Saturday, October 30, 2010

Hamburgers and Homemade Buns

So, I had this bread:
I really really didn't want to throw it away. So I used it to make breadcrumbs to put in hamburgers

The reason it looks like that is probably because I used too much wheat flour, so  when I kneaded it the gluten strands were cut. Or it didn't rise enough, or both.

Making this meal I started making the buns first.

Dissolve 1 packet (2 1/4 teaspoon) yeast in 1/4th a cup of warm water.

Melt 1 tablespoon of butter and heat 6 teaspoons (3/8 cup, if you have a 1/8 cup measure like me) in microwave. Add 2 tablespoons (1/8 cup) sugar and 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Beat in 1 egg and then add to the yeast water. Blend well then add flour till a proper dough for kneading (about 2-4 cups or so)

Knead till smooth and elastic, when you can get a proper gluten window.

Place in bowl and cover with warm tea towl. Or if you don't have a tea towel (like me) heat a cup of water in a microwave safe dish for 2 minutes. Quickly place your bowl of dough in the microwave and do not open the microwave. This keeps it nice and moist and warm, just like the tea towel. Rise about 45 minutes to an hour.

Punch down dough and cut (don't tear, that ruins the bubbles!) into either 12 small balls or about 8 larger ones. Roll into a ball and slightly flatten between your palms.

Place on a well greased baking sheet, and either cover with tea towl again or do the trick with the microwave. I had two pans (for the 12) that I placed my raised cooling rack over one pan so I could fit both in microwave. Rise for 30-45 minutes.  ( I started my hamburgers at this time*)

Preheat your oven to 350. When finished with rise brush with egg white or butter, Bake for 12-20 minutes until golden brown.  Make sure you let them cool on wire rack for 10 minutes before trying to cut, these will be the BEST hamburger buns you have ever eaten, so soft and delicious!!!!

*For the Hamburgers 
I grated my too dense wheat bread and just poured some into my thawed hamburger meat. (sorry I didn't measure!) Added 2 eggs and some salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Formed into patties and pan fried. I added the bacon grease I had from frying up bacon for these burgers and the twice baked potatoes (another recipe for another time) to cook in. We had barbecue sauce for those who wanted it, and cheese and bacon to place on the burgers.

Was the best homemade meal! I hope you try it! Tell me how it goes!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Monkey bread

Reason for drop was not using a bundt pan, center was a bit gooey, but good!

Okay, I have been craving a recipe for homemade monkey bread for MONTHS. Its also called cinnamon Pull-Aparts. I wanted to make it with Brittany back in Missouri, but unfortunately was letting me down. All I could find were the ones that used refrigerated pre-made dough. But now, I have found it! A recipe completely from scratch!

And please note, though I made this at 6 am, (couldn't sleep), it can actually be made the night before and put in the fridge to rise and baked in the morning.


1 package (2 1/2 teaspoons) yeast
1/4 cup of warm water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup melted butter
3/4 cup warm mlik
1 egg
3 cups flour

1/2 cup melted butter
Cinnamon, Nutmeg, and Sugar combined

Start with dissolving the yeast in warm water while you heat the milk and melt the butter. What I did was measure my milk in my larger sized pyrex liquid cup, put the butter in and heated in microwave. Stirred that up and added the salt, sugar and egg and whisked together. I then mixed my yeast with the 1/2 the flour and added my cup of liquids, and mixed in the other flour.

Once it is combined into a ball knead until smooth on a floured board/counter-top.  A good way to see if your  bread is kneaded enough is to do the gluten test, which I promise is coming up in a soon post. For a quick overview without pictures, pinch off a bit of dough about the size of a quarter and rub between your fingers to stretch it. If you can see light through it, its good.

Cut up the dough and roll into balls, dip in the butter, and then dip in the container of sweet cinnamon-nutmeg-sugar.

Place in a bundt pan (or if you start making like me and think you have one only to realize you don't, a glass mixing bowl that is oven safe. Made the center more goey but still good!)

Cover, Let rise until double, or about an hour on counter. Can also be put in fridge to rise over night and bake in the morning, however take it out of the fridge and let it rest on the counter to warm up for at least 45 minutes.

Bake in oven at 350 for 30 minutes. Mine took 45 minutes because I was not using a bundt pan and therefore had a solid center.  Cool in the pan on top of a rack for 10 minutes, and then invert onto a plate. Unless you want to burn your fingers from the ooey gooey goodness, I would wait a few more minutes to eat.


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Halloween Pictures & classic "mummy dogs"

I just realized that I never posted my pictures of the completed chili breadbowls! So here they are in all their pretty glory.

Logan Loves his food pictures, takes great pride in them.

The Recipe I am posting is a Halloween classic, termed "mummy dogs" at this time of year, but otherwise known as pigs in a blanket any other.

I am sure you have probably had them before, but if you haven't, try them! They taste great and are cheap. My family ate them all the time, I remember eating these on Thanksgiving too, actually!

(NOTE: I haven't made these here yet, but they are my planned dinner for Oct. 31st. Must keep up with tradition. I saw them tonight at our Halloween party.)

Pillsbury (or offbrand!) Crescent Rolls
Hot dogs, Cheddar Brat, what have you (maybe even tofu? haha!)
Sliced cheese: optional

Wrap the dogs in your cheese if you choose and the crescent rolls, bake in the oven until golden brown (I look at canister). 
Let cool for a minute or two and dig in!

At the party tonight they had them without cheese and did two red dots of ketchup for eyes, was adorable!

I personally am a cheese addict so do cheddar brats with cheddar cheese slice.

Oh, and because I love my costume, here are a few pictures. It was made by this lovely woman on Etsy, whom though it took a long time I am happy overall.

