Friday, December 25, 2009

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

CLASSIC COCOA MIX IN A JAR



Layer the ingredients for a nice presentation. This mix will fill a 1-quart jar (12 servings), but if your containers are different sizes, just keep the ratio of ingredients constant. You can include a book and/or nice mug with your mix.
Classic Cocoa Mix In A Jar

Yield: Makes 1 quart mix or 12 servings hot cocoa

1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup powdered milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup miniature chocolate chips
1/2 cup miniature marshmallows

Layer sugar, cocoa powder, powdered milk, salt, chocolate chips, and marshmallows.
Include the following instruction for preparation: "Mix contents in a large bowl. For each serving, place 1/3 cup cocoa mix in a mug and stir in 1 cup boiling water. Store remaining mix in airtight container."

FRIENDSHIP SOUP MIX IN A JAR


Need a quick last minute gift that won't cost your first born?
If you can't find a container as shown above, you can put it in a celophane gift bag or a mason jar. You can also tie a wooden spoon to your container. Be sure to include the directions for preparing the soup.
Friendship Soup Mix in a Jar

From Allrecipes.com
1/2 cup dry split peas
1/3 cup beef bouillon granules
1/4 cup quick pearl barley
1/2 cup dry lentils
1/4 cup dried onion flakes
2 tsp. dried Italian seasoning
1/2 cup uncooked long-grain white rice
2 bay leaves
1/2 cup uncooked alphabet pasta or other tiny pasta
In a 1-pint or 1-1/2-pint jar, layer split peas, bouillon, barley, lentils, onion flakes, Italian seasoning, rice and bay leaves. Wrap pasta in plastic wrap and place in the jar. Seal tightly.

Attach a label to the jar with the following instructions:
Friendship Soup additional ingredients: 1 lb. ground beef; black pepper to taste; garlic powder to taste; 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained; 1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste; and three quarts water.
To prepare soup: Remove pasta from top of jar and set aside.
In a large pot over medium heat, brown beef with pepper and garlic; drain excess fat. Add diced tomatoes, tomato paste, water and soup mix. Bring to a boil. Then reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for 45 minutes.
Stir in the pasta, cover and simmer 15 to 20 minutes or until the pasta, peas, lentils and barley are tender

Monday, December 21, 2009

HONEY BAKED HAM - ALMOST


Another recipe for Honey Baked Ham. This recipe also uses a small butane torch (like Julia Child used for Creme Brulee) to caramelize the sugar glaze. PLEASE BE VERY CAREFUL using the torch.
As I mentioned in yesterday's post for Family Circles version of Honey Baked Ham you can save a tidy sum (approximately $35 on a 7lb ham) making your own.

Honeybaked Ham Glaze
1/2 spiral cut smoked ham (about 7 lbs. fully cooked)

1 Cup sugar
1/4 Teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 Teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 Teaspoon ground clove
1/8 Teaspoon paprika
1 Dash ground ginger
1 Dash ground allspice

Mix sugar and spices together in a small bowl.

Pour the sugar mixture onto 2-3 large pieces of wax paper and spread it around evenly.

Roll the ham in the sugar mixture, coating it evenly.

Place the flat end of the ham on a plate. Use a butane torch with a medium flame and caramelize the sugar. Move the torch quickly over the sugar mixture so the sugar bubbles and caramelizes. Be careful not to burn the ham. Rotate the plate to reach all around the ham and caramelize the sugar on the enire ham. PLEASE BE VERY CAREFUL using the torch.




Sunday, December 20, 2009

LIKE HONEY BAKED HAM - FAMILY CIRCLE RECIPE


This recipe is from Family Circle Magazine.
Starting with a spiral cut ham will make this easier. A (7) lb. Half Ham (Serves 10-14) from Honey Baked Ham will cost you $49.95 , if it is not shipped. A sprial cut ham from Safeway at 1.69 a pound (SALE PRICE) will be about 11.83 for the ham alone. If you make your own honeybaked type ham it will be well under 15.00, depending on the cost of the ingredients for the honey type glaze. That's approximately a $35.00 savings, so try making your own ham this year, it's worth it!

Knock-off Honey Baked Ham
1/2 spiral cut smoked ham (@ 7 lbs. fully cooked)
1/2 Cup pear juice
1/2 Cup orange juice
1/2 Cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 Cup honey

Preheat oven to 375 ° F.
Place ham, cut end down, in a large baking pan.
Mix pear nectar and orange juice in a bowl. Bake ham for 15 minutes basting frequently with juices.
Mix brown sugar and honey together in a small bowl. Brush mixture over ham and bake for another hour or until internal temperature reads 140 °F.

Honey Baked Ham corporation uses a butane torch to carmelize the glaze to a crust. The ham is placed on top of a huge metal drum covered with foil and carmelized. It can be done aat home by turning the ham onto its flat end on a plate. Use a torch with a medium-size flame to caramelize the sugar. Wave the torch over the sugar with rapid movement, so that the sugar bubbles and browns. Be careful not to burn the ham. Turn plate so that you can run the torch over the entire surface of the ham. Be VERY CAREFUL when using the torch.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

CHEX BOLD PARTY MIX


Though it doesn't compare to the original version Bold Party Blend is one of the more popular varations on Chex Party Mix.

