Archive for the ‘money saving’ Category

Apples, apples, apples…

It’s fall!  The leaves are a beautiful array of colors and apples are plentiful.  This means apples are usually on sale in most grocery stores and being the ever diligent budget minded person I am, I start thinking of ways to use them in our meals.  Besides snacking, there are numerous recipes using apples.  I found a couple of great recipes online and thought I’d share.  Both were easy to make and tasted wonderful!

As usual, even though most recipes are probably fine, I’ve gotta make some adjustments.  I’ll be sure to include the things I changed or found might work better.  This past Saturday, I made some delicious apple scones.  This is the first time I’ve made scones, but they turned out to be easy to make.  The recipe for Fresh Apple Cinnamon Scones can be found over at the King Arthur Flour site.

Instead of the all-purpose flour, I used fresh ground whole wheat flour.  I did not use cinnamon chips as I didn’t have any, so I just left those out and didn’t do a substitution.  The only other change to the recipe ingredients I did, was I used regular sugar to make the topping for sprinkling on the dough.  They still tasted good, but I think the coarse sugar would have made them look prettier.

Other than those few changes, I followed the rest of the recipe exactly.  The only thing I believe I’d do different next time would be to chill the dough in the freezer for 30 minutes before cutting it in wedges.  I think it would have made that step easier, because I found it a little difficult to slide the wedges apart so there was 1/2 inch in between each piece.  Everyone loved these and I even ate a couple another day with a glass of milk for breakfast.

The other thing I love is these can be frozen in dough form and baked when you’re ready.  I read about it in the comment section below the recipe.  The recipe makes two rounds, so you could always bake one and save the other for another day.  Freezing this recipe would make it real convenient to have something fresh baked for breakfast, dessert, or a tasty treat for surprise company.  Here are some pictures(you can see the bit of a mess I made pulling apart the wedges) :

Scone Dough Shaped in a Circle

Scone Dough Shaped in a Circle

Scone Dough Divided Into Wedges

Scone Dough Divided Into Wedges

Finished Scones Ready for Eating

Finished Scones Ready for Eating

Yesterday, I made a tasty and nutritious apple cranberry crisp.   I was a little hesitant about the recipe I found.  It is a light recipe and did not use butter, so I wasn’t sure how it was going to taste.  I’m a firm believer in using butter in baking, but as I was out of butter I decided to give it a try.  The recipe can be found over at My Recipes for the Apple-Cranberry Crisp.

Now for the changes, you knew they were coming. 🙂  I added 3/4 cup of crushed pineapple drained, which I mixed in with the other fruit.  I sprinkled a tablespoon of lemon juice over the apples after I cut them up.  Lastly, I sprinkled about 1/2 teaspoon of fresh ground cinnamon on top.  The only reason I put the cinnamon on top is because I forgot to add it into the oat and brown sugar mix which gets sprinkled on top of the apple mix.

This recipe is another winner, despite my initial hesitations.  It tasted so good, I did not miss the butter.  The other plus of this recipe is it has a lot less sugar than crisp I have made in the past.  On the down side, this can make it a little more runnier than I’m used to.   I briefly thought about trying to add a little cornstarch next time, but then quickly dismissed the idea as this was so good there was nothing left after breakfast the next day.  I will make this again.

Apple-Cranberry Crisp

Apple-Cranberry Crisp

Hope you enjoy the recipes and get inspired to make something delicious with apples… 🙂

Whole Wheat Banana Oat Muffins

Yesterday I had some over ripe bananas sitting on the kitchen table just beckoning to be made into something.  I decided last night, I would make some muffins this morning.  Well, I searched around looking for recipes and ending up having fun experimenting.

Not all of my kitchen experiments turn out well, but this one is a keeper.  The muffins turned out moist, sweet enough, and held together well.  Of course, tasted great too or it wouldn’t be a keeper.  On the plus side, these are healthier than my usual muffins.

Whole Wheat Banana Oat Muffins

Whole Wheat Banana Oat Muffins

Whole Wheat Banana Oat Muffins

Ingredients :

  • 1 c. whole wheat flour
  • 1 c. whole oats
  • 1/4 c. flaxseed meal
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 Tbsp. melted butter
  • 4 Tbsp. unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 c. agave nectar
  • 2 mashed bananas
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 c. milk

Combine all the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.  Melt the butter in the microwave or in a pot on the stove.  Add the melted butter, applesauce, agave nectar, and milk in the bowl.  Do not stir just yet.  In a separate bowl mash 2 over ripe bananas with a fork.  Add the 2 eggs in with the bananas and beat slightly.  Pour the banana and egg mixture into the large mixing bowl with the other ingredients.  Now, stir all the ingredients together till moistened and well blended, but do not over stir.

