL NATURAL Laundry Soap recipe.

I have looked at so many different recipes for making your own laundry soap.  I knew I wanted an all natural one so after all was said and done this is the recipe I created.
Only 4 ingredients.

You will need:

    • 1–4lb box of Borax — a natural mineral found in California
    • 1–4lb box of WASHING Soda –Washing soda is Sodium Carbonate (also called Soda Ash which can be purchased in swimming pool stores or departments)
    • 1–4lb box of Baking Soda –Baking soda is Sodium Bicarbonate
  • 3 bars of Castile Soap (all natural coconut oil soap)
2-4 Tablespoons for a normal load.
I purchased everything at WalMart.  The bars of soap were in the health and beauty area with other soaps but everything else was in the laundry area.

I grated my bars of soap.  Mmmmmm it smelled so good.
I do want to try Dr. Bronner’s soap next time.  It is another All Natural Soap.

I love that it is all white.  The soap smells so clean.  Our clothes smell fresh and clean.
I mixed everything together in a trash bag then put some into a jar.
It makes quite a bit of laundry soap for a fraction of the price of store bought laundry soap. I filled another container and have a large ziploc bag full of laundry soap.
I am planning on getting some oxy clean and mixing 1/2 of a container with 1/2 of the laundry soap to have a soap for my whites.
I paid less than $10 for everything and I have more than a store bought box of laundry soap
- See more at:

Recipe to avoid Laundry Disasters that it.  Here is my ALL NATURAL Laundry Soap recipe.

I have looked at so many different recipes for making your own laundry soap.  I knew I wanted an all natural one so after all was said and done this is the recipe I created.
Only 4 ingredients.

You will need:

    • 1–4lb box of Borax — a natural mineral found in California
    • 1–4lb box of WASHING Soda –Washing soda is Sodium Carbonate (also called Soda Ash which can be purchased in swimming pool stores or departments)
    • 1–4lb box of Baking Soda –Baking soda is Sodium Bicarbonate
  • 3 bars of Castile Soap (all natural coconut oil soap)
2-4 Tablespoons for a normal load.
I purchased everything at WalMart.  The bars of soap were in the health and beauty area with other soaps but everything else was in the laundry area.

I grated my bars of soap.  Mmmmmm it smelled so good.
I do want to try Dr. Bronner’s soap next time.  It is another All Natural Soap.

I love that it is all white.  The soap smells so clean.  Our clothes smell fresh and clean.
I mixed everything together in a trash bag then put some into a jar.
It makes quite a bit of laundry soap for a fraction of the price of store bought laundry soap. I filled another container and have a large ziploc bag full of laundry soap.
I am planning on getting some oxy clean and mixing 1/2 of a container with 1/2 of the laundry soap to have a soap for my whites.
I paid less than $10 for everything and I have more than a store bought box of laundry soap
- See more at:

Sweet sweet babies

Now, this isn't a post about food.  I love babies.  They are so stinking cute and fun and cuddly and warm and precious...I could go on and on.  A close family member is having their first little baby boy and I can't wait to meet his sweet little face.

My mother, SIL and I planned a baby shower where we were going to tie a baby blanket for this precious new child.  My other SIL asked if I could make her a few receiving blankets and burp cloths.  For those of you who know anything about me or my family, you will laugh at what I am about to say.  I kinda blanched at this though.  She knew better than to ask my mother who goes from sweet to wicked witch in 3 seconds when the sewing machine is out.  I am kinda the same way, mainly because I don't know how to sew a button on a shirt.  I said yes.  We bought the material, and I went home to sew blankets.

I had made a few for when my youngest man child was born, but they looked horrid from the start, and after washing, it looked even worse.  I decided to watch a YouTube video.  Best idea ever.  I learned how to lay sod watching YouTube.  Learned how to caulk a tub and toilet with YouTube.  Surely there has to be a video or two about sewing.  A few huh?  Thousands.  I watched a couple and learned a few things.  Things I wished I would have known when I made those blankets for my kiddos. 

First, wash and dry all the material before you get started.  This way, the material has already shrunk as much as it's going to. You are supposed to wash in the hottest water the fabric will handle.  I did not know this which is why all my blankets looked lumpy after the first wash.

Second, that cute minky fabric doesn't shrink and is a pain in the rear to sew with.  If you use this fabric with any other fabric, make sure you wash it first.