Oh, and for those of you whom don't know, I am Blind Mag, from Repo! The Genetic Opera. As seen in this video: (sorry for bad quality, but wanted one that didn't have spoiler at end)


have a good night y'all!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

snicker-doodle/Oatmeal cookies with butter frosting

Picture is the Frugal Girl's, as is the recipe
My oh my! These are very very good! I made them today and they are sooooo easy!

I really thought it needed more liquid and that I had made a mistake writing down the recipe at first, but it is just a really thick dough, why you have to smoosh them yourself.

With a bit more brown sugar I would say these are snicker-doodles. They are great by themselves with out the frosting too! But she is right, I think that this needs about 2 or 3 batches of cookies for one batch of frosting.

I was going to use the left over evaporated milk from the pumpkin pie, but as I started the frosting I realized I used in the pudding I made... So I did a substitution of French Vanilla Coffee Creamer! Delicious but a little overpowering, I would leave out the vanilla extract if using creamer. Also makes it a bit thicker, so I had a drizzle instead of fluffy.

Here is the link to Frugal Girl's recipe and beautiful pics, sooooo much better than mine! :

Friday, October 22, 2010

Bread bowls

Recipe at bottom

Great googely moogele! I was on a baking kick today. I made some bread bowls for the chili, some bagels, and I have plans to make oatmeal cookies later. Also I made Yogurt! So proud. :) I think part of this  occurrence is inspired by how happy I am to have yeast again, and so much!

Before I was buying the 4 ounce jars of Fleischman's yeast, but Safeway was out yesterday. (And that wasn't the only thing they were out of that has been disappointing me...!)  They just have the packets and considering that it would take three packets just to make Kathy's rolls, not a good deal. AND they would not have more until MONDAY. So I went over to Three Bears to see if they would have some beloved yeast for me. They had the little packets... Dang!
And then, hidden, I saw it. The 2 pound package of Active Dry Yeast from RedStar! I LOVE Redstar yeast so much better, partly because their headquarters are in Wisconsin, and I grew up in Minnesota. The only company I have ever seen my family was RedStar, I was just using Fleischman because Safeway carries no RedStar :( PLUS its only like 2 dollars more for this 32 oz package compared to the 4 oz jar! I bought it up in a heart beat, rushed home and poured it into my smaller green jars. (I had been using it for bread flour, switched to an ice cream bucket)

 2 pounds of yeast, 25 pounds of all pourpose flour, 10 pounds of sugar, 5 pounds of bread flour and 5 pounds of cornmeal make a happy baker!

Now here is the recipe I used for these yummy yummy Bread Bowls (makes 3)

1 1/4 Cups Water
3-4 Cups Bread Flour
1 Tsp Salt
1 1/2 teaspoons Sugar
3 tablespoons Cornmeal
1 packet (or 2 1/4 tsp) Yeast

Mix all together and knead for a few minutes till smooth and elastic. Let rise for 30 minutes, then punch down and separate into 3 sections. roll into a smooth ball.

Let rise a second time for about 20 minutes (pre-heat your oven at this point) and bake at 475 degree for 20-30 minutes.

Cool on wire rack, then slice off the top and take out most of the center. Place back in 300 degree oven and bake for 10 minutes to achieve a crisper crust and make sure the soup/chili does not soak in as fast.

Enjoy! Bon Appetite!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Chili and what I am working on! yay!

It's 3:05 Am. Yes I am awake, and will be the whole day. Yesterday I stayed up till 3 in the afternoon, went to sleep for 7 hours, and now have been up since ten and have fixed our sleeping schedule I am pretty sure.

At 3 AM I put a hunk of frozen hamburger in the crock pot, along with the single frozen bag of leftover chili from the beginning of the month to heat up. Once they are no longer frozen bricks, I am planning on adding some tomato sauce, and chili and Cayenne pepper. We want to go to the store to get some veggies and beans to add to this concoction that I plan on cooking all day long. I really mean all day!

(EDIT:) Throughout the day I then added 1 1/2 pounds of  red and kidney beans which then I had to split it into two pans. Some Frank's hot sauce and some tomato paste, and ONE de-seeded habanero (sp?) pepper. It has some really good kick! to town it down I used a little sweet barbecue sauce and 1 cup of black good coffee.  Tastes great! Its cooked in the crock pot for nearly 30 hours now!

What do you have to have in you chili? I am wondering if some bacon would be any good...

In other news, what did we work on yesterday that we stayed up all night? Only the STDs (Save The Dates) for our wedding! I am soo happy! Logan made the first one, I the second, then he the third. They are posted on my facebook for any that want to see the other two. We figured post cards a lot less expensive than traditional lots of paper, and are a lot more eco friendly than tons of paper that will be thrown away. I kinda wanted magnets, but this post card design is just so awesome! I am glad Logan made it for me. Yes he was the one that chose the rainbows, and he is sad I wouldn't let him say the card or boat turned to diamonds.

There is soo much meaning in all of the symbols and colors of our own design. The two characters are our avatars from the site we first met on. (which I guess I should post that story at some time...) And our first conversation was about the beautiful aurora borealis. I think that these just EXUDE our personalties, from my choice of "ides of March" being a literary reference, to his What to expect: sentence. And I will expound on the fact that "you could be on a boat too" later when I know for sure if we have the money to do what we want to do!

(Don't get what the what to expect means? Check out this video:

Anyways so yhea. That is what we have for our STDs, we got 100 postcards for 12 dollars thanks to my awesome searching skills. That includes the shipping, because otherwise it would have been just 3.99 for the uploaded custom design.

Sigh, Shipping to Alaska SUCKS. I almost got that Kitchen aide mixer I want for 50 bucks, but it would have been 111.10 to ship. So I am still waiting, and still searching for a good deal on a vacuum too.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Has not been my week...