Chex Mix® Bold Party Blend
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons powdered white cheddar*
1 teaspoon msg (optional)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
6 cups of a blend of Corn Chex, Wheat Chex, pretzels, mini crackers, cheese-flavored crackers, mini breadsticks

*You can use the cheddar from the package of macaroni and cheese or a cheddar popcorn seasoning.

Preheat oven to 250°F.
Melt butter or margarine and pour in roasting pan. Whisk in oil and Worcestershire sauce Stir in seasonings. Gradually mix in chex, pretzels, mini crackers etc. Stir to coat cearal-cracker-pretzel blend evenly coated.

Bake one hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Spread on paper towels to cool mixture about 3-5 minutes. Add mix to a large zip-top bag and sprinkle in about a quarter of the powdered white cheddar into the bag, seal it, and give it a good shake. Repeat this process until powdered white cheddar has been used.

Store in air tight container.

Microwave Directions:
Melt butter or margarine in large microwavable bowl uncovered on High. Stir in seasonings. Gradually stir in remaining ingredients, except cheese, until evenly coated.

Microwave uncovered on High 5 to 6 minutes, thoroughly stirring every 2 minutes. Spread on paper towels to cool about 3-5 minutes. Add mix to a large zip-top bag and sprinkle in about a quarter of the powdered white cheddar mixture into the bag, seal it, and give it a good shake. Repeat this process until powdered white cheddar is used.

Store in air tight container.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

BEAUTY YOU CAN AFFORD!

E.L.F. COSMETICS

With lipstick or mascara costing close to $20.00 for department store lines, and about $8.00 for drug strore lines, looking good can really put a dent in your budget.

Thanks to E.L.F. or Eyes Lips Face you can get quality cosemtics at great prices. Their original line is $1.00 per item with the exception of kits, of course. They have a professional line and a mineral line both have items priced between $3.00-$5.00 an item.
$1.00 per item is not an introductory or special one time only price. $1.00 is the everyday regular price for their full sized products.
I have tried and use E.L.F products and have been very please with the products. The mineral line is as good as the pricey Infomercial brand.

At $1.00 an item, you can really have some fun.

Sign up for their newsletter to be kept updated on special offers, coupons, and free shipping offers. Get together with a friend or two and save on shipping.

E.L. F.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

HOMEMADE HAND SANITIZER



I have been neglecting this blog! Things have been a little hectic latey and I have found it too easy to say "I'll get a post up tomorrow". Well we all know how that turns out.

Anyway, since cold and flu season is here and the News has been reporting stories on Swine Flu (H1N1) and providing advice on common sense ways to avoid spreading disease.

One suggestion is to use hand sanitizer. This does not replace good old fashioned hand washing. Bacteria reside in the oily layer on our flesh and good old soap and water removes that layer, bateria and all. Hand sanitizer are used with not in place of hand washing. One last note hand sanitizers use alcohol (62%) to kill bacteria only. Virus's are a different "kettle of microbials".

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Since the top bands of hand sanitizer use 62% acohol any Isopropyl Alcohol with 70%-99% will be good.
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Empty 12 ounce hand sanitizer container
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Mix together alcohol, aloe gel and using a funnel pour into empty had sanitizer container.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

HOMEMADE NUTELLA - CHOCOLATE HAZELNUT SPREAD

This recipes looked too good to pass up. I haven't had a chance to try it yet.


From the LA TIMES comes this slightly tweaked recipe for Nutella.
The original recipe calls for Hazelnut oil. This is pricey and hard to find. If you have it on hand by all mean use it in place of the other oils suggested. Also suggested in the original article was Scharffen Burger Chocolate. If it's not in your pantry or budget, Hershey's European Dark Cocoa will work great.
Toasting the nuts really brings out their flavor, but if you prefer to skip this step it is ok. I suggest you do toast and remember to watch so you don't burn your hazelnuts.
Years ago I use to purchase a peanut-chocolate spread. You can use peanuts (regular roast, not dry roasted) in place of the hazelnuts. Purchasing roasted peanuts will save you a little time by not having to roast. Use you're favorite nut to personalize to your taste.

Hazelnut-chocolate spread (homemade Nutella)
February 11, 2009
Total time: 20 minutes
Servings: Makes about 1 1/2 cups

2 cups raw hazelnuts
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons light olive or canola oil

1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Spread the hazelnuts evenly over a cookie sheet and roast until they darken and become aromatic, about 10 minutes. Transfer the hazelnuts to a damp towel and rub to remove the skins.

2. In a food processor, grind the hazelnuts to a smooth butter, scraping the sides as needed so they process evenly, about 5 minutes.