Third, Iron all fabric before you start sewing.  You don't think this will make a big difference, but it does in the finished product.

Fourth, after you finish sewing something, if it says press with hot iron, then press with a hot iron.

Last but not least, I learned that I really really like to sew.  No really, I do.  It's fun and even a little relaxing. 

So, I made her two receiving blankets, 8 burp cloths and am finishing the last touches on the blanket we tied at the shower. I'd better hurry on that one, because little baby is due any day now and I want him to have it for the drive home.
I must say I went a little crazy after that.  I made 20 or so burp cloths and am now making 3 or 4 more blankets.  Do I know of any other people who are having babies?  No, but what does it matter right now?  This way when a friend of family member makes a big announcement, I have these already made and ready to go.  I got the material for half off and I figure it cost me under $4.00 to make a blanket and about .50 to make a burp cloth.  That is so much cheaper than going out and buying those items.

Next on my list, pajama pants for my family Christmas.  When you can get the material half off and have the means to sew, you might as well try.  I am going to make 12 pairs of pj pants for under $20 bucks and that is sweet!  Christmas gets spendy with 6 of us and I am all for finding ways to save.

Here are a few pics of the blankets I made.  They are so stinking cute, it almost makes me want to have another baby....and then I remember my 3 year old wakes up 5 or 6 times a night and I forget that thought.  I will just have to hug on this sweet little boy and get my baby fix from him.

This is his crib blanket.  SO cute.  I swear, just 21 months ago when I had my baby boy, this fabric wasn't around and I feel a little bit cheated.  I told my SIL that I was going to fight her for this.  She smugly said all she had to do was hand over her baby boy and she would win.  She's right, she would.

 Like I said earlier, photography just isn't my thing.  I know nothing about how to set things up, or lighting.  Nor do I have the patience.  Hmm, maybe this will become a hew hobby of mine.  These are just a few of the burp cloths I made.  These fabrics are so stinking cute!  Almost too cute for their intended purpose.

You pay how much for pasta sauce?!

Who do they think they are charging that much for pasta sauce?!  I must be out of touch.  I make my own from scratch usually, but the other day I was in a huge hurry and I just didn't want to expend the time/energy to make it homemade.  Plus, I was already at the store and the pasta isle was only 2 isles down. So, I zipped down to where they keep it and searched for a good brand.

 They want $3.50 for a jar of pasta sauce.  Ridiculous! Preposterous!  I can make it at home for much cheaper.  But, by this time of night, I just didn't have time, so I bought the jarred pasta sauce and went on my way.  Did it taste good?  Yeah, but I make better for sure.

I use this recipe for not just pasta.  I use it on pizzas, for dipping bread, and as weird as it sounds, dipping pretzles for an afternoon snack (seriously should try this, it's amazing)  So, here is my recipe, it only takes a few minutes of prep and 45 minutes on the stove to cook up.

Marinara sauce

1tbs Olive Oil
1c Onion, chopped
1tsp garlic, minced
1 can (28 oz) Crushed Tomatoes
1tsp dried oregano
1tsp dried basil
1tbs sugar(yes, you really need it)
Salt and Pepper to taste

Heat oil in a large skillet and add onion and about 1 tsp of salt and the same of pepper.  Cook on med high heat for about 5 minutes, or until the onion starts to soften.  Add in garlic, oregano, and basil.  Cook for 1 minute more and then add in tomatoes and sugar.  Stir for a few minutes and then reduce heat to med-low and simmer on the stove for 35-40 minutes.  If sauce gets too thick, add a tablespoon of water to thin out.  You can use chicken broth for an additional .003 per tablespoon.  Serve over pasta noodles, dip cheesy bread or foccocia, or serve on top of a pizza.

This recipe cost me $1.73 in ingredients to make and it serves a family of 6!  This recipe also freezes well if you have leftovers or if your family is smaller than mine is.  If you are meat lovers, just brown up your meat of choice and add.  It will only cost you a few dollars more and makes the sauce a hardy one for cold winter nights. Enjoy, you will never look at canned marinara sauce the same again. 

Fantastic Pizza Dough

 This recipe comes from the Pioneer Woman @   One try of this dough, you will fall in love...
 Seriously, after making this fantastic, easy and CHEAP pizza dough, I am never going back to purchasing a pre-made pizza again!  This recipe takes all of 5 minutes to make, 1-2 hours to let rest and  is the best recipe I have ever tasted.