No good recipes today either... Going crazy trying to do everything and not succeeding. But life goes on and things will get better when we get out of the rut.

That soup didn't turn out, so I tired using up the leftover rice by frying it and adding some bacon... Logan says its not that bad but I hate it. I said there would be some things not to do, so DON'T try to fry rice that is very soaked in broth that you tried to make into soup that didn't turn out. Also, don't forget to prep your bread before you put it in the oven by cutting a slit into it so it can expand. Otherwise your loaf will be really dense. Ask how I know.

Hope everything is going well for the rest of you! I have been going to anchorage a lot with my mom and not cooking a whole lot... Why lack of posts, so please don't kill me!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Good Cake, but the icing needs work...

So today was not my day for cooking either... First for dinner I had wanted to make some chicken and rice soup, one of Logan's favorites I have made before. This time however, I was using normal rice, before I used instant. I had a bit too much rice, it took over the whole pot. So instead of soup we had sticky rice with bits of green beans, corn, chicken and broccoli. Which give me points, I actually got Logan to eat borccoli! Oh yhea! Oh yhea!

I was having a sweet tooth so wanted to make a cake. The cake turned out really good, I combined a few recipes to make my own again. But oh it was soooo moist, very good! The icing... not so good. I have made the icing before, but never without a mixer. So I added some milk to try to make it thinner and easier to mix by hand... and it more looks like glue or as todd said "tapioca pudding".  I don't know how people made frosting before they had mixers!!!!

Delicious Yellow cake, would be good without frosting!

Crumb together :1/2 cup butter or crisco and 1 1/2 cup sugar

Add: 4 eggs, 1 tsp Vanilla, 1/4 tsp Almond extract, 1 1/3 cup butter milk  

Blend together:  2 cups flour, 1 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp baking soda, 1/4 tsp salt

Carefully mix dry mixture into the wet until incorporated. Get the big lumps out but don't over mix, that causes the flour to form gluten strands which will make the cake tough.

Pour into greased and floured pan, I used two round pans. Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.  Yummy yummy, I think better without frosting!!!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil

This is off topic of cooking, but something I am finding really really important. This is where some will probably say my crazy side comes in.

I feel everyone needs to watch this movie. I feel sick after it, but that is just because it is true. I am a previous Walmart employee. This movie has verifiable facts, and things I have witnessed myself.

The first thing I think about is their "low prices". You buy a shirt for 3 or 5 dollars. Think of what work would go into making that, how much the materials cost and the time. Machines are more efficient yes, but not that good. So how are the prices that low? By paying their employees crap. And not just the workers in China, though that is horrible and disgusts me too. The benefits suck. The health-care is minimal at best, and the company does tell its employees to look at supplemental things like food stamps and medicaid. This means you are paying for those employees as part of your taxes! Just so the wonderful wally-world can keep more of its precious profit margin.
So the higher ups can have a good cushion to sit on, and donate less than 1% of it. Really? Think about it, less than one percent. Thats 1 penny for every 100 dollars. 10 Dollars for every Thousand they make. Just 100 dollars if they make a million. Do you really need all of that +38 million and you choose to tell your employees (wait, no we weren't employees! We are supposed to be called Associates! Thats why they hate unions!)  tell your associates to work it out on 7.90 an hour, and look to the benefits you can get from the tax system???!!!! To feed their kids, or to pay for medical... Ugh, it disgusts me!!!!!!!!

And they destroy towns. They take subsidies and push out the actual moral stores. They destroy the environment in towns and basically murder people with bad practices, and don't get us started on GMO foods.  But stop listening to me. Watch this movie for yourself, PLEASE.

Here is the link for a free version on Google :

All in all, I work hard for my money, always have. I want the money I spend to go to a place that has the same morals. I don't want it to go to some bigwig's cushion. I want the people that work for my items to get paid the amount they deserve, just as I want the amount I deserve. Our Society is killing itself, trying to undercut others. Pay the amount you would want if you did the work for it. So if I have to pay 20 bucks to a person on etsy that really did make my clothes, I feel 150 % better than the 5 I spent on the walmart shirt.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Beef Tips and Noodles (aka sort-of Stroganoff)

This is a long time easy favorite of my Missouri family. The thing that makes this not stroganoff is the fact that it does not have cream in, most that I see (and my mom's too) use sour cream to give it a smoother taste.
However, this is a great recipe, and I have come to love it over the year I spent there.

How to make:

Cut stew meat into small pieces. Roll in a mixture of flour, and seasonings. Such as Season salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder. 

Place in a skillet with a bit of olive oil, brown the meat on med-high.  Then turn it down to low, add some beef broth or  water. 

Keep it simmering on low for about an hour or more, until the meat is tender. Watch the water level, add more as needed. If you have a lid for your pan cover it, but it is okay if you don't, I didn't this time, just had to check water more often. 

Once the meat is tender, start a pot of boiling water with a dash of salt and a drop or two of oil.  Cook egg noodles for 6-8 minutes, or as package directs.  Pour off water and either poor the sauce in the pot with the noodles, or pour into a large casserole dish for easier serving for many people. ( we had 8 at the table every night)

Again, this is a traditional family recipe for Logan, and I am happy that it tastes good. When I made it tonight, I didn't have season salt or the lid, but I tried. I added a little of italian seasoning which I think made it different but a bit more zesty.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Turkey burgers

So I made these a few days ago, but didn't have the time to get the recipe up. Here is what I did now.

Ground turkey was on sale, and I have never cooked with it so we figured why not make some turkey burgers instead of beef hamburgers?

I used my grater to make some bread crumbs out of the loaf of bread I made a few days before, it was getting a bit dry anyways. It was half a loaf and I used half of the crumbs in the 1 pound of meat. I also used 1 egg, some seasonings and grated cheddar cheese.