3. Add the cocoa, sugar, vanilla, salt and oil to the food processor and continue to process until well blended, about 1 minute. The finished spread should have the consistency of creamy peanut butter; if it is too dry, process in a little extra hazelnut oil until the desired consistency is achieved. Remove to a container, cover and refrigerate until needed. Allow the spread to come to room temperature before using, as it thickens considerably when refrigerated. It will keep for at least a week.


Each tablespoon: 109 calories; 2 grams protein; 8 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams fiber; 9 grams fat; 1 gram saturated fat; 0 cholesterol; 13 mg. sodium.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

BONEFISH GRILL® CITRUS HERB VINAIGRETTE


A bottle of salad dressing can cost around $4.00. Try making this fresh at home, it will cost a lot less.
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Bonefish Grill® Citrus Herb Vinaigrette
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2/3 Cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 Cup light brown sugar
3 Tablespoons water
2 Tablespoons white wine vinegar
1/2 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
4 Teaspoons minced garlic
1 Tablespoon Grey Poupon Dijon mustard
2 Teaspoons orange juice
2 Teaspoons lemon juice
2 Teaspoons minced fresh parsley
1/2 Teaspoon dried basil
1/4 Teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 Teaspoon grated orange peel
1/4 Teaspoon grated lemon peel
1/4 Teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 Teaspoon salt
1/8 Teaspoon fresh ground black pepper


Combine all ingredients except for the oil in a glass or stainless steel bowl. Whisk well. Allow mixture to rest for 15 minutes. Slowly whisk in oil, pouring it in a steady stream and whisking continuously to make an emulsion.


Cover and chill for 1 hour before serving.
Makes 1-1/4 cups.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

HAPPY 4TH OF JULY



I have a house full of guests for the holiday weekend
so I am going to cheat a little on this post.

For your 4th of July menu I am posting a couple of links to my other blog for a few ideas for burgers and lemonade.

Some great Burger recipes

Some Lemonade ideas

(some lemonade recipes with and without alcohol)

Have a safe and wonderful July 4th.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

PEPPERMINT SUGAR SCRUB


Peppermint Sugar Scrub
This is great for softening skin on elbows, feet and knees.
Be sure you do not apply this to any sensitive skin.
1 cup sugar
5-10 drops of Peppermint Essential Oil
1/2 cup of Sweet Almond Oil
Mix together all ingredients and scrub freshly washed feet elbows and knees to smooth and soften.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

CHERRY LEMON COOLER


Try serving this tasty drink from Northwest Cherry Board, at your next barbecue or picnic for a nice change from sugar laden soda.
If you use fresh lemons you will need 8-10 lemons for 1 cup of lemon juice.

Cherry Lemon Cooler
Yield:4 servings

3 cups water
1 cup sugar
1 cup Northwest fresh sweet cherries, halved and pitted
1 cup fresh lemon juice, refrigerated
Crushed ice
1 bottle (1 liter) club soda or seltzer
Northwest fresh sweet cherries with stems

Garnish
4 long stems fresh mint-optional

Combine water and sugar in small saucepan; add halved cherries. Bring mixture to boil; reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.

Strain syrup into container with tight fitting lid; discard cherries. Refrigerate syrup until cold.

Fill a tall 12 to 16-ounce glass with ice. Pour 1/4 cup lemon juice and 1/3 cup syrup over ice and top with club soda. Garnish with cherries and mint. Makes 4 servings.

Tip: Leftover syrup may be stored, refrigerated, up to one week.

Nutritional Analysis Per Serving: 140 Cal., 0 g pro., 0 g fat, 37 g carb., 0 mg chol., 1 g fiber, 28 mg sodium.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

HOMEMADE MICROWAVE POPCORN AND POPCORN SEASONINGS


Microwave popcorn is easy and convenient but there have been some health concerns lately, including "Popcorn Workers Lung". With the convenience comes a price tag. You can make your own microwave popcorn for pennies vs the high cost of microwave popcorn found out your local retailer. It can cost between 1.99 to $3.99 a box.

With homemade you choose the ingredients, no worries about microwave popcorns artery-clogging hydrogenated oils. Use heirloom varieties, gourmet or organic popcorn if you prefer. You can sprinkle lightly with salt or add your favorite flavoring. Have fun and enjoy a snack healthy. I have listed some suggestions for different seasonings following the popcorn directions.

My popcorn cost $2.29 for 20 oz. of Jolly Time Organic. The pack of paper bags cost $1.69 for 50. Cost is approximately .30 per bag.

Some people recommend using staples to close the bag, this could cause the bag to burn when the metal staples become hot, so do not use staples.

Do not leave popcorn in microwave unattended! Adult supervision is recommended if a child attempts this recipe.

HOMEMADE MICROWAVE POPCORN

1/4 cup popping corn
Popcorn Salt (you can use regular salt, but the fine popcorn salt is best)
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 brown paper lunch bag

Add popcorn to bag and add desired amount of salt.

Fold top of bag over to close and shake gently.

Add olive oil, fold bag and shake.

