Sunday, April 25, 2010

Pancake recipe and some cooking mumbo jumbo

In case you can't tell...

I've been on another cooking push lately.

I have a bunch of frozen meats out in the freezers, which I am grateful to have.

But, a turkey, frozen solid, when dinner time comes a rollin' around, is not much help.

I did an inventory of all my meats and planned on how to best use them. I also figured out how much frozen bananas, shredded carrots, shredded zucchini and squash puree I have left. I don't want any of them left when the new crop comes on so I formulated a baking plan.

I am planning on cooking a bunch of our favorite recipes and some new ones too, and then checked my cupboards to see what I already had for ingredients.

Then, a shopping I went, to grab the ingredients that I was lacking.

I'm full steam ahead cooking.

One of the things that I cooked up was pancakes.

These freeze really well and can just be popped in the toaster for a quick breakfast.

I use the extra large ziplocs and cut a bunch of freezer paper to fit in between layers. When the bag gets emptied, it is put back in the freezer for storage until I need it again. I use them for french toast too.

Here is the recipe, which I have modified a bunch of times. The quantity feeds my entire family with leftovers, just so ya know. In other's a whole lotta hotcakes.

Our Favorite Pancakes

8 c. whole wheat flour
1 c. honey
1/3 c. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
2 t. salt
8 eggs
6 c. milk (I make instant milk for this, it's cheaper)
4 c. plain yogurt
1 1/3 c. bean puree

You can substitute:

Sugar for the honey and then omit the baking soda
Sour cream for the yogurt
Butter for the bean puree

You can also add blueberries, either fresh or frozen.

Also, I want to thank you all for your sweet, funny and informative comments. You guys seem like such a fun bunch and I can't wait to finish my cooking so I can check out your blogs.

Happy Cooking!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Still waiting to get used to this

Went and bought a bunch of fruit...

5 bags apples
2 bags oranges
8 pounds strawberries
6 bunches of bananas
4 pineapples
2 sacks of pears

10 days later...

This is all that is left...

I know that I shouldn't continue to be horrified by this.

But I can't seem to help it...

Friday, April 23, 2010

Beans, beans, the musical fruit...

Am I the only one who learned the "Musical Bean" song as a child?

My dad used to sing it...

Beans, beans, the musical fruit.
The more you eat, the more you toot.
The more you toot, the better you'll feel.
So, lift your leg and let them peel.


Childhood memories.

Did I ever mention that I was kind of a tomboy?


Fast forward to the present day.

My family loves beans.

This was a major factor in our decision to put the teenage boys up in the third level.

Where you can't see them or smell them.


Back to beans.

Do you know you can replace butter in your recipe with bean puree?

Yep, I don't lie. on this one anyway

I take small white beans (mine were Great Northern beans) and follow the package directions in cooking them.

Once they are all cooked up, I stick them in my food processor (blender works too) and puree them until they look like butter.

Talk about saving money and tons of fat grams!

I replace the butter in my recipes with a 1:1 ratio. So far, I have tried it in pancakes and my banana bread recipe and I have been thrilled with both results!

You can also freeze the bean puree, either in 1 cup measures (in ziplocs) or in larger containers if you will be doing a lot of baking.

If you are not used to eating a bunch of beans you might be "musical" for awhile.

But you can always sing along.

Happy cooking!

Thursday, April 22, 2010


60 eggs.

About now you are thinking, "60 eggs? That's 5 dozen, right? That's not a big deal."


I'll be honest.

I'm talking 60 dozen.

In my defense...they were on sale after Easter.

And we go through a lot of eggs.

So, I started loading up my cart. As I did so, I became aware of a background noise.

I stopped to listen.

I realized that it was the faint sounds of my fridge, at home, starting to hyperventilate.

So, I stopped at 60 dozen.

Buying 60 dozen eggs is apparently not something that is done every day.

People tend to notice.

And stare.

It's embarrassing.

Almost as embarrassing as the time that I took eight kids with me to the store and bought a pregnancy test.

Good times...good times...


I've been freezing the eggs.

It's super easy to do.

You have to crack each egg and beat it just a wee little bit.

You can freeze each egg individually.

I do them in muffin tins.

Once they are frozen, I lift them out and put them in a bag.

Put them promptly back in the freezer so they don't stick together.

I also did 24 eggs and threw them into a gallon freezer bag.

They will be used later for scrambled eggs or for french toast.

Easy peesey!

Happy freezing!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Magic Mix

Remember when I said that I use Magic Mix to make my own Cream of Chicken soup?

Not only is it better for you...

It tastes de-lish too!

