Thursday, July 31, 2008

Blog posts and articles: Saving money on the grocery bill

MSN Money Can a family eat on $100 a week?

The $200 mission: another budget challenge

LivingAlmostLarge: Hillbilly Housewife $70/week

Heavenly Homemakers: Getting Real with Food (Scroll towards the bottom of the page to begin at the first of the series.)

A Life at Home: How I Feed my Family of 8 for $300 a month (series)

Down to Earth: Save money - make a plan

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Stephen's Granola

Stephen loves granola, and sadly, he's been out for a couple months. We had a cooler day last week (in the 80's) so I decided I would make some for him.

Stephen's Granola
4 1/2 c. rolled outs oats (Old Fashioned)
1/2 c. butter (1 stick)
1/2 c. honey
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 c. each nuts and dried fruit (optional)

First melt the butter in a 3-quart saucepan over medium heat.  Add the honey and salt.  (This can be done in the microwave.)
Heat the honey, butter and salt through and then add the oats.  Stir to make sure all the oats are coated.

Pour the mixture on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Spread the granola out evenly and bake it at 350° for 30- 40 minutes.

The oats toward the edge of the pan should be slightly dark while the middle is golden brown. Allow it to cool completely before adding nuts and fruit. The above picture was taken after I mixed it around a bit.

I got a package of Cereal Toppers Bananas and Strawberries (from a scratch and dent store- so much cheaper than online!) and also added about 1/8 c. shredded coconut.
We store it in a zip-lock gallon bag so it can be tossed in the freezer if it's not being eaten up within a couple weeks.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Man of the House Cake

I'm not a huge cake person. I really don't like frosting, so the only cake I like is coffee cake... or I just leave the cake I make plain (no frosting), but still, it's not something I just think of making.
One day, I decided I had a boxed cake mix in the pantry and it needed to be used, since it's been sitting there for who knows how long (it had been given to us). We sat down and were eating dinner with our friend Sean and I mentioned that I never think to make cake, but it's something Brian really likes.
Brian nods his head in agreement.
Luke says "Why not, Mom? He's the 'Man of the House.' "
Me: "Because I don't like it- I don't think of making it."
Luke: "Yeah, but he's the 'Man of the House.' "
~Change of conversation~
Dinner is coming to a close, the cake has been served and Sean helps himself to a second piece. Brian watches him and announces: "I would love to eat another piece... but I'm afraid I'm too full already."
Luke (slightly interrupting Brian before he finishes his sentence): "Why not Dad? You're the 'Man of the House!' "
Me: "What exactly does it mean, Luke, to be the 'Man of the House'?"
Sean: "Apparently to eat alot of cake!"

So, in effort to redeem myself, I have been trying to make more cake for Brian. But I can't help but call it "Man of the House" cake... because, really, that's what it is.

Man of the House Cake
2 1/3 c. flour
1 TB baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. oil
2 eggs
1 c. milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 package Andee's mints baking chips

Mix everything thoroughly, pour into a 9" x 13" baking dish, greased. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Found a new frugal website

I was surfing the web today and came across this site:

Living on a Dime

One of the big reasons our grocery bill is fairly low for our size of family is we don't drink much other than water and we don't keep snacks around very often- if they are around, they are normally homemade.

They had this article explaining how cutting these things out can save you around $8,000. a year!
How It Adds Up!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Rising Cost of Food

So have you guys noticed how much your groceries have gone up? I had everything figured out and now everything has gone up, I'm more surprised every time I go to the store. I'm finding it impossible, at the moment, to stay within our $300 budget. When I get it figured out, I'll try to continue posting cost of meals.

Have you figured out how much this is effecting your family?

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Chicken Quesadillas

It's hot and during the summer I really try not to use the oven. These were delicious, but appetites required much more of them!

Chicken Quesadillas
2 c. cooked, chopped chicken
2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
2 tsp. taco seasoning
6 flour tortillas (8")

Mix chicken, cheese and seasoning together and spread over half of one tortilla, fold the rest of the tortilla over. Fry on med-high griddle for a few minutes on each side (until slightly browned and cheese is melted).
Cut each into 3 wedges and serve with sour cream and salsa.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Souvlaki and Roasted Potatoes

The older boys' grandfather is greek and though I don't care for all of typical greek food, I love souvlaki.

(To make enough for 12 adults, about 25 skewers)

10 lbs pork sirloin, cut into 1" cubes

1 c. olive oil
1/2 c. lemon juice
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. ground oregano

Soak wooden skewers (if that's what you're using) in water for 20 minutes. Place about 6 pieces of pork on each skewer, lay in a 9" x 13" Baking dish, mix marinade and pour over all the loaded skewers. Cover and put in fridge for about 3 hours before grilling.
I can't really say how long to grill them- Brian typically does all the grilling, the temp was med to med-low and I think it took at least 30 minutes.

Roasted Potatoes
8 c. diced potatoes
1/4 c. melted butter
garlic salt to taste

Pour melted butter over diced potatoes, the sprinkle on the garlic salt and stir. Put into foil "packets" on put on grill- high heat for 5-10 minutes and then cook on low until the meat is done.

Brian normally puts the potatoes on for about 10 minutes, then moves them to the top rack of the grill and puts the meat on, so it's all done about 45 minutes after we start.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Amish Friendship Bread

My Mother-in-law gave me a starter for this last year sometime and it is SO good-- not the best in health, but very tasty. (Must be the pregnancy- I've been making more "junk food").
I found a recipe for the starter on

Amish Friendship Bread Starter

And I didn't share any starter with friends this time- I just baked a bunch of bread and froze some loaves. I have tried making pancakes with the starter- but I'm not really a fan of sourdough pancakes, and that's what they were like.
At the end of the 10 days you end up with 5 cups of starter.
Anyway- here's the recipe for Bread:

Amish Friendship Bread

1 c. starter
1/3 c. oil
1/2 c. applesauce
1 c. sugar
3 eggs
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
2 c. flour
1/2 c. milk
1 large box instant vanilla pudding
2 t. cinnamon 
Pour into two greased loaf pans. (If you use stone ware pans- line the bottom with parchment paper.)  You can sprinkle some extra cinnamon and sugar on top.  Bake 325 degrees for 60 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Another Blog

Ok, I had a request recently to add more family tidbits on the blog, but I really want this one to be all about cooking/food, so I decided to make a family blog. So, Pete and Bec- this is for you guys:

Aside from Food

Stories and happenings in our family life- enjoy! :-)

Peach Cobbler II

This is only for people who like REALLY sweet things!

Peach Cobbler II
3/4 c. white sugar
1/3 c. butter
1/3 c. flour
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
3 c. fresh peaches - pitted, skinned, and sliced

Place peaches in 8"x8" baking dish. Cream together the sugar and butter. Add the egg, flour, and vanilla; mix together completely. Spread this mixture over the top of the peaches.
Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes, then turn the oven temperature down to 375 degrees and bake for another 45 minutes.


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