Fold the top of bag over again and make a 1/2" flap.

Crease this sharply and fold over one more time.

A sharp crease will kelp keep the popcorn in the bag when cooking.

Place the closed bag on its side (the large side) in the microwave. Pop the corn until there are 3-5 seconds between pops.Remove from microwas and open bag to cool. Add butter, and or other flavorings, fold top of bag and shake.

Some Seasoning Suggestions

Any cheese you can "shake". American, Parmesan, etc.

Taco seasoning (the powdered kind in the packages).

Chili Cheese & Garlic
1/2 Teaspoon salt
2 Teaspoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 Teaspoon paprika
1/2 Teaspoon chili powder
1/4 Teaspoon garlic powder

Garlic and Onion

1/4 teaspoon Garlic salt

1/4 teaspoon onion salt

or try a sprinkling little sugar after popping. The salty sweet flavor combination is interesting and a good change of taste.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

HOMEMADE CLOROX ANYWHERE SPRAY


If you purchase or have the 750ml trigger spray bottles you can make approximately 3 cups of this pricey product that you'll make yourself for only pennies.
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BE SURE TO LABLE THE CONTENTS OF YOUR SPRAY BOTTLE CLEARLY!!!
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Homemade Clorox Anywhere Spray
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750 ml/24 ounces trigger spray bottle
2 teaspoons bleach
24 ounces water
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Mix bleach and water in bottle.
Shake to mix.
This recipe would make approx 3 cups

Saturday, May 16, 2009

MCDONALD'S ICED COFFEES-VANILLA,CHOCOLATE, CARAMEL HAZELNUT



MCDONALD'S® ICED COFFEE

McDonald's flavored iced coffees include Vanilla, Chocolate, Caramel, and Hazelnut. Use your favorite favor. If you are going to purchase flavored syrups I suggest using Monin Natural Flavored Syrups. They have loads of flavors including those listed above, use your favorite.
If you have an espresso machine use 2 shots of espresso.

This first version is closest to the way they make these drinks at McDonalds

For a 24 ounce iced coffee
Brew coffee and refrigerate to cool.
Fill cup with ice.
Add 1 ounce flavored syrup of choice to ice.
Add 1/4 cup light cream.
Fill with cold coffee to top of cup.

The Following two versions are geared more towards the home kitchen. You can use what you have on hand. If you don't have any flavored syrups on hand there is also a recipe for a vanilla syrup you can make at home.



If you use the flavored syrup DO NOT add the sugar, unless you like your drink very sweet. If you prefer using vanilla flavored syrup but don't have any on hand, I have included a recipe for a vanilla syrup.



Like McDonald's Vanilla Iced Coffee (method 1)

1 cup heavy cream or half and half
4 to 5 teaspoons good quality Instant Coffee Granules
3 teaspoons granulated sugar* (if using vanilla extract)
2 Tablespoons Natural Vanilla Syrup*
or
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract (don't use imitation vanilla)
Ice cubes

Combine cream, coffee granules and sugar (if not using flavored syrup) in 2-cup glass measure. Microwave on high power for 1 minute; stir to dissolve sugar. Add vanilla syrup or extract. Pour over ice cubes.


* If using a flavored syrup do not add sugar, unless you like your iced coffee very sweet.

Like McDonald's Vanilla Iced Coffee (method 2)

1/4 Cup double-strength coffee
sugar to taste (up to 1/4 cup)
1 Cup cold water
2 Tablespoon Natural Vanilla Syrup
or
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4-1/3 Cup heavy cream or half and half.

If adding sugar, stir sugar with hot coffee until dissolved. Add water and remaining ingredients and refrigerate until cool. Fill glass 2/3 full of ice. Pour vanilla coffee over ice.

1 serving


Vanilla Syrup

2 Cups water
1-1/2 Cups granulated sugar
2 Teaspoons vanilla extract - please do not use imitation vanilla

Combine water and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Add vanilla extract. Remove from heat and cool. Store in a covered container.

Friday, April 3, 2009

HOMEMADE GRANOLA

Stir some homemade granola into yogurt, sprinkle on ice cream, eat as is for a snack or pour milk over granola in a bowl for a healthy, tasty breakfast cereal.
Despite all the ingredients in this recipe you will still be saving big time over the cost of breakfast cereals, which is costing $4-$5 a box.
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Homemade Granola
4 cups rolled oats
2 cups sweetened, shredded coconut
2 cups sliced almonds
1/2 cup cashews
1/2 cup light olive oil
2/3 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon-optional
1 cup dried cherries
1 cup dried cranberries or raisins
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Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Toss the oats, coconut,almonds and cinnamon (if using)together in a large bowl. Whisk together the oil and honey in a small bowl. Pour the liquids over the oat mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until all the oats and nuts are coated. Pour onto a 13 by 18 by 1-inch sheet pan. Bake, stirring occasionally with a spatula, until the mixture turns a nice, even, golden brown, about 45 minutes.
Remove the granola from the oven and allow to cool, stirring occasionally. Add cherries, cranberries, and cashews. Store the cooled granola in an airtight container.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Sunday, March 22, 2009

