Sunday, January 31, 2010

Recipe: Spinach and Brocolli Salad

This recipe comes from my friend Sarah. She brought it, along with the salad, to our MOMS Club recipe exchange last month. It was so refreshing to eat a salad when it was freezing cold outside. This salad combines many of my favourite veggies and the sauce is nice and light. I'm going to make this today as brocolli was only $0.99 cents a head at the grocery store this week.


2 medium bunches of brocolli, cut into 6 cups florets
4 cups loosely packed spinach leaves
8 oz. cooked or crumbled bacon
1 cup (or less) red onion cut into strips
1/4 cup raisins
1 cup mayo
2 Tablespoons sugar
2 Tablespoons vinegar

Mix mayo, sugar and vinegar, pour over salad and mix well. Refrigerate 1-2 hours.


Friday, January 29, 2010

Frugal Friday: Ham & Cheddar in a Loaf

My husband likes to call this meal "Hot Pockets". It is similar but tastier as the crust is crunchy and the sauce inside is much better. Some day, I'll try diving the dough and making smaller versions and freezing them in individual servings.

Instead of a frozen pizza crust, I made mine in the bread machine using this recipe from my cookbook "The Bread Machine Baker" by Elizabeth M. Harbison, page 118.

3 Tablespoons Bread Machine Yeast
3 cups bread flour
1 Tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 cup water
2 Tablespoons olive oil

Select "dough" or "manual" mode on your bread machine.

Add ingredients in the order listed and push "start".

This makes two 9" pizzas. Freeze them, or top and bake at 475 degrees for 12-15 minutes, or until cheese is melted and bubbly and the crust is lightly browned.

I brought this to a MOMS Club event where we host a recpie exchange. It was a big hit even though the center dough didn't cook quiet enough, but many of the moms said that's what they liked about it. I guess mom's are big kids too ;) I only baked it at 350 degrees so that's probably why the center didn't cook as well as it should have. I also could've divided the dough in half and made 2 of these instead of one huge loaf.

The recipe comes from the Kraft Canada website here or you can print a .pdf copy here. It's so easy to make that it's listed as a recipe your kids aged 10-12 can make.

Sharing this recipe over at Frugal Friday today at Life As Mom. Read everyone's shared tips along with how FishMama saved over $15,000 on a bigger mini van!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

WFMW: Thrift Shoppin' for Vintage Books

I love thrift store shopping, especially when I find vintage books in good shape. Yesterday I found a bunch! On Tuesdays this shop has half price books so I got all of these, plus another Groovy Girl doll for daughter for only $1.58!!! They don't even make those dolls anymore and she was only 50 cents!

This really Works for Me! Check out over 118 tips submitted today by others on this week's Works for Me Wednesday over at We are THAT Family.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Recipe: No Bake Chocolate Macaroons

I love church cookbooks and have many in my cupboard. This one is called "Seasonal Sensations" and was compiled by the St. Joseph Ladies' Guild in Shawnee, KS published in 1991. This recipe can be found on page 59. I was looking for a no-bake cookie recipe as my oven desperately needs to be cleaned :(

1 stick margarine (I used real unsalted butter)
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup cocoa
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup peanut butter
3 cups quick oats (I used 4 cups)

Boil margarine (or butter), sugar, cocoa, and milk for 1 minute. Add peanut butter and oats. Stir and drop spoonfuls onto wax paper to cool (I cooled mine in the fridge).

And, of course, the dog wanted to get her apron on and help!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Martha Mondays: Maple Granola

I am taking part in Martha Mondays which is hosted by Martha and Me. This is a fun idea where each week we take turns deciding what Martha Stewart project we'd like to try out. It can be anything from a craft, a recipe, gardening - anything Martha Stewart! What a great concept and it's alot of fun trying the same thing as a group.

Last Monday's vote was by Maryann at Stirrin' It Up to try Maple Granola that was featured in Martha Stewart Living February 2010 issue, Page 24.

I had almost everything I needed to make this, with only minor substitutions. This was so simple to make but taking it out of the oven every 10 minutes for 40 minutes was kind of a pain. When it was done I made a dish of vanilla yogurt with some of our freshly cooled granola and it was good!

Maple Granola
2 cups rolled oats
1 cup dried unsweetened coconut chips (I used sweetened coconut flakes)
1 cup pecans or walnuts, quartered
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup sesame seeds (I used sunflower seeds)
1 teaspoon coarse salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 cup golden raisins (I used regular raisins)
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Mix together oats, coconut, nuts, syrup, oil, sugar, sesame seeds, salt, and nutmeg. Spread granola in an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake, stirring evering 10 minutes, for 40 minutes. Add raisins (I added mine at the beginning), and bake until granola is toasted, about 10 minutes more. Let cool completely.
MAKE AHEAD: Maple granola can be stored at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Frugal Friday: My New KitchenAid Stand Mixer

Here she is! My beautiful new KitchenAid Stand Mixer!