Here is how you make it (from the Utah State Extension office/Every Day Food Storage)

Magic Mix

2 1/3 cups powered milk OR 4 c. instant nonfat dry milk

1 cup flour

1 cup butter (room temperature)

Combine in a large bowl until it resembles cornmeal. My beater attachment on my KitchenAid mixer works like a charm. Store, sealed in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Cream of Chicken Soup

(Equal to one can condensed soup)

1 c. Magic Mix

3/4 c. chicken broth

1 t. dry parsley

dash onion salt

Put all the ingredients into a sauce pan over medium heat. Stir constantly with a wire whisk until mixture just comes to a boil.

That's all there is to it!

**You can use the liquid from a can of mushrooms for cream of mushroom soup. Add a few drops of Kitchen Bouquet for a darker color to this soup.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Winds of Change

I think things are changing.

Not only with me, but with our society in general.

Going away are the days where "new and plastic" were the things to be coveted.

Making do and fixing up old discards is now the "cool" thing to do.

Maybe it's just the economy? I don't really know for sure.

I know I've changed.

Used to be that if something broke, I'd throw it away and go buy something else.

Wrong color?

Go find one in the right color and buy it.

But, I've been bitten by the bug.

The "do it yourself" bug.

And, I have to tell you...

I like it.

A lot.

The Goodwill in my small town used to be two stores, side by side.

Three years ago, they had to close one side and the corporate office told the staff there that they had six months to "make it" or they were going to shut them down.

Fast forward to present day...

I have trouble finding a place to park because the parking lot is usually full.

Winds of change?

I wonder.

The following is the project that made me realize just how far I've come-

I have a corner in our newly remodeled family room where the electric panels are just screaming..."look at me!"


Also, see how we haven't put up any molding yet?

We only like to finish a project 90% of the way.

That's just how we roll.

I thunk and I thunk which made my brain hurt sadly, that didn't take long and I decided what I needed was a ficus tree.

Not my first choice, but I needed something cheap.

That could take a beating.

Because that is where the toddler destructo team spends a lot of their time.

I priced a nice new ficus tree and they were over $100 smackerals.

And then I went to Goodwill.

They had one for $40.

Yeah, right.

So, I waited.

And they lowered it down to $20.

That's more like it.

And then, when it was the "color of the day", it went half-off.

So, I picked it up for $10.

Now, we're talkin'.

I just didn't like the wicker basket.

Here it is sitting in our yet to be remodeled front room.

The old me would have gone and bought a pot to put it in.

The new me remembered a nice pot that had a large chip out of it.

It was still sitting on the side porch, waiting for me to remember that it was there and actually throw it away.

See the big ol' chip?

Since it was the perfect size and color, I decided to see if I could fix it.

I used wood filler first to fill in the chip and after that was dry, I spread a thin layer of Plaster of Paris over the top.

I then sanded it down till it was smooth as a baby's butt.

Here is the world's worst picture.

I masked it off and painted it with the closest color that I had.

You can't even see where the chip was anymore.

I then ripped the tree out of the pot.

See what a big mess I made?

It was a little too big for the new pot.

This kind of reminds me of when I try to put my jeans on.

But, since I can't have my plant lay down on the bed while sucking it in...

I had to take a serrated knife and trim a bit off of the sides.

Kinda like plastic surgery with a quack doctor.

It did the trick though and it slipped right in.

Here she is, all dressed up in her new pot.

Best of all, I was able to reuse what I already had.

Which is very satisfying.

Winds of change?

I think so...

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Some Thrifty Food Thoughts

Just to warn you...

These thrifty food thoughts are random like me.

I am a stay at home mom, meaning that I work inside the home, not outside.

I'm not juggling a job, family, and home. My hat off to those who do, by the way.

But, I do have a large family and I spend the majority of my time figuring out how to feed my large crew , healthy yet as cheaply as possibly.

These ideas might not work for everyone. I have five freezers and I have room to freeze lots of things. Some people might not.

My freezers are in my garage. They used to be kept in the barn, locked up until someone broke into the freezers by cutting the seals off. They took off with my casseroles, dishes and all.

Except for my meatloaf.

I'm still kind of offended by that.

It's pretty good meatloaf actually.



Here is a list of some of the thrifty things that I do with food-

I realize that this might make me sound cheap and anal but I'm okay with that since that is the truth anyway.

I'm willing to bet that my family of 11 eats cheaper then some families of 4.

No, I'm not willing to bet any of my shoes though...

Thoughts about bread-

My family does not care for the heels of store bought bread. When I buy it, it is the day old variety. Sometimes, if I'm worried that the bread is too far gone and is in danger of molding, I will stick dry regular pieces in too.