 The dough is perfect.  Soft, if you roll it out thick, crispy if you are a thin crust type.  It is amazing.  I've also made cheesy bread sticks out of it that were better than anything you get at a pizza place.

You can make this recipe an hour before you need it, or you can make it a couple days ahead of schedule, place it in the fridge and like she says, it just gets better.  It's true, Best. Dough. Ever!

This recipe will make one large pizza dough for .47!  That is insane.  I double it to feed my family or 6, so it costs me  .95 and I make 6 individual small pizza crusts.  Tell me, why on earth would you go out and buy a pizza dough when it costs so little to make and is the easiest thing in the world to make?  Yeah, I won't do it either.  If you happen to make this into a pizza, you will spend far less than you would purchasing a frozen pizza from the grocery store, or even less than purchasing it from a restaurant. 

My favorite way to dress this pizza is, Canadian bacon, Pineapple, Black olives, mushrooms, marinara sauce(I will post that recipe too, seriously yummy) and mozzarella cheese. Doing this for a single serving pizza only adds $1.49 more per pizza.  That means I can make 6 pizzas for 9.84!  Wow-Wee as my 21 month old says!  I hope you pull this recipe out and try it on family movie or game night.  It's sure to be a hit.

One Basic Pizza Crust

Prep Time:
Cook Time:


  • 1 teaspoon (SCANT) Active Dry Yeast
  • 3/4 cups Warm Water
  • 2 cups All-purpose Flour
  • 3/4 teaspoons Kosher Salt
  • 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil

Preparation Instructions

Sprinkle yeast over 3/4 cups warm (not lukewarm) water. Let stand for a few minutes.
In a mixer, combine flour and salt. With the mixer running on low speed (with paddle attachment), drizzle in olive oil until combined with flour. Next, pour in yeast/water mixture and mix until just combined, and the dough comes together in a sticky mass.
Coat a separate mixing bowl with a light drizzle of olive oil, and form the dough into a ball. Toss to coat dough in olive oil, then cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and set it aside for 1 to 2 hours, or store in the fridge until you need it.
Note: it’s best to make the dough at least 24 hours in advance.

My favorite cooking show

I love watching cooking shows.  Every once in a while I get in a rut and start cooking the same things over and over.  They are yummy things, but my family gets sick and tired of them.  So, I start watching cooking shows to spice things up a bit.

My favorite show to date is The Pioneer Woman.  Have any of you watched her show?  I've made several things of hers over the last few weeks, and she has yet to fail me on an easy recipe and great tasting food, not to mention one of the cowboys on the show is smokin hot (uh hum, Cowboy Todd). Any way, best food and she just looks so darn nice and her kids are so well behaved.  I am thinking about sending my oldest 2 out there for a week.  I guarantee after a week of ranch living they will come back grateful that they only have a few chores a day!  So, back to the food.  It is wonderful.

I think I am going to post a couple of the recipes I've used.  Might as well pass on the wonderful recipes I have tried.  Check out her page, I love it and know you will too.  For now, here are just a few of the recipes I have used and are now family favorites.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Amish White Bread

Those that know me will laugh.  Years ago, I didn't like bread.  I didn't eat it unless we were at a restaurant or it was some holiday.  My first pregnancy changed that.  I couldn't get enough bread.  The second pregnancy made it worse.  So, I have stopped fighting and given in to bread.  I love it.  For a couple years now I have been trying to find the perfect bread recipe.  I have made a billion loafs only to throw them all out.  They are too hard, too salty, not enough salt, too sweet or not sweet enough.  I have tried wheat flour, half wheat and half white.  With milk, without milk.  The same with eggs.  The other day I was frustrated with a failed loaf of Ciabatta bread that took me two days to make, TWO DAYS!  I thought store bought was the way to go, but then I stumbled on this recipe from Pinterest and thought I would try it out, just for old time sake.  What resulted was the BEST bread recipe in the entire world.  It was perfect, from the crust to the inside, soft and firm and just perfect.  My mouth is watering just thinking about it.  This recipe comes from the site  Thank you for posting this, my bread making skills have improved dramatically because of you!

I do have a note to make though.  Most people think the water needs to be luke warm.  Not so, I used water that was hot to the touch.  I also placed bread dough in the oven after it had been preheated to 170 degrees and then shut off.  Both these tips help the dough to rise much quicker.