I have dreamed about owning one of these for years! I've always enjoyed baking and have experienced a sore arm many times from using my hand-held mixer. I'd dread Bake Sales because of the amount of time it would take to prepare anything. And now... oh the possibilities!

This summer while visiting a friend, I spotted hers in the back of her kitchen hidden from view. Gasp! I said to her "Um, can I reorganize your kitchen a bit?". How bold of me, but she thought it was great! So, the first thing I moved was her mixer to the front-and-center of the kitchen. Ahh, now that's much better ;o) She's been doing lots of baking ever since, and I got a lovely loaf of banana bread her 8 year old daughter made using it.

Why didn't I have one before now? Because they cost a fortune! I just couldn't imagine or justify spending that much on a kitchen gadget.

For Christmas my darling hubby knew I wanted one. With so many options to choose from he was a bit overwhelmed so gave me a check for one instead. He knew I could swing a deal on just about anything ;o) So, I went to Macy's, selected one, and simply couldn't walk out of the store paying the full price of $300!

Then, I turned to my trusty deal-getter Craig's List! There's always someone selling their stand mixer on Craig's List. I saw lots advertised as NIB (new in box) but I didn't trust that they weren't stolen from somewhere. Prices for mixers on Craig's List ranged from $140 to $300. I wanted an odd colour though - cobalt blue - to go with my kitchen. So, I waited. Our local Walmart had 4 Quart White mixers for $199, Sam's Club $270 for White or Black, $290 for the Cobalt Blue. But, I waited and was patient. Taking my time until I saw what I wanted on Craig's List.

Then, there it was for $200 the exact colour and model I wanted. But it was over an hour's drive away. So I sent an email asking if they'd meet me halfway. Whoo-hoo! They said yes and now I have it! For only $200 with the beater, whip, hook, and grinder attachments!

It's been on my counter for over 2 weeks now as I was scared to death to use it! What if it doesn't work! What if I break it? So, last night I finally broke down and made a banana cake using this lovely recipe from Pamela Donnis and it worked great!

This mixer is going to have me baking my face off! I can see it now, cookies by the dozens, cakes for birthdays, sweets for the teachers, I'll be bringing baked goods to everything!

Now that I have my heart fluttering just talking about it.. I must finish my post and go bake something ;o) Happily submitted to Frugal Friday over at Life As Mom.

Oh, and go check out your local Craig's List. Always meet the buyer in a public place and enjoy the sweet deals!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Recipe: Pork Roast with Apples (Slow Cooker)

I stumbled across this recipe yesterday around 4pm. I was frantically looking for a recipe for supper as I bought a Pork Sirloin Roast on sale that I wanted to cook.

Buying this went against the Eat-From-The-Pantry Challenge as I'm only supposed to eat out of my freezer this month. I was, honestly, just too lazy to defrost something and saw the roast on sale for only $2.43!! I was disciplined enough to skip over the other wonderful meat sales and managed to get only one thing. This, my friends, is a success for me! My deep freeze is always bursting with meat because every time I go to Price Chopper they have some reduced for quick sale. My lesson learned must be to stop buying until I finish what's in my freezer... especially when I already have a pork roast in there waiting to be eaten (ahem).

So, about this incredible recipe I found yesterday. This comes from a post over at Lucy's Kitchen - Crockpot Pot Roast. I love this blog as she has lots of pictures and she must cook like a fiend as she's got a ton a recipe's and they're all well organized and easy to search through.

I was a little reluctant to try this recipe at first as it was already 4pm and it's supposed to be made in a slow cooker for 6-8 hours. My roast was only 1.44lbs so I went for it and hoped for the best. Roasting it for 20min on 500 degrees to seal in the juices was a great idea. I think it made a big difference in the taste. Then I sliced the apples, put them in the slow cooker, added the seared roast, put thinly sliced white onions on top, then the sauce. I put my slow cooker on high and let it cook from 5-7pm. At 7pm I inserted a thermometer and couldn't believe it read 170 degrees -done!

This was good enough for a Sunday dinner or for very special company. I told my hubby that he should feel so lucky for having such a fancy meal on a Wednesday night! Like Lucy said in her post, I do think this is the best pork roast I've ever had!