Mash it all up (I mix by hand) and form into flatish round patties the size of your buns. We were using up the rest of the buns from Gene and Kathy, and they were HUGE. So I just made 4 burgers and the burgers were still smaller than the buns. I am certain that this could have made 8 burgers though.

We fried them up in a skillet as it was raining too much and we don't have the charcoals to use the community grill.

Yummy Yummy they were. We ate with some green beans and tator tots. I think it would have been better with some barbecue sauce, but the meat is pretty tasty. The melted cheese inside made them gooey according to Logan, but I liked it that way.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Home Made Alfredo sauce

Oh My Gosh! This is SOOOO easy! I have no idea why my dad uses the seasoning packets or jarred! I think this is one of the easiest things I have ever made! Sooo delicious too! (maybe not very healthy because of cream, but still, let yourself live for a treat every once in a while!)

I looked up a few recipes, and there are many many different types. I wanted some thing easy with items I all ready had. Generally, the ingredients are butter, cream cheese, sour cream, or just whipping cream, and seasoning. Some add a bit of flour as a thickener.

What I did:

I took about half a stick of butter and one package of cream cheese and melted it down in the large skillet. After it was pretty much melted, I added 1/2 cup Milk and made it as smooth as possible. 
If I had had a nylon whisk I would used that, but never use metal in a non-stick or Teflon pan, it will scratch it up and start deteriorating in your food. 

Add your favorite seasonings, I used some pepper and salt, and a bit of garlic powder. I also added a bit of flour to thicken it. 

And there you have it! That is how to make the sauce, the important thing is to not stop stirring, or it will scorch.  I had cooked some chicken up in the pan before I made the sauce and put it to the side in a bowl, then threw it in the sauce with some stir-fry veggies.  I boiled the water for the noodles all at the same time. 

It was really good, and I actually got Logan to try one of each of the veggies. It was hard, but he admits that though he didn't really like the peas in a pod, they could be good by themselves. He however hated with a passion the broccoli. It will take a while, but eventually he will learn to like them :)

Monday, October 04, 2010

Caramel Apple Lattice Pie

Sorry again for horrible photos, I got out that cheap 7 dollar thing again to take these... Can't wait till Logan's phone and therefore my camera is fixed ;)

Okay, so I tried my best. They are not the most elegant looking things, but I am proud. :) According to Logan "THIS TASTES AMAZING" . Todd liked it too. I thought it was good for a first try, I have ideas for next time.

So with those apples that were on sale, I wanted to make a pie. Buuutttttt, I didn't want to make any pie, I wanted to try to make a lattice pie. I think they look cooler. And I wanted it to have caramel in it, like the pies that we had at the bakery I worked at that I always wanted to try but never had the money to buy.

First thing first, I needed a recipe. I pulled out all of my recipe books, and found nothing for either, and only one fully covered apple pie and a few pie/pastry crust recipes. Did a few searches on and I could not find what I wanted, even using the ingredient search. So I guess it is time for a wildly crazy Wing-it creation!

I found one for "Never-Fail Pastry Crust" I liked the look of in my FCCLA-HERO cook book from school (was a fundraiser) and this is the crust that has been used for years and years. However, it made 6 single pies or 3 double crusted pies, and I did not need that much! Heck I am lucky I had two tin pie pans from my mom! So I roughly estimated half of everything. Also, the recipe called for vinegar, something we don't have yet (its going on the list! I keep looking at it in the store and decide we don't have the money for it yet)


2 cups sifted flour, 1/2 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp sugar sifted together in large bowl. (Or mix in blender if don't have sifter hahaha) Cut in 3/4 cup lard or crisco with pastry knife (or two butter knifes hack hacking away till crumbly like meal)
In a separate small bowl, beat 1 egg (couldn't cut that in half) and 1/4 cup COLD water. Mix into dry mixture gently till balls up and then knead gently on lightly floured surface. Separate into 3 portions.
Roll out 2 on floured ice cream bucket lid with empty wine bottle, then place pie tin over, and flip pastry in. Press into sides evenly. Place in fridge. 

 Wash and cut up 3 large honeycrisp apples. An easy way to do this is to place stem down on your cutting board, and then get a small, sharp knife and cut in thin sections down. I tried to take a picture of this on the left, but the camera is 300 kb, not even 1 mega-pixel lol. Essentially just do really thin cuts all the way down for 360 degrees. keep the apple together until the end, and then the sections easily come apart like an orange! 

Then sprinkle the apples with about 3 tbs white sugar and 4 tbs brown  sugar and cover if possible to shake or stir it all up.

As evenly as possible lay out the thin apple slices on the crust. Then put back in the fridge until caramel sauce is done.

For that I took the rest of the bag of kraft caramels we had eaten some of (39 pieces left actually) and poured in just under 2/3 cup Dulce De Lechce International creamer, as I did not have half and half and did not want to open the new galleon of milk. Microwave for about 3 minutes, stirring every minute. Then drip and pour evenly over the apples.

Roll out the last of the pastry and cut into strips, lay in a criss cross pattern across the top of the pie and brush with a bit of the Dulce De Lechce. Bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes, then lower to 350 for about 40 minutes. 

 Let cool on cooling rack for at least 10 minutes before cutting. Serve by itself or with some vanilla ice cream and a bit of the left over caramel sauce! XD

WHAT I WOULD DO NEXT TIME: I would make the full six crusts, so they could be a bit thicker. I would use double crusts on the bottom of the pies and place a thin layer of butter in between to make it more like a flaky puff pastry. Also I want to dab the apples with some pats of butter. I want to learn how to make a better lattice, but other wise these were awesome!!!! Yay me! 