I put the old bread in a cake pan and stick it in the oven (170 degrees) until it is dried out.

I then throw all the dried bread into a large ziploc until it fills up.

Cracker crumbs and crushed cereal (like cornflakes, Cheerios and Chex)go in here too.

I then turn it into bread crumbs.

I use my Kitchen Aid grinder attachment with the large holes. If you don't have one of these you could try a food processor, or put the dried bread in a heavy ziploc and beat it with a rolling in.

I then store the crumbs in an old ice cream container.

I have a great chicken strip recipe that I use these for.

Need Italian Bread Crumbs? Just add some garlic powder, onion powder, dried parsley and dried Italian seasonings to the dried bread crumbs.

I never buy bread crumbs anymore.

Ever have apples that get a little "punky" but aren't rotten?

Peel them, slice them thinly and then stick them in the freezer.

Once you have enough, make an apple cobbler out of them.

I have a wonderful apple cobbler recipe that calls for 4 cups apples. We times it by 4 for our family so I freeze 16 c. of apples.

**Does not work well with red delicious apples**

Bananas gone bad?

We rarely have any bananas left over to go bad.

I buy mine for 29 cents a pound that look like this-

I peel them and freeze them in ziplocs.

Marked on the front of each bag is the number of bananas within.

When you are ready to make bread, simply defrost and put in the entire contents of the bag, liquid and all. Do not drain first as that will make your bread really dry.

My banana recipe calls for 2 bananas so I freeze six bananas in a bag. That way I can make three loaves at a time.

Ever cook a turkey?

Boil the carcass in water for several hours.

The leftover meat will fall off the bones and can be used in sandwiches or in soup.

Freeze the broth and use in place of chicken broth.

Take your homemade turkey broth and mix it with Magic Mix (recipe to come) to make your own delicious and inexpensive condensed soup that can be substituted for condensed chicken soup in your recipes.

Have pears that are too mushy to eat?

Peel them and then squish them up.

Freeze the "pearsauce" and use instead of oil in baking.

Too much zucchini? Because the neighbor boy won't stop bringing them to you

Grate and freeze in amounts that your fav bread recipe calls for.

Milk approaching the expiration date?

Freeze it, in it's container and defrost to use in soup.

We love our Potato soup!

Stick a folded up paper towel in your bag of salad, it will keep it from going slimy as fast.

Buy a bag of onions and chop them all.

That way you can get all of your crying out all at the same time.

Freeze them in one cup bags to use in your fav recipes. It is so easy to pull a bag of onions out that is already chopped.

Afraid you won't be able to use up all of that bunch of parsley before it gets all slimy?

Chop it all up (my food processor works like a charm for this) and then freeze it.

My parents just gave us this celery because they didn't think they could use it all before it went bad.

I rip off each stalk, rinse it and cut off the ends.

I then put all the stalks on a cookie sheet and stick it in the freezer.

When they are frozen solid, I throw them into a ziploc and then back into the freezer.

When I want to use one, I run it under lukewarm water for 15 seconds or so and then it cuts easily.

I also cut peppers in half, cut out the seeds and then throw them on a cookie sheet that I put in the freezer.

Once frozen, they can be thrown into a ziploc bag and then back into the freezer they go.

They won't stick together and I can easily remove just the amount I want.

I once read somewhere "If you can't find it, you don't own it".

I keep a list of them items that my freezers hold and I make dinners around the items that I currently have on hand.

I am more familiar with the contents of my freezers then I am the contents of my closet. Except my shoes, of course...

Every now and again, I do an inventory of the freezers and check it against my list.

We hardly ever throw food away anymore. Which, I believe, saves us a lot of money.

I'll get some recipes up sometime in the next week or so, in case anyone is interested.

I'll also get some of my freezer meals posted too at some point.

For right now, I'm single parenting so have mercy on me be patient with me.

It's 9 against 1 right now.

That is really bad odds.


Wednesday, April 7, 2010


No, this is not a swimming post.

It's about another kind of diving.

The dumpster variety.

Every night, Corey and I go for a walk. Every night Sometimes, we happen by the dumpster at the back of a local thrift store. I'm not naming any names, but I will give you a hint. It starts with a G, ends with a L and has oodwil in the middle.

Every day, they fill up their dumpster with stuff that hasn't sold or that is not good enough to put out in the store.

I pick up things there frequently, if I see them peeking over the top...or calling my name.

This last weekend, I purposely drug Corey through the alley we happened by the dumpster only to view the cutest little piano bench that you ever did see, sitting, looking ever so sad right next to the dumpster.