2-3lb Pork Roast (mine was 1.44lb Pork Sirloin Roast)
4 apples, peeled, cored and chopped (I used Johnathan apples)
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced (I used white onion)
3 Tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup applesauce
1/2 cup apple juice

~ Trim excess fat from roast and season with salt and pepper. Preheat over to 500 degrees and cook for 20min. to seal in juices.
~ Spray bottom of slow cooker and add chopped apples.
~ In a small bowl, mix brown sugar, ground ginger, cinnamon, applesauce and apple juice. Set aside.
~ Chop onion and set aside.
~ Place roasted Pork Roast on top of apples, top with onions and sauce.
~ Cook on Low 6-8 hours until internal temperature reaches 170 degrees. (My 1.44lb roast cooked 2 hours on high and was done).

RECIPE UPDATE 13-March-2010 ~ I peeled then cut-up sweet potatoes and added these on top of the apples, then put the pork roast on top.  It was delicious and made for a heartier meal.

Printable Recipe

This would've been good served with peas or a side salad. We have no leftovers and ate the whole thing!
Happily submitted to the Ultimate Recipe Swap at Life As Mom where the Eat-From-The-Pantry Challenge continues! Go see what everyone is cooking!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Recipe: Chocolate Cinnamon Scones

I'm on a real kick here lately making scones :) Our daughter loves them and it's exciting to try variations of a recipe once you find one that works.

These scones weren't as good as the Cinnamon Chip Scones I made in December. The weren't as moist. The cinnamon in these is very very good and the chocolate chips add a bit of chewiness.
These were easy to make, however, the dough was very sticky which made it difficult to knead. I had to add lots of flour while kneading which helped.
This recipe come from the McCormick's website which has lots of yummy recipes to try, along with information on the health benefits of their various spices.

I melted dark chocolate chips to drizzle on top of the scones. I quickly realized I had no idea how to drizzle ;o) It was more like globs on top instead of drizzles. The extra chocolate does taste really good though. I also used dark chocolate chips in the scones instead of the semi-sweet chopped baking chocolate as called for in the recipe.

I'm looking for an Apple Cinnamon scone recipe now. This is the kind my daughter loves to get when she has breakfast at school. Hey, scones I make gotta be better than the school cafeteria's, eh?

If anyone has a good scone recipe for me to try, please link it in the comments below.

Happily submitted to Works for Me Wednesday over at We Are THAT Family. Check out the Lego necklace that she made for her son - so cool!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Recipe: Rosemary-Baked Chicken and Potatoes

I found this recipe this summer in the Kansas City Star and it's become one of our family's favourites.

It's so easy to prepare this and the house smells like heaven while it's cooking. You can use any cut of chicken really, but we prefer thighs or legs.

You can cook the chicken and potatoes on two different cookie sheets if you don't have one big enough. I used fresh Rosemary from one of my herb plants in my kitchen.

Here's the link to the recipe on the McCormick's website. I love this website for great recipes.

Monday, January 18, 2010

2010 Winter Olympics Schedule

The excitement begins Feb 12th!!!

Exclusive Summer Olympics news & widgets at NBC!

Eat From the Pantry Update Week 3

This has been a great challenge to participate in. So far, I've spent about $230.00 in groceries this month. That is for food only and doesn't count the laundry, dish soap and goodies for our adopted soldier, Anita, in Iraq (

There's still plenty of meat left in our freezer and deep freeze. So much, that I could continue this challenge into February, maybe even March!

Here's some of the recipes of what I made from meat I had in the deep freeze:
- Savoury Pork Stew (absolutely loved this first-time recipe)
- Homemade Pizza (our MOMS Club hosts a monthly "Make&Take" pizza night)
- Slow Cooked Chicken Taco Soup (I made it too hot & froze 2 huge Ziploc bags of leftovers)
- Slow Cooked Baked Beans (were a little dry, froze 1 huge Ziploc bag of leftovers)
- Slow Cooked Sweet & Sour Turkey Wings (loved this first-time recipe)
- Slow Cooked Pot Roast (using 1 can French Onion Soup & 1 can Cream of Mushroom - heaven)

I haven't done much baking as our troop's Girl Scout cookies are in and it's filled our cookie jar. I'm sure we've eaten as many as we've sold - save me! I'm going to thank my Brownie Troop for all their hard work by making them Nutty Chocolate Delight using Girl Scout Shortbread Cookies.

We have been busy the last couple weeks running errands. After all the cold, snow and ice here it was nice to get out of the house. This did, however, lead us to a few stops at McDonald's which probably adds an extra $30.00 onto what I spent on food this month.

For our daughter's packed-lunch it's been sandwiches made with homemade bread, with fruit, Girl Scout cookies and a drink. We follow the Waste-Free-Lunches model by not producing any garbage when she brings a lunch to school. For breakfast she's been eating banana bread that her friend made for our family and it's delicious! I must get the recipe from her as it has a yummy cinnamon-sugar topping.