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Oatmeal snack and Good Grocery Haul

Let's get the quick recipe out of the way :)
Logan has now done this twice, and it is his favorite. I thought I would put it out there for some other people to try since he likes it so much.

  1. Fill up (clean) coffee pot with hot water. 
  2.  Take largest heat proof mug (my fave is the green one we found at yard sale) and fill anywhere from 1/3 to half full, depending how hungry you are. (remember oats expand!) 
  3. Put in a little brown sugar and hot chocolate mix. 
  4. Pour in water to desired consistency and add a bit more sugar to taste (or even flavored coffee creamer! He says that's for tomorrow)
  5. ENJOY!!
Now, I just want to brag about how happy I am about money we are saving. We aren't the greatest yet, and we still had some impulse buys, but hey, it was still a lot of savings! 

We went to  and looked at this weeks ads to create a Grocery list before going to the store.
(Safeway is the only grocery store in town, besides Three Bears which I (and my mother for that matter) don't trust. Logan and I had stopped there once and the meat was green and the hams that were on sale were all leaking and disgusting looking packages... It just was not right.)

A night or two ago, I sat down with Logan and Todd to find 30 ideas for dinner for the month of October.It was hard, but we did it! Now it is quite obvious we won't do it in the exact order, but we can plan for those meals and make sure to use up the meat in the freezer and plan extra for leftovers (like left over homemade pizza sauce into spaghetti the next night) 

Now for our savings tally: We saw that cream cheese (which I love in everything, especially mashed carrots and potatoes) was on sale 2 for $3 when regular price is 4.18. You bet we bought some! Logan had to buy some pasta-roni sides, at 8 for $10 not too bad for a quick side-dish. We picked up 4 boxes of cereal at a buy 2 get 2 free price as well as B1G1 bacon and sausage rolls (GREAT for spaghetti). We grabbed the bag of apples knowing I could make a pie and some caramels for caramel apples! I have at position 8 (this friday the 8th in other words)  fried chicken so we grabbed my rain check a few weeks ago for 2 pints of buttermilk for 75cents that they had been out of at that time. 

All in all, we saved exactly $75  according to the store receipt with our Safeway card and coupons! That makes me feel good because I know it is all things we will use, good storage items. (I can't eat bacon that much, but it freezes quite well!)

Which all this stuff was a pain in the butt to carry home on foot! 6 blocks, and up hill of all things! But we loaded down his wheelchair and had cereal in his back and OJ balanced in a bag on his foot, lol! I carried 5 bags myself, so please don't think I made him do it all lol. Just realize we got that much with this plan for that cheap!

P.S. the whole way I was thinking how grateful I am that my mom had brought me home from the store when I bought the 25 lbs bag of flour for $13... XD

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Cajun Seasoned Porkchops

Well, I broke Logan's phone accidentally. I mean really broke it, the screen is very cracked and its one of those fancy droids and without his phone I can not take pictures. But Let me tell you, these look and smell great!!!

Tonight's dinner was Seasoned Pork-chops, Mashed Carrots and Potatoes, and Kathy's Sweet Dinner Rolls. I am not including the recipe for the dinner rolls because I messed up, I forgot the second rise and so they looked really funky.

To make pork-chops:
Spread on a plate seasonings that you like. I wanted Cajun seasoning so I used some Chili powder, some Cayenne, Pepper and Kosher salt. This needs to be a lot, so that you can encrust the chops and seal in seasonings.

Have fresh or thawed pork-chops and press them into the seasonings, well coating. Some say to get the flavor that you should let it sit for an hour or so in the fridge, but I just let it sit until my oil was hot enough.

I used my largest fry pan, 12 inches and put just a little bit of olive oil in the bottom. Medium high heat, until water drop sprinkled on top sizzles.

Fry up the chops about 5 minutes, flip and about another 5 minutes, or until juices run clear. Deliciousness is just minutes away! :)

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Not my day for baking, but I am thankful

So yesterday I tried to find a new recipe for the blog. I tried a different recipe of cookies and some Irish Soda Bread. Neither worked out quite right, infact the pizza we made for dinner was a bit under done too. So instead I want to do an update on what items I am glad we have.

The one item I think we have used the most is the mini coffee maker that my mom got for us that came as a pack of three (with a mini fry pan and iron) for college students. We have made tea, Coffee (once we got filters) Hot Chocolate, oatmeal, Ramen Noodles and even tried boiling water for potatoes with it.

I really wish I had a sauce pan so I didn't have to try to make gravy or noodles with a fry-pan or the coffee maker. I also want a stock pan to make soup and chili, which Logan has been asking for forever.

< I am thankful for the tea-jug and my yeast and the oven. I love baking, bread is yummy. I am looking up a ton more baking recipes and bread recipes. And don't worry, you can eat breads and carbs and still loose weight if you are worried about that. Just cut out that extra snickers bar, because its the calories, not where they come from.

I am thankful for our well stocked freezer, we had a sale on meat and therefore stocked up on some hamburger, pork, and chicken. There are only three veges Logan really eats, carrots (which are in the fridge) and there are frozen green beans and corn in the freezer door.

I am glad we have freezer paper and tape, which is soooo much cheaper than trying to use ziploc freezer bags. I know the air is out when I wrap with paper.  I just wish I had a permanent marker to write the date and item on it, right now I am depending on memory of which is which lol.

This futon my mom bought is soooooo sooo wonderful. You have no idea how good it feels to sit down when we didn't have anyplace but the floor for a few days. Its low to the ground but I will gladly deal with it!

