Monday, November 26, 2012

Pecan Pie

I love love love pecan pie during the holidays.  This pecan pie is definitely a family favorite.  The recipe I use was the recipe used by my Great Aunt Irene.  Since I first made this pie four years ago, I have gotten so many requests to prepare it again.  It has become one of my standard holiday assignment dishes.

There is nothing like a pecan pie.  It is flaky, crunchy, ooey, gooey, smooth, sweet, warm, sticky, and crisp all at once.  Just as much as eating a delicious pie though, I absolutely love the way the house smells when you are baking one of these sweet treats.  It really doesn't seem like the holiday season until you smell a pecan pie baking away in the oven.  The house smells heavenly and honey sweet.  I usually have to make to take to our family function and one for my family to devour before we can ever get out the door!

Here is what you need:
1 frozen 9" pie crust (yes, I cheat!)
1 cup white Karo syrup
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 1/2 cups pecans
3 eggs, lightly beaten
2 Tbsp butter, melted
2 Tbsp all purpose flour
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt

All you mix everthing together and put it in the pie shell.  Then bake at 300 for one hour and 20 minutes or until golden brown and the middle is set.

Here are a few notes on the ingredients.  If you want, you could also use dark Karo and light brown sugar, but I like to keep them opposites.  I use pecan halves for mine because it turns out pretty, but my mom chops hers to make it easier to cut.  Whatever your personal preference, your pie will be fantastic.  If you LOVE vanilla, amp it up a bit.  If you are like me and don't so much love could cut it back to a half tsp like I do for our in house pie.  For the pie shell, I have used frozen...I have used the precooked ones...I have used the frozen roll up ones in my own pie plate...and yes...I have even attempted making my own pie crust.  The pre-formed, frozen ones honestly do the best in my experience.  They get flaky, but don't burn on the edges as pies often do.

As far as the preparation goes, I start with my eggs in the bowl so that I can lightly beat them and then add the other ingredients....but that is just so that I don't have to wash another bowl.  That is just a tip from one tired dish washer to another though.  Everything else is exactly as easy as it sounds.

I hope you and your family enjoy this pie as much as my family does.  If you try it or have your own recipe for pecan pie let me know!  I love hearing from you. Stay tuned through the holidays and you will get the naughty version.  ;)

Friday, November 23, 2012

Melted Snowmen Ornaments

Every year, my mom and I have our friends over for what we call the Butts & Beaus is kind of an inside joke. At this gathering, I usually try to present each couple with some sort of happy.  Last year, I gave each couple a collection of jam, jelly, salsa, and preserves from my kitchen.  This year I wanted to do something that was equally as fun, but could be a keepsake.  I decided very early on that I would do a collection of ornaments.  The problem was deciding which ornaments to make first.  Really it just came to down what I had the items on hand to make.  This set of ornaments took me all of about ten minutes to make including gathering supplies.

I love the idea of the melted snowman.  After all, I do live in the deep south.  We don't get snow often, and when we do, our snowmen are dirty and pitiful.  These melty little guys are an adorable addition to any warmer climate Christmas tree.

Here is what you need:
Clear Glass Ornaments
Coarse Kosher Salt
Whole Peppercorns (five per ornament)
Scraps of Orange Paper
Ribbon of Your Choice

The first thing you want to do is just to make sure the ornament is clean and free of any debri.  Then remove the silver or gold metal cap from the top.

Once you have removed the cap, you will use your funnel to put a good amount of the kosher salt into the ornament.  I filled mine probably about a quarter full.  Then you will place five whole peppercorns into each ornament.  Two for eyes and three for buttons.  Last, you will add a triangle shaped scrap piece