NO PUDGE TYPE ORIGINAL FUDGE BROWNIE MIX


I have been experiencing computer problems so my posts have been few and far in-between. I apologize for that and hope to have things running smoothly before long and be back to posting on a close to daily basis.
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Rather than spend a fortune for the convience of a mix, with this recipe you can still have the ease of a mix and save money. Mix up several batches and store in zip top plastic bags or any other air tight container you may have and just whip up a batch of this popular brownie mix in minutes.
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If you would rather mix them up fresh, no problem just put toger the dry ingredients, go ahead and use fresh egg whites and follow the directions to complete.
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No Pudge Type Original Fat Free Brownie Mix
Makes 1 batch mix
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1 cup bakers sugar
1/3 cup cake flour
1/3 cup white wheat flour
2 tablespoon all purpose flour
1/2 cup Ghiradelli unsweetened cocoa
2 Tablespoons Just Whites (equalivent to 2 egg whites)
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon wheat gluten
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
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Mix together dry ingredients. Store in covered container.
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To make Brownies with mix:
1 batch No pudge fat free original Fudge Brownie Mix
2/3 C nonfat plain yogurt
1 tsp vanilla extract
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Directions
Spray 8x8 pan with cooking spray.
Add yogurt and vanilla to brownie mix.
Mix until incorporated and then an additional minute until smooth and shiny. Pour into prepared pan and bake 34 minutes.
Enjoy, guilt-free.
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Variations
To make Chocolate Mint Brownies add 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract on place of vanilla extract.
To make Chocolate Raspberry Browines, make brownies as directed, after adding yogurt stir in 1/3 cup seedless raspberry jam to batter.
To make Chocolate Cappuccino Brownies, dissolve 2 1/4 teaspoons instant expresso powder in 1/2 tablespoon boiling water to batter after adding yogurt.

Monday, March 9, 2009

HOMEMADE MAPLE PANCAKE SYRUP

If you used Maple Syrup use 2 Tablespoons-1/4 cup for flavor in your homemade syrup. This will stretch that pricey maple syrup.
Of course this isn't as good as using real maple syrup, but it is easy and good.
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Homemade Maple Syrup
1 Cup light corn syrup (this is not the same as the bad stuff, high fructose corn syrup)1/2 Cup brown sugar (packed)
1/2 cup water
1 Tablespoon butter
1/2-1 Teaspoon natural maple flavoring (your taste)
OR
2 Tablespoons- 1/4 cup Real Maple Syrup
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Mix corn syrup, brown sugar and water together in a saucepan. Cook and stir until sugar is completely dissolved.Add maple flavoring or real maple syrup. Add butter, stir to melt. Serve warm or coldStore covered in refrigerator.

TIP O' THE WEEK #2 START A VEGETABLE GARDEN



Tip O' The Week #2
Start a vegetable garden.
It's fun, it's easy and it's healthy.
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With current food prices, the economic down turn and the need for good quality, safe, good tasting vegetables more people are turning to vegetable gardening. Many plants will need to be started with transplants that you start indoors, in late winter early spring or purchase from a local nursery or garden center. Listed below are some of the easier vegetable to grow.

Start planning your garden now, if you haven't already started
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Broccoli-start from transplants: Early Spring. Cool season plant. Good choice for fall planting.

Cabbage-start from transplants: Early Spring. Cool season plant. Good choice for fall planting.

Cucumbers-start from transplants or direct seed if you have a long growing season: Warm season plant. Bush varieties will take less space in your garden.

Green Beans-Bush direct seed: Late Spring Early Summer. Warm season plant. Bush beans are very easy to grow and prolific. Keep beens picks to keep your plants productive.

Lettuce-start from transplant or direct seed: Cool season plant. Easy to grow. Harvest before the heat of summer. The heat will cause your lettuce to be bitter and will cause the plants to go to seed. Good to grow in fall. Leaf lettuce matures quickly and will keep regrowing if you cut your leaf lettuce down to about 1 inch from the soil.

Onions-start from transplants, sets or direct seed for green onions Cool season plant. Plant in early spring for best results.

Peppers-start from transplants: Warm season plant.

Radish-direct seed: Cool season plant. Easy to grow and average radish matures in about 22-29 days. Good choice for fall planting.

Tomato-start from transplants: Warm season plant. Be sure to use tomato cages or orther support.

Great books for vegetable gardening
Wide row gardening. Expert gardening tips from Dick Raymond
Mel Barthalomew's guide to easy gardening in smaller areas.
The "Bible" of Western gardening

Here are a few links to University Extension Sites. They are safe sites, usually no ads and are a wealth of gradening information.