I love my Logan, and I am grateful to Todd and my Mom and Logan's parents for all their help. I was not looking to make a "thankful" post like its thanksgiving, but I wanted for my own sanity to think of things I am thankful for, as there is so much that I am wanting. I wish we had more money, I wish I could afford things I don't have, but I am getting by, and getting by quite happily.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Fried chicken and.... Interesting mistakes

Okay, so tonight's dinner was... quite interesting. Logan is certain I went insane there near the end. But I never promised perfection just (hopefully) edibility.

The only thing that turned out remotely okay that I want to make again was the fried chicken, so that is the  recipe I will give.

(Other items were gravy and mashed carrots and potatoes like in "sheppard's pie" because yesterday I made a potroast as meat was on sale. Though I only have 5 spices on hand (chili, cyanne, pepper, salt, and garlic powder) Turn out very delicious, Logan called them "lava potatoes". I tried to be a little ingenious to make mashed potoaoes without a masher or even a fair sized spatula, and  no pot for making gravy. I was smashing with a chopper and having never made any of this before I took on too much with too little.

Anyways, onto the chicken.  My plan was to defrost some of my boneless tenderloins early on, but  forgot so I put on low in the microwave till soft. The following is not the exact recipe that Logan's mom uses, but she is the only one I have ever seen make fried chicken and I've never made myself.

I mixed my leftover egg wash from my perfect pretzels with some buttermilk in a tin pie dish.

In a bag I put about a cup of flour, some of all of my seasonings, and some baking powder for good measure. (again estimation, but turned out great.) (edit: Just found out she does not put baking powder in, that was made up on my part XD )

Then take your defrosted chicken and dredge it in the liquid, then roll around and shake in the powder. Repeat in the liquid and powder.

Fry in a pan of canola or peanut oil over medium heat till golden brown. Perfection somehow, though everything else in the meal was questionable as to thee appeal (I feel horrible abougt the "aborted potatoes" though still edible, interesting flavor :)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

15 Minute Cheap Meal (or How I Moved in and our First Meal)

(edit: I was too tired to take photo, but am sure will make again, and I think I should mention that this idea/recipe is from my "Aunt" Chelsey. Her ramen salads are the best! Served cold or hot)

Yaaaay! Yay yay yay!!! We finally have our apartment! Got our stuff moved in and Logan's parents went back to Missouri (we miss them, but are happy to be able to be on our own). Its been quite hectic and stressful getting our first apartment as 3 young adults (and I'm not even 20 yet).  My mother unloaded many...(use-full?) items upon our small living space. His parents were very nice though and bought us many needed items.

Anyways, our first dinner was on the cheap and the quick, as my feet were very sore. Take some left over chicken or fry up some boneless chicken and as we do not have a stock pan, I used the frying pan to also cook the ramen by adding water and the noodles with a few kernels of corn and green beans. Drain in pasta bowl, return to pan to fry noodles for a minute, and add seasoning packet. Takes less than 15 minutes, yet quite delicious and fairly healthy.

Satisfying enough for their tummies and quick enough to get me off my sore, sore, sooorree, tired feet.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Punch it out with Pretzels

So I am sooo mad today. I was so excited and had everything planned for Logan getting to Alaska at 12:30 am tomorrow (friday 10/10/10) . But nope! While I was at the apartment building there was another delay in getting, I get a call from him that his flight is delayed, now canceled. I had everything set up perfectly! I have been talking for weeks on how sad I was that I didn't have a way to get to the airport, when in actually I was as a surprise, but I had him convinced with valid reasons. But since he does not arrive until 2:40 PM to anchorage, I have no way to get there, and I have to wait till he gets to Seward to give him a hug and a kiss. I am sooo sad, because I had everything set up to recreate what it was like when I first went to Missouri, but with this being his first time to Alaska. So my day is pretty down in the dumps.

I felt like making something to get my mind off, and found a link for awesome Hedgehog Truffles (Logan's favorite animal, he wants one as a pet soooo badly). Sooo Adorable! The recipe is in Polish though, and google translator does not do a good enough job to let me make the recipe. *sigh* If anyone knows how to *correctly* translate Polish I would be indebted to you!

 So now that I am sad X3, I need something else. Todd has been asking for pretzels since before his birthday. I did not want to make them at my mom's because they create a MESS. Even worse than normal! But the idea of making either bread or pretzels appealed to me because of the kneading needed. So I told him if he went out and bought me a jar of yeast I would make him some. I wish I had the AWESOME recipe from my online cooking school I was in while living in Las Vegas, but sadly, I don't know where it is. So I did a search and found Mall Pretzels on It is not the same, but works. Turned out pretty good.

Our Golden brown Pretzel Knots
Rise! Rise my little yeasty Minions!!!
Here is the recipe: dissolve 2 1/4 teaspoon yeast (or one package of .25 ounce), 2 tablespoons brown sugar and 1 1/8 teaspoons salt in 1 1/2 cups warm water. I let it sit and bubble and become really active first.  Then mix in 3 cups all-purpose flour and 1 cup bread flour. Knead really well, till nice and smooth like elastic. Then place in a large bowl that has been coated with olive oil (or any sort of veggie or safflower oil), roll it slightly so outside gets coated and will stay soft, then cover with a warm towel. And whisper the picture caption to it. (Yes I really did!) Let sit and rise for 1 hour.

Process of cuts

Then when I came back to my bowl overflowing with dough I rolled it into a large log, and cut it in half, then cut each half in half. Here is a MS of what cuts I made to make it easier than say half and half and half. I accidentally deviated and made 16 pieces instead of the 12 the recipes calls for, just means you will have smaller pretzels and 4 extra.

Roll out each piece into a small thin snake. I risked the death of the world and actually let Todd help me make these since he has been wanting them so bad.  Then tie up into your pretzel. Because I cut 4 extra out of same amount of dough we didn't have as long of ropes and actually made knots without a hole in the center.