I'd been looking for a cute little table to put on my front porch and images of this little bench with flower pots on it instantly came to mind.

We said "Oooohhh!", rushed right over and lovingly picked it right up. Since my husband was totally on board with this he carefully tucked it under his arm and carried it all the way home.

Ok, so I'm totally lying.

It went more like this:

Me: "Oooohhh!"

Him: "You have got to be kidding me."

Me: "Please!" (batting my eyelashes at him and turning on the womanly charm) Just look at the poor table, sitting on death row. I think we can rehabilitate her. She deserves a second chance."

Corey- "Sigh...." (This is the part where I received the lecture about bringing home things that we didn't really need and....yadda yadda yadda...blah blah blah... I'll spare you the details)

He then picked up the bench aka cute little porch table and carried it all the way home.

I just love it when I get my way.

I'm sure the bench considered herself as having received a stay of execution.

Little does she know that I have nine kids.

Otherwise, she might have wished to stay in the dumpster.

Here she is, sitting on the front porch waiting for a make over.

Please excuse the siding-pieces messy goodness going on in the background as I was too lazy to move it before taking a picture.

I can't help but wonder about the history of this bench. Was it actually used as a piano bench? I wonder how many people sat on the bench and played their hearts out.

I love thinking about it.

Just look at the cute little details on the legs...

Unfortunately, it had been damaged and someone had tried very unsuccessfully to fix it.

They had hammered a bunch of wavy little metal thingies into the bench.

That had to hurt...

And all the nails had split the wood in several places.

Plus, the hinges were missing parts.

First I had to unfix the "fix".

I removed all the nails that I could, took off the broken hinges, unattached the chain and ripped out the little wavy metal thingies.

Just look at all the stuff we removed from the victim.

I then took her apart and fixed the original boo-boo.

Wood glue and clamps were essential.

After it had dried, I reassembled the table and got ready to reattach the top.

Since I knew that we were not going to use it as a piano bench, and did not care if the top opened, I glued the top piece on with Liquid Nails.

I then screwed the piece on, just to make sure it wouldn't go anywhere.

I sunk the screws down just a bit and filled the holes in with Wood Filler.

When I realized that the scratches on the top were worse then my stretch marks, I took pity on "Benchie" and filled in the worst ones with more Wood Filler.

Wish I could do that with my stretch marks too...

One of my twins took "Benchie" out to the garage and sanded her down.

For some reason that almost sounds inappropriate but I assure you that it wasn't.

I then gave her a layer of primer.

Then on went several coats of Heirloom White by American Accents.

A little distressing and some glaze...

Let me clarify that I am an amateur. As in, I really don't know what I'm doing.

So, if you are a professional painter, this may be like food poisoning for your eyeballs.

Don't look too close.

Or, if you do, close one eye first.

Here she is...

Her legs still need a little bit of work.

And I almost feel like a hypocrite saying that.

They are just a bit wobbly and I'll have Corey even them up.


One more picture of her reformed goodness...

Isn't she purdy?

I'm linking to these great parties for more love...

Monday, April 5, 2010

House numbers

Recently, Steffany over at Out of the Chaos took an old milk can and remade it into a way to display house numbers. You can click here to see her post.

I was totally inspired and searched high and low for an old milk can.

The only one that I could find was at Goodwill and they wanted $25 for it.

I had no idea that old milk cans went for that much.

But, even though I wanted to copy Steffany an old milk can, I just couldn't bring myself to spend $25 on one.

But then I remembered an old, heavy metal container that I had sitting back by the barn.

Here a picture of it in it's sad state of neglect.

About 10 years ago, while in the middle of no where, my dad came across an old abandoned trailer. In it was a bunch of large, heavy, metal, military looking containers full of dried food.

My dad found one full of wheat and brought it home just for me.

Maybe I'm kinda picky, but the thought of using the eat...sorta gave me the heebie geebies.

Cuz, I don't know exactly what kind of environment it had been stored in.

Unfortunately yet not really unfortunate, my kids opened the container and the wheat got water in it.

If you think it was heavy before, just try and pick it up after the wheat got wet...and then molded.

But, when I asked Corey to empty it so I could paint it, he mentioned that he would just get out the tractor, load it up in the bucket and go empty it on the burn pile.

And, I realize that we now sound like rednecks.

I can live with that.

So...Corey emptied it and Joseph sprayed it down for me.

I got it all painted and the house numbers added.

It's still heavy as heck but I'm lovin the end result. didn't cost me a dime!

Thanks Stef, for the inspiration.

I'm linking up to parties! Come and check them out-lots of inspiration there.