WEST VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY Container gardening
PENN STATE

MORE GOOD SITES:

THE VEGETABLE GARDEN Links state by state extension services and planting guides by state.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

HOMEMADE PANCAKES

Aunt Jemina scoot over. The other day in the grocery store I overheard a young couple, walking down through the baking mixes aisle. The young man mentioned to his female companion that his grandmother made her pancakes from scratch. The female couldn't believe it and asked how could she do this. The male said almost as astonished as she sounded, "I don't know, and she also makes her own syrup". The female was totally shocked at this and asked "how is it possible to make syrup". This is no joke. It really happened and the conversation went exactly as noted .
Pancakes are one of the easiest things to make. We have been making this recipe nearly every Saturday morning for over 20 years.
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A few things to keep in mind...
1.) If you want fluffy thick pancakes add the larger amount of baking powder and the lesser amount of milk.
2.) Flours ability to absorb liquid depends on the age of your flour, how it was stored and weather conditions so the amount of milk may vary.
3.) Most importantly...MAKE SURE YOUR BAKING POWDER IS FRESH. Check the date on the bottom of your can.

Dad's Pancakes
1-¼ Cup flour
1 Teaspoon baking powder
1 Teaspoon sugar
2 eggs
1-¼ Cup milk-approx
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil (Olive oil is best)
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Mix dry ingredients together in bowl.
Mix egg and oil in measuring cup, add milk to measure approximately
1- ¼ cups.
Add egg/milk mixture to dry ingredients. DO NOT OVER MIX. It is ok to have some lumps.
Spoon ¼ - ½ cup batter onto hot buttered griddle or hot skillet.
Let cook until top side is covered in LOTS of bubbles.
Turn and cook short time on reverse side.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

MCDONALD'S® SHAMROCK SHAKE

The food color is just for looks, so if you don't have it, you won't miss it.
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McDonald's® Shamrock Shake
2 Cups vanilla ice cream
1-1/4 Cups low fat milk
1/4 Teaspoon mint extract (not peppermint)
8 Drops green food coloring
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Using a blender mix all ingredients on high speed until smooth. If necessary, stop blending to stir ingredients and blend again briefly to insure ingredients combine well.
Makes 2 shakes

Friday, March 6, 2009

STARBUCKS® TAZO® CHAI LATTE


You'll save on the cost of your whole spices if you purchase them from the bulk spices in the natural foods section of you local supermarket. Plus you'll only have to buy what you will use.
Starbucks® Tazo® Chai Tea
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2-1/2 Cups water
6-8 green cardamom pods
2 whole black peppercorns
1-2 Slice fresh ginger, peeled and diced
2 sticks cinnamon
1-2 cloves
2/3 Cup milk
4 Teaspoons honey
2-3 Teaspoons loose black tea
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Put the water in a saucepan, add the spices, and bring to a boil.
Turn down the heat and let simmer for 5 to 10 minutes. Add milk and sugar and bring to a heavy simmer.
Add tea, turn off the heat, and let infuse for three minutes. Strain into two cups and serve hot.
Servings: 4

Thursday, March 5, 2009

KRAFT® SHAKE'N BAKE®


This recipe will coat approximately 2 1/2 lb. of bone-in chicken (6 to 8 pieces) or 2 lb. boneless skinless chicken breast halves.

Kraft® Shake'n Bake®
1/2 Cup Kellogg’s® Corn Flake® crumbs, pulverized in a blender (you'll need about 2 cupswhole corn flakes)
1½ Tablespoons Bisquick®
1 Teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon sugar
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon onion powder
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Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and stir to combine.

To Use:
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees, then moisten (lightly) the chicken with water. Use a large plastic bag for the coating.

Shake moistened chicken, 1 to 2 pieces at a time, in shaker bag with coating mixture. Discard any remaining mixture and bag. Bake at 400 degrees in ungreased or foil-lined 15x10x1-inch baking pan until cooked through. Bone-in Chicken: 45 minutes Boneless Chicken : 20 minutes

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

HOMEMADE CINNAMON SUGAR


If you are paying 2.44 or more for 3.62 ounce of cinnamon sugar you could really use this simple recipe. If you make your own cinnamon sugar you will save a boat load. One quarter cup which is 3 ounces by volume will cost about .10 to make. If you buy your cinnamon from the bulk bins in the natural foods section of your supermarket you'll save even more and only have to buy what you will use.
You can adjust the cinnamon to your own taste. I have started with an average range of cinnamon. This recipe obviously doubles, triples or quadruples easily.
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Homemade Cinnamon Sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar (cane is best)
1/2-3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
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Mix sugar cinnamon. Store in covered container of if you have a clean, emply spice jar that would be perfect.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

CARIBOU COFFEE'S HOT APPLE BLAST


Caribou Coffee's Hot Apple Blast
Courtesy of: Chef Robert the Roastmaster--Caribou Coffee
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2 oz. cinnamon flavored syrup
4 oz. caramel flavored syrup
14 oz. apple cider
whip cream
cinnamon
graham cracker
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Pour syrups and apple cider into a saucepan at medium heat. Stir gently.
When warmed to desired temperature, pour in a mug and top with whip cream, a sprinkle of cinnamon and a square of graham cracker.
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OPTIONAL: If you love things "goey", omit the cinnamon and try topping whipped cream with drizzled caramel sauce.