Dip into a small bowl or pan with 2 tablespoons baking soda dissolved in 2 cups warm water. 

Then place on an sprayed pan and let sit and rise for 15-20 minutes. Bake at 450* for 8 minutes

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Update on life, and Bacon hint

 If you want to skip the bacon hint is at the bottom...

So you want to know why I haven't posted anything? Our paperwork on the apartment was accepted!!! Just have to go in tomorrow and sign papers, move in Friday! Logan gets to Alaska Friday at 12:30 AM! Wow things are moving finally!

My mom finds it really annoying when I cook, I can be a little messy sometimes... I really really didn't mean to drop the eggs! I am a bit of a clumsy kluts... Anyways so I have been trying to avoid cooking more than necessary... Cereal can't be too messy is it? Well until you spill it or the milk, plus someone doesn't rinse out bowls, but that is not me! Just wish it wasn't so expensive, and milk... as if we didn't go through it fast already!

But yhea, that is what has been up with me, why I am so stressed out. Also drove for over 2 hours yesterday, by myself!!! I have never driven by myself more than the 15 minutes it took to get from home to work. I had to drive my mom's blazer back from anchorage, Todd drove the Ventura, and my mom drove the new red Warner brothers classic or whatever she just bought for the company. While we were there we went to the golden corral, a HUGE buffet with like 4 different bars, Salad, Seafood, Meat (even steak and ribs! as well as chicken) and Desert. By far the best thing though were their ROLLS! I want to figure out how to make those, they were light and fluffy and had a touch of butter that was to die for. Talking to the waitress learned that they make the rolls there. Now to search for a good imitation recipe... once we get the apartment of course, my mom doesn't want a white house from me tracking flour everywhere... Hahaha


Now for that bacon hint... Do you like your bacon greasy? I don't. I don't like when it is all covered and soaked in the fat, nastyness. Why I am also not a big fan of fried chicken. I don't usually eat bacon because it disgusts me, I don't make it often and if someone else makes it I will eat one piece to be polite and then pass the rest off to Logan (who LOVES bacon btw, especially since its not a vegetable).

The best bacon is actually not fried, but BAKED. Get a rack for like cookies, and place in a jellyroll pan. Lay your bacon over and place in an oven to drip cook, just like a rotisserie chicken. Watch it till its done, I still have to learn how to do this timed right, but even if it is a bit over done it can still be slightly chewy, leave it in longer for crispy.Turned out well! Wanted to take a pic of it in the oven but the light on is too bright, and light off too dark. *sigh* Made it for Todd's breakfast, along with an omelet.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

B AN AN A! B read! :) Award winning family recipe

What do you do when you find a deal of 20 pounds of bananas for 5 bucks? Buy it of course!!! (most were still all yellow! We gave a bunch away, but still had a ton... what do we do?)
I asked many friends what their favorite banana recipes are and this was the number one! There are many variations, but my mom and I collaborated on this one again. This recipe is again from my Great Grandma Shelhon, aka my Choo-Choo gamma as she lived next to a rail road and had toy trains for me. My mom made this recipe many many many times growing up, and it won awards at fairs and 4-H events. 

So far 6 loaves have been made by my mom, and now I just put my two in the oven. Here is the recipe (we double to make 2 loaves at a time.)

Smash 6 ripe bananas. Mix in 2 cups sugar, 2 eggs, 3 cups flour, 1/2 cup melted butter or veggie oil, 2 teaspoon salt, 2 teaspoon baking soda. That is all that is necessary! Though some people might like to add  about 1 1/2 cup walnuts, or even some mashed strawberries or Raspberries (what I did).

Pour into greased bread pan and put in 325 degree oven until toothpick
inserted in center
comes out clean.

Whala! Perfectly tender, moist banana bread is at your fingertips! I tried using Todd's phone to take better photos, can you tell?

What other banana recipes do you want to see? I obviously have enough of them! I have a few more banana recipes coming but will gladly take suggestions!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Etsy is my Perfect Dream! (giveaway post)

*UPDATE* I GOT MY HOOP!!!!! I GOT IT I GOT IT I GOT IT!!! Will be coming soon, with pictures! Purple blue and green colors of course! And ordered from Robyn's Nest, but shhh! Don't tell Logan! Got a sampler pack from her with scents she suggested, can't wait to surprise him with a new smell when he gets here! As for the necklace and spice jars, we are talking about them, but not yet in budget.

I love etsy so so much! You can find so many cool things, and what more fun do people have than trawling around and wanting things they cant afford? Well with the help of Craftgossip. com and this specific post YOU CAN! this is my shamless plug hoping beyond hope that I can win! These are things that I want, my top wish list!

Anyone around me right now knows how much I want this style hoop! $35 it is perfect, my hoop specifications would be a 45" 160 psi with lots of gaffer! Favorite are the UV colors and bright Green, Purple and Blue. I WANT IT! If I don't win, I am still getting this hoop, I am going to kill someone if I don't get a hoop like this. Logan has promised me he will get it for me soon.

If you have been around me since about March you know what my favorite movie is: REPO! The Genetic Opera. I am OBSESSED with it, sing it all the time and I go gaga and watch it 15 times in a row. I own it on American DVD and UK Blu-Ray. Logan and I were talking that at our wedding we are serving "Zydrate" that I am making (blue ice raspberry lemonade Kool-aide) So what better necklace for me than This. At $7, a steal and next on my ABSOLUTELY MUST HAVE- list.

The next thing on my list that I love is something that would benefit every one around me (well besides the fact that I will kill someone if I don't get them, though this could perhaps Kill Logan and Todd if Todd gets a hold of them, lol) This would be beneficial to every one, especially the people reading my blog because it would mean I have more things to cook with! I think it would look great on my fridge, and you bet I would find 24 spices to fill it with! At 50 bucks though, I am not getting this unless I win the giveaway *sigh*...