Prepare muffin pan by greasing cups with cooking spray or using paper muffin liners.  Fill muffin cups with batter.  Place pan in a 350 degree preheated oven and bake for 25 minutes.  Makes 1 dozen muffins.  I actually pulled my muffins out at 23 minutes as I like my baked goods a little on the lighter side.  I also used fresh ground cinnamon in the recipe, just since I had it on hand, but cinnamon powder could be used.  Also, I think the cinnamon could’ve stood to be bumped up to 1 teaspoon for more flavor.  Yum!

Hopes in Midst of Rain and Changes…

English: Hopes Reservoir The water, seen from ...

English: Hopes Reservoir The water, seen from the dam. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today has hopes of feeling like a good day.  A slow gentle rain has been falling for the last several hours.  Of course, don’t have to go water the garden today, but couldn’t resist going out there to see how things are progressing.  It’s looking nice and almost all the seeds I planted are sprouting.  Only saw one bit of deer mischief….they ate my four broccoli plants.  It’s time to get busy with my anti-deer plans.

Guess it will be one of those housework catch up days with a bit of reading and writing thrown in the mix.  Still reading a book I picked up the other day at the used bookstore, a book of Sylvia Plath‘s Journals.  Maybe I can think of something delicious to bake up.  Baking is always good to do on rainy days when you can’t really do much outdoors.  Not complaining though, we so need the rain and I wanted it for my garden.

Well in other news, my household has recently grown.  My daughter and her significant other have moved in so they can work on getting other jobs and saving up a little.  The other additions to the household include their two dogs, one of which is still a frisky little puppy.  They are almost completely done with the moving part.  Just finishing up a few odds and ends over the next couple of days.  So far, so good.

Still trying to not worry so much even though it seems like things want to start falling apart in spurts and too many changes happen at once.  If you are in need of an uplifting song, here’s Drinking From My Saucer by Michael Combs.  It’s a wonderful reminder to be grateful, which a friend shared with me.

 

 

The Plants Are Finally in The Ground!!!

The big garden was officially planted this weekend!  The babies I raised from seeds went into the ground finally.  I did pick up a few sweet bell pepper and jalapeno pepper plants at the feed store on Saturday as my bell pepper seedlings never made it.  They were a great price at $1.55 for 4 plants, which is less than 40 cents each.  I also planted seeds and can’t wait for them to come up.

The garden kind of looks straggly right now, but I have hopes it will blossom with growth in the coming months.  It’s an experimental garden in a way.  I’m playing with companion planting this year.  There are also going to be some flowers if all goes well.  The far end on the left has coneflower seeds planted and there are a couple of rows of sunflowers planted vertical to the garden on the far end.

There are still a few rows left if I think of anything else to plant in it.  I know I’d like to plant some more squash as I only had enough seed for a half a row and we like to freeze squash.  Right now I’ve been watering the garden daily in hopes of keeping the ground soft enough and the seeds moist enough to sprout.   The garden is blessed with mostly Carolina clay.

Garden

Garden

This morning I went out for my daily watering and checking things out.  I love looking for any sign of new plant growth.  So far only spotted a couple of seeds sprouting.  Most of the plants look like they’ll make it and there’s only been one tomato plant fatality so far.  The next big challenge will be attempting to deter the deer.  I love deer as long as they eat everything else and leave the garden be.

Over the next couple of days I hope to put stakes, I already have, around the garden.  I’ll use these to put twine around and dangle pie plates from to try to scare away the deer.  Maybe I’ll try to tie on some bright strips of plastic too, so they’ll blow in the wind.  I’ve also heard you can tie bits of soap around the garden to deter deer.  We’ll see how it goes.

How’s your garden growing?  Any favorite deer deterring tips? . . .

Saving Money by Couponing

Box o' coupons

Everything, including the cost of gas, seems to be rising.  Since unfortunately our income is not, I am attempting to do a better job of trying to save money.  Though I shall never manage to be one of those “extreme” coupon people, this week I did put forth a valiant effort to shop the sales and use coupons.

On Sunday I bought a newspaper and clipped coupons for items I know we use.  Later I went to two of my favorite sites to view the sales at various stores I shop at and see if there were any online coupons to print.  The two sites are http://www.southernsavers.com and http://thefrugalgirls.com.

I really love the Southern Savers site as I can check off the sale items I plan to buy at a store and the site creates a printable list.  I printed a list for each store I was planning to shop at and used a paperclip to attach the coupons to the corner of the sheet.  This method seems to keep things a bit more organized and easier to use.

My best shopping deal for the week were two non-food items at Staples, but were items we do use regularly.  I purchased a pack of copy paper and pack of photo paper, both which will end up free after rebates.  Another deal I was thrilled with, was to get several boxes of cereal for less than $1.60 per box.  This was one of those weeks there were not a whole lot of sensational coupons for items we use, but I will continue couponing and need to work on organizing the coupons for ease of sorting prior to shopping.