Monday, March 2, 2009

TACO BELL® TACO! SEASONING MIX


Taco Bell® Taco! Seasoning Mix
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2 Tablespoons flour
2 Teaspoons chili powder
1-1/2 Teaspoons dried minced onion
1-1/4 Teaspoons salt
1 Teaspoon paprika
3/4 Teaspoon crushed beef bullion cube
1/4 Teaspoon sugar
1/4 Teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 Teaspoon garlic powder
Dash onion powder
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Combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl. Store in air-tight covered container if not using right away.
To prepare tacos:
BROWN approximately 1 lb ground beef; drain.
ADD seasoning mix and 3/4 cup of water.
BRING to a boil; reduce heat. Simmer uncovered, 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
HEAT taco shells or tortillas as directed on package.
SERVE bowls of seasoned ground beef, lettuce, tomato and cheese. Makes 12 tacos.

TIP O' THE WEEK #1 ANTI-SPYWARE


MONDAY'S TIP O' THE WEEK
Protect yourself against spyware.
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Keep your computer running smoothly. SPYBOT SEACH AND DESTROY. Spybot is a safe and smart download if you haven't already used this excellent anti- spyware/anit-virus application. It is free, but you can make a donation, for the cause.
I have used it for years and recommend it to everyone.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

HOMEMADE ALL-PURPOSE CLEANER


This will cost you under .50 to make per bottle (if you already have the trigger spray bottle) versus the name brand at $3.00-$4.00 per bottle.
You can pick up trigger spray bottles at Wal-Mart or Target for around 2.99 for a 2-pack. Dollor Store and Dollar General often have the bottles for less.
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All-purpose cleaner (like 409 or Fantastik)
16 oz trigger spray bottle
2 Tablespoons distilled vinegar
1 teaspoon of borax
Water (use distilled water if you have hard water)1/8 of a cup of mild liquid dish soap (ivory, palmolive,etc)
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Combine vinegar and borax with 1 cup of hot water, stirring until dissolved. Cool mixture and then poor into your spray bottle. Add enough water to the bottle leaving room for your dishwashing detergent. Then add the liquid soap.

Friday, February 27, 2009

HOMEMADE ESPRESSO DRINKS


This is from Meemo's Kitchen

You can make double strength coffee
if you don't have an espresso machine

Make Espresso Drinks At Home

You will need:
*An Espresso Machine.
Any espresso machine will work. Quality matters, and quality comes with a price. If this is something you are doing for fun then any machine will work.

*Espresso coffee, ground for an espresso machine. Starbucks sells espresso and they will grind it for you.

*Milk, your choice, whole, skim, 2%, soy

*A pitcher to steam milk

*Thermometer

*Spoon

*Flavored syrups

*Mocha powder

Starbucks sells their mocha powder around the holidays. It isn't the same stuff they use though. You can get actual bags of Mocha Powder on e-bay.

*Caramel Sauce

*Whipped Cream

*Assorted Coffee Sprinkles, Cinnamon, Nutmeg (optional)

*Hot/Cold Cups

*Lids

*Straws
You can buy the hot cups/cold cups, lids and straws from any bulk store like Costco if you prefer these to real cups.

Tips for Making Great Coffee Use the right proportion of coffee to water. Use two tablespoons of ground coffee (10 grams) for each six fluid ounces (180 milliliters) of water. If coffee brewed this way is too strong add a little hot water to your cup of brewed coffee. The shorter the brewing process, the finer the grind.

Coffee ground for an espresso machine should be very fine, the brew cycle is only 19 to 22 seconds long. With a coffee press, the coffee should be coarse ground. The water and coffee are in direct contact for about four minutes.

Use fresh, cold water heated to just off the boil A cup of coffee is 98 percent water. Your water should be clean, fresh, and free of impurities. Water heated to just before a boil (195° to 205° F or 90° to 96° C) is perfect for extracting the coffee's flavor.

Use freshly ground coffee. Store coffee in an opaque, airtight container at room temperature. For the best results, coffee should be ground just before brewing. Whole bean coffee stays fresh longer because there is less surface area exposed to oxygen.

Steaming Milk and Making Foam
The instruction will vary depending on your espresso machine. Be sure you know how to use your espresso machine and how to turn your steam wand on and off.

*Pour milk into pitcher, leave about 3 inches room at top for foam.
*Place thermometer in pitcher.
*Place end of steam wand so that tip will be completely submerged in the milk.
*Turn steam wand on.
* Keep the steam wand near the bottom of the pitcher until the thermometer reads around 120 degrees (Fahrenheit).
* Pull the pitcher down so that the tip of the steam wand is very close to the surface of the milk. It should start to make a frothing noise- this means it is making foam.
* When the thermometer reads 160 degrees, shut the steam wand off.
* Let the milk cool and separate for 30 seconds before pouring.
*If you are making a cappuccino, or if you like extra foam on your lattes, leave extra room in the pitcher and keep the wand near the surface of the milk longer.