Finally, with 8 bucks left in the $100 limit, I am choosing something in memory. I have been looking for a perfume or Body Mist in memory of my Grandma and Rose, my step-mom. When my Gramma died, it was around my birthday and she had wrapped for me, a bottle of Jasmine body spray. So I have searched and searched, and decided that when I do have the money I will be getting a perfume from this place. Robyn's Nest Boutique is a very nice, friendly shop, Robyn even helped me to pick out a scent she think I will like. I would like to try the roll on, but 8.95 is over the budget so I will go with the classic body mister for 6 dollars, and have 2 left over.

That's it! My Wishlist! Hope I win, keep your fingers crossed for me! I could have probably put up a thousand more things but don't want to run out of time and there was the 100 dollar limit.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies (with a Twist)

Close Up Time!

"Oh no! She's at it again!" I wasn't satisfied with normal plain chocolate chip cookies. I wanted some that were really soft and gooey goodness. Well, after the pudding cake thing learned from a friend, why not try it again? I have had some great "Cake Box Cookies" courtesy of Jordon, and have learned that cookies and cakes are quite similar, actually cookies were invented because of cakes. I don't remember exactly where I read it, so if someone wants to claim this information I will give credit. (I think it was from one of my plethora of cook books)

If I recall correctly, a smaller cake was baked besides fancy wedding cakes so that they could be tested for being done without cutting into the actual cake to be used for a ceremony. This stemmed from a time of ovens without temperature gauges or clocks/timers. Eventually, people decided that they liked the little cakes as much as the large ones, and now we bake the small cookies on their own instead of with the cake.

Anyways, I have tried this recipe and it is "fantastic!" as one of my favorite doctors would say. Again these measurements are somewhat estimated, I spilt a bit extra of a lot of things in this one, good thing cooking isn't an exact science! (makes about 6 dozen)

2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened (unsalted is sooo much  better, but I guess you could use normal, though they cost the same) Please soften before hand, works much much better. One of my sticks was frozen = not so easy.

Cut in 1 1/2 packed cup brown sugar and about 1/2  cup white sugar. (brown gives the cookies color, white the texture I think)

Then mix in 4 eggs and 2 teaspoons of Vanilla (though I must admit my vanilla was 2 teaspoons plus a dollop lol). That plus flour gives you a "normal" dough recipe, but I threw in a large box of instant vanilla pudding mix.

Mix together thoroughly, and slowly add 4 1/2 cups of flour, sifted with  2 teaspoons baking soda. It takes a lot of work getting all the flour incorporated, but they turn out ohhhh so good!

That can all be done with a mixer if you have one strong enough (I don't) but add your bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips by hand, so they don't chip or break up. I also threw in the last fourth of a bag of white chocolate morsels left over from the Delux Carrot Cake Recipe.

When it comes to cookies, there are two things I love: scoops and baking stones. If you don't have them that is okay but they make life so much easier. Scoops make the cookies even, so you don't have a huge under cooked and tiny crisp cookie in the same batch. Baking stones help the heat spread evenly, making more uniform and perfectly done cookies and pizzas. I love it and if my mom doesn't let me take hers I will probably cry and convince Logan to buy me one off ebay.

Anyways, put small equal amounts of dough on your cooking tray and place in 350 degree oven for 12 minutes. NO MORE. They will burn and be hard and crispy if it is anything more than 12 minutes. I don't care if they don't look golden, they will be done perfectly I promise you, please don't burn them you want to keep them soft.

Let sit for atleast 5-10 minutes cooling on the stone before transferring to cool on borwn paper bag, paper towels, or paper plates, anything to help wick away excess oil while they cool completely. (or at-least cool enough to handle and eat while warn with milk! I was worried there wouldn't be any left the way my mom was going at 'em!)

Enjoy! If any survive, store in an airtight container with a piece of bread to keep soft.

Cookies and Milk!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Apple Bars

I learned that my cheap camera is just that, CHEAP. The best pictures I included, sorry for their horribleness.

This recipe has been passed down, was my great gramma's, whom I called my "Choo-Choo Gramma" because she lived next to the rail road and I had a toy train at her house. She was always cooking, you couldn't surprise her and tell her not to make a big meal, she made them anyways.
Anyways, without further ado, the recipe: (these are estimations because they are vocal by sight recipes)

2 1/2 cup flour, about 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon sugar, Cut in with a pastry knife 1 cup lard (crisco), Seperate 1 egg and reserve the white aside, put yolk in a cup, then add milk till its at 2/3 mark. Mix thoroughly.

Separate in to two equal sized balls. Take one on a floured surface and roll it out till its fairly thin and will completely cover the bottom of the jelly roll pan. Fold carefully and lift and place in pan, unfold and press so it is evenly spread out. if there is overhang pinch it off and press it into thin spots.
Sorry about quality, I will work on buying better Camera
Cover with crushed corn flakes evenly, about 2 handfuls or half a box.

Filling: Peel and slice 8-10 apples (5 pound bag), slice carefully trying to use as much apple as possible. Place in a bowl and cover with Sugar and Cinnamon.
Left is what is left after slicing from core, right is cinnamon sugar covered goodness

Put the apples on top of the Corn Flakes and top with the other ball of dough that has been rolled out on the floured surface. That egg white you reserved? Beat it well and use a pastry brush to coat the top crust.

 Place in a 400 * oven for 50 minutes. Let cool.

Mix together powdered sugar and water till a slightly runny consistency, add water very very slowly as it is easy to have it be too thin.  pour over top and let harden in the fridge. Serve and enjoy! Easily reheated in the microwave if you want, good cold too!