This recipe cost just over .75 to make and produces 2 loafs of bread!  Because it is not commercially made, I would store this in the fridge so it will last longer.

Amish White Bread

  • 2 cups warm water (110 degrees F)
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons active dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 6 cups bread flour or all-purpose white flour

  • 1-In a large bowl, dissolve the sugar in warm water, and then stir in yeast. Allow to proof until yeast resembles a creamy foam.
  • 2-Mix salt and oil into the yeast. Mix in flour one cup at a time. Knead dough on a lightly floured surface until smooth. Place in a well oiled bowl, and turn dough to coat. Cover with a damp cloth. Allow to rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
  • 3-Punch dough down. Knead for a few minutes, and divide in half. Shape into loaves, and place into two well oiled 9x5 inch loaf pans. Allow to rise for 30 minutes, or until dough has risen 1 inch above pans.
  • 4-Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 30 minutes. 

Cheesy potatoes that will knock your socks off

I grew up eating potatoes at nearly every meal.  I love them pretty much any way you can make them, boiled, fried, baked, mashed.  Ummm mmm, good eats for me.  When you add cheese and green onions, they just go to a different level.  Some call them funeral potatoes, other crack potatoes.  Whatever you call them, my family calls them yummy.  Enjoy this recipe.  It is easy to make and very inexpensive.  When you are looking to bulk up your dinner, think potatoes.  They only cost around .12 ea and they are good for you.

Cheesy Potatoes

6 Potatoes, scrubbed
2 Green onions, diced
1/2c Sour Cream
1Can, Cream of Chicken Soup
4Tbs milk
Salt and pepper to taste
1 1/4c Chedder cheese grated and divided
1/4c Bread Crumbs
2Tbs Olive Oil

Scrub potatoes and place in a 400 Degree oven for 30 minutes.  Turn off after time is done and leave in oven for another 30 minutes.  Cool until you can handle.  Grate into a a bowl and add seasonings, green onion, soup, sour cream, 1 c of cheese and milk.  Stir until combined.  If too thick, add another Tbs of milk.  Place in greased casserole dish and sprinkle with remaining cheese.  Sprinkle with bread crumbs and then drizzle oil over top.

Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.  Remove foil and bake for another 6 minutes or until top is golden brown and crispy.

This side dish is seriously good and so cheesy.  It only costs $3.64 to make!

The not so blah Thursday dinner

Lets face it, by Thursday night, all I want to do is make pb&j's for dinner, open a bag of chips and let my kids fend for themselves while I take a nice long soak in the tub with a good book and a box of chocolates.  I know I can't be the only one out there that feels this way.  My easy fix for not wanting to make dinner?  My crock pot.  Seriously, this thing is amazing.  You can make soups, main dishes, salads and even dessert in this thing.  I've had mine for nearly 6 years and I want to kiss the person who gave it to me for a wedding gift. 

So, today is the day I break this puppy out and make a nice slow cooked dish.  Yesterday I hit my local grocery store and made out like a bandit.  I bought Boneless pork ribs for $6.00!  They usually go for $8-9.00 a package, but the butcher had put a managers special sticker on two packages that reduced one to  $2.00 and the other to$4.00.  There is enough meat in these packages for my family dinner and lunch for the hubs the next day.  Tonight we are going to be eating slow cooked BBQ pork ribs, Cheesy potatoes, and homemade rolls.  This is my favorite meal.  Period.  It is simple to make and super easy to prepare.  The crock pot and oven do most of the work, I just have to prep a few things.

Here is the recipe for my BBQ Pork Ribs and I will post another for the potatoes and then one for the rolls.

Crock Pot BBQ Pork Ribs

8 Boneless pork ribs (you can use bone in too)
2Tbs Smoked Paparika
2Tbs Steak Seasoning
1Tbs Salt
3c BBQ sauce divided
1 1/2c Water
4Tbs Oil, divided
1/2 Onion, finely diced

Season both sides of the ribs with paparika, steak seasoning and salt.  Heat 2 Tbs of oil in a pan and brown 4 ribs at a time, discard oil and use remaining oil to brown remainder of meat.  While browning, mix water, onion and BBQ sauce in crock pot.  Place browned meat in crock pot and turn to coat in BBQ sauce.

Turn crock pot on low and cook for 8-12 hours or until meat falls apart when you pick it up.  Half an hour before finished, add remaining 2 C of BBQ sauce.  During cooking time, check the dish to make sure it is not drying out.  If it is, add a little water or more BBQ sauce. 
Serve with whatever side dishes sound good to you.  We do Cheesy potatoes and a nice green salad.

This recipe serves 6 people with leftovers for the next day.  It costs me just  $7.09 for my main dish.  I hope you try it. love it, and use it on those days that you just don't want to cook.

Breakfast with my kiddos

Nothing is better than being a mommy, not even chocolate.  I love every second I get to spend with my children.  They bring such joy to my life and I cherish every look and every word that comes out of their little mouths.  Today I am at home with my two youngest.  On these days I get to make homemade breakfast instead of the usual bowl of cereal or rushed cold pop tarts on my way to work. Since I am at home with my two youngest, whose bellies are very small, I decided to make pancakes.  This happens to be my daughters favorite thing.  She just calls them "cakes" and thinks it's a special treat.  In my opinion, these are so much better than store-bought, frozen pancakes and some of the restaurant recipes as well.  So, here it is, I hope you and your kiddos enjoy them as much as my family does.

Basic Pancakes

2c Flour
4tbs Sugar
2tbs Milk
1 Egg
1tsp salt
1/2c Instant oats
2tbs Baking Powder
1 1/2c Water
4 sprays of Pam

Mix all ingredients together and let sit in bowl for 5 minutes.  This will allow the oats to soften a bit.  Preheat skillet on Med high heat. 
Using a 1/4c measuring cup, dispense pancake batter and cook until golden on both sides, about 1 minute per side.  Adjust heat as needed.  This will make 15 good sized pancakes.  I serve mine with butter, syrup and a little powdered sugar.

Mine cost a total of $1.33 to make including all the toppings, but if you are a plane Jane kinda person, the total is $1.05!  That's .07 per cake!  Eat that, Store-bought frozen pancakes! Not to mention the amount of money you save from taking your family out to the local pancake house! 
If you have young kids, you can add 1 banana and 4tbs of chocolate chips for another .45!  Or you can add blueberries and vanilla for around .75!  If you prefer waffles, add 1tbs of oil and 1 additional egg.  Only adds around .25 to do this.  So many variations to go off this simple pancake batter!

Also, on days when I am home and I don't feel like making up a fresh batch of pancakes or even waffles, I just make a double batch and freeze what we don't eat.  This is nice because all you have to do is pop them in the microwave for 30 seconds or so and there you have yummy pancakes! 

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Sweet Rice pudding

*Happy Dance*
We had extra Coconut rice leftover from dinner tonight!  For the most part, we don't keep leftover rice.  Lets all be honest here, we say we are going to eat the extra rice we make the next day, but 3 weeks later when we are cleaning out the fridge, we find a big bowl of what used to be white rice that has a nice green film over it.  Not a pretty site or good eats.  I am slowly coming up with recipes to use all types of leftover rice and this is one of the recipes.  Rice pudding.  Is there anything better?  I don't think so, well, maybe chocolate.  Hmmm....maybe I will try to come up with a chocolate version later.  Anyway, on a cold winters night or cool summer day it doesn't really matter.  It's always yummy.

I've tried a million different recipes and failed a million different times.  It's either too thin, or too thick.  Not sweet enough, or too sweet.  Sometimes it's got curdled egg in it or I leave the egg out completely and it tastes like it's missing something.  I finally got creative and made a recipe myself and I must admit, it's pretty darn perfect and so simple to make and very inexpensive.  Cold or hot, I hope you enjoy this as much as I do!

Rice Pudding

1 1/2c Cooked White Rice
5c Milk, divided
1c Sugar
1 Egg, beaten
2 tsp Vanilla

Place cooked rice, 4 cups of milk and sugar in a sauce pan.  Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 25 minutes until thick.  Stir in beaten egg and cook for 1 additional minute.  Take pan off heat and add remaining cup of milk and vanilla.  Pour into a bowl and place plastic wrap directly on top of pudding so it won't form a skin.  Chill completely or eat it warm, it tastes great either way!

Now, because I had leftover rice from dinner, this pudding only cost me $0.96 for 6 servings!  Holy cheap batman!  If you were making it from scratch, it would be another .30!