- Honey-Banana Bread

- Homemade Bread (for our MOMS Club Soup & Salad Recipe Exchange)

- Nutty Chocolate Delight (for my Girl Scout troop)

- Rosemary Baked Chicken with Potatoes (one of our family's favourites)

- Ham & Cheddar in a Loaf (using breadmaker pizza dough)

This week I'll need to pick-up some milk, fruit and veggies but my grocery balance for the month should still be low. For more Pantry Challenge Updates, visit Life As Mom to see how the other participants are doing.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Recipe: Savory Pork Stew

June 2, 2010 Update: a better photo & I replaced the green peppers with peas - delicious!

Don't you just love it when a recipe turns out? Then, isn't it great when it turns out delicious, healthy and much better than you expected? Well this Savory Pork Stew is just that dish! This week I had already made two not-so-good dinner's with a taco soup that was too hot and slow cooker beans with not enough sauce.

The whole house smelled wonderful when it was simmering because of the herbs in the stew. When it was ready, the pork stew meat (which I took from our deep freeze per the Eat-from-the-pantry Challenge) was so tender that it fell apart when you cut into it. The sauce was delicious and not overpowering. We had bread with our meal and everyone dipped their bread in the leftover sauce at the bottom of our bowls.

I had to make a few substitutes (which can really ruin a recipe sometimes) with canned mushrooms, fresh rosemary and frozen peppers. It worked beautifully. The spagetti sauce I used was Bertolli Organic Olive Oil, Basil and Garlic.

You can find this great recipe and many more over at Taste of Home.

from Taste of Home

1 pound lean bonesless pork, cut into 1" cubes
1 cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 tsp dried rosemary, crushed
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 cup water
1 can (16 oz.) no-salt-added tomatoe sauce
2 cups sliced carrots
1 medium green pepper (or green peas), chopped
1/2 pound sliced fresh mushrooms

Place pork in a dutch oven that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Cook over medium heat until browned. Add onion, seasonings, water and tomato sauce; bring to boil.

Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 1 hour or until meat is tender. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Cover and simmer until the vegetables ae tender, about 30 minutes. Yield: 5 servings.

Printable Recipe


Thursday, January 7, 2010

Recipe: Cinnamon Nut Coffee Cake

Coffee Cake is one of my favourite treats. The nuts, the cinnamon, the texture - so good! This version is so easy and I like that it's not too thick. When you spread the batter into the 9x13 pan you'll think "is this enough?" but it spreads nicely and turns out lean and delicious. As Grandma was visiting and on her special diet, I made mine without the crumble topping and it was still very good.

This recipe comes from my Taste of Home Holiday Recipe Card Collection 2009 magazine. I must have 20+ recipes flagged to try out in the magazine!


1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup btter, softened
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
2 to 3 tsp ground cinnamon
2 Tbsp butter, melted

In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. In a small bowl, whisk the butter, eggs, milk and vanilla. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened, set aside. In a small bowl, combine topping ingredients.

Spread half of batter into greased 13x9" baking dish. Sprinkle with half of the topping. Carefully spread the remaining batter over top; sprinkle batter with the remaining topping.

Bake at 375 for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Serve warm. Yield: 12-15 servings.

To freeze coffee cake: Cut into serving-sized pieces and freeze in Ziploc Double Zipper Freezer Bags.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Eat-From-The-Pantry Challenge

Happy New Year Everyone!
This year my goal is to spend less on groceries and to do more meal planning. I really have no idea what we currently spend on groceries and never meal plan so my goal shouldn't be difficult to achieve. I know our pantry is packed full and so is our freezer so there should be no good reason for me to spend alot at the grocery store.

In the spirit of this New Year's Goal I've decided to join the Eat-From-The-Pantry Challenge over at Life As Mom and Money Saving Mom. It sounds straight forward and I've even convinced my husband that this will be a good idea (not always easy as he loves to grocery shop as much as me).

Yesterday I inventoried what we had in our deep-freezer. It was freeezing in the garage so I didn't have to worry about having it open while I inventoried. I had no idea we had so much meat in there!

After I made a list of all I had in the deep freezer, I went through my recipes to match-up what I could make then attached those recpies to the back of my list. This way, I have all my recipes on-hand when deciding what to make for dinner.

The next step, ideally, would be to create a weekly meal plan based on this list. I haven't gotten there yet, but I think I'm off to a good start!

So far this month I've spent $78.00 on groceries (+ $4.00 for clementines at Walmart) and should only need to pick-up milk and coffee to get us through the month.

How about you? If this sounds like a challenge you'd like to do or to read other participants updates, pop over to Life As Mom or Money Saving Mom and join in the fun!

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