*Tip: Thoroughly clean off your steam wand after every use.

The Espresso Drinks
The following recipes call for a 16 ounce cup. If you are using a 12 ounce or smaller cup, use 1 ounce of espresso.

Latte
Steam milk
Brew 2 ounces of espresso
Pour espresso into cup.
Fill ¾ of the cup with steamed milk
Fill remainder with foam

*Tip: For extra flavor, sprinkle with cinnamon or nutmeg; or top it with whipped cream.

Vanilla Latte
Steam milk
Brew 2 ounces of espresso
Pour espresso into cup
Pour 3 teaspoons of vanilla syrup into cup
Fill ¾ of the cup with steamed milk
Fill remainder with foam

*There is less foam in a Latte than a Cappuccino

Cappuccino
Steam milk
Brew 2 ounces of espresso
Pour espresso into cup
Fill cup halfway with steamed milk
Fill remainder with foam

*Cappuccino has more foam than a Latte

Caramel Macchiato
Steam milk
Brew 2 ounces of espresso
Pour 2 teaspoons of vanilla syrup into cup
Fill ¾ of the cup with steamed milk
Place a dollop of foam on top of milk
Pour espresso over foam
Top with swirls of caramel sauce

*The espresso goes on top of the foam in a Caramel Macchiato.

Café Mocha
Steam milk
Brew 2 ounces of espresso
Pour espresso into cup
Pour 3 teaspoons of mocha powder into cup
Fill ¾ of cup with steamed milk
Top off with foam or whipped cream

Hot Chocolate
Steam milk
Pour 3 teaspoons of mocha powder into cup
Pour 2 teaspoons of vanilla syrup into cup
Fill cup ¾ with steamed milk
Top off with whipped cream or foam

ICED DRINKS Using any of the above recipes, fill cup with cold milk and ice in place of the steamed milk and foam.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

HOMEMADE WINDOW CLEANER


This recipe will clean your windows, glass and chrome just as well as that popular national brand at just a fraction of the cost of the brand name product.

Homemade Window Cleaner

1 cup rubbing alcohol
1 cup water
1 tablespoon vinegar
1-2 drops blue or green food color-optional

Mix all ingredients together and pour into a spray bottle. Add a couple of drops of color and shake to make it look more than that well known national brand.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

MONEY SAVING LINKS


The following links are to some pretty good coupon sites. You may have to register (I know for sure Mommy
Saves Bigs requires registration)but I have not had a problem with unwanted email from any of the sites below.
Keep in mind that not all Super Markets take on-line coupons. They do out in the boonies where I live so it shouldn't be that much of an issue. If in doubt check with your store first.
You'll just need a printer for the grocery coupons. Others like at PromotionalCode.Com provide a code to use. This is great for on-line purchases and I have used these codes many time for Barnes and Noble on line with great success.
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MommySavesBig has coupons for Ruby Tuesday, Coke products, Ann Taylor, Borders and Old Navy to name a few.
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Link
Coupons.com this site has grocery and sundries coupons. Current sample deal: $1.00 off any size (except 20 and 25 ft) Reynos Wrap Foil. Sample Deal:$2.00 Off Any Neutrogena Therapeutic Haircare Product and much more.
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Coupon Cabin has discount codes for on-line purchase at well known stores such as Target, JC Penney and more. Also to many on-line retailers, like Zappo's and Overstock.com.
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PromotionalCodes.Com offers discount codes on on vacations, cellular service, Norton, 1-800-Flowers and much more.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

GREEN GIANT NIBLETS CORN IN BUTTER SAUCE

The economy is going to "heck" in a handbasket and I don't claim to be able to change that through this blog, but I hope to share ideas that will help others save a little money and make things a little bit better until we our back on the road to economic recovery.

There is always that little something that is a mini luxury to someone. That idea may seem silly or strange to others, but not for the person who finds it their indulgence. For me it was
Green Giant Niblets Corn in Butter Sauce. Most trips to the grocery store found me picking up the plain old bag of frozen corn, but when I needed an easy pick-me up I would grab a package of the frozen corn in butter sauce. Now I wonder what was so fasinating about this frozen corn.
Here is the recipe to make your own Corn in Butter Sauce.

Green Giant Niblets Corn in Butter Sauce
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1 bag frozen corn (yellow or shoepeg white - (16 ounces) any brand)
1 Teaspoon salt
1/4 Cup butter - cut up
1/2 Teaspoon sugar
1/2 Cup water
3/4 Teaspoon cornstarch
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Add corn to large sauce pan along with all ingredients except water and cornstarch. Stir corn mixture over medium heat until butter is melted.
Combine water and cornstarch and stir until cornstarch is disolved. Slowly add water to corn in sauce pan, stirring constantly.
Reduce heat to simmer and stir until sauce thickens. Let simmer, stirring occasionally, until corn is tender, about 10 minutes.
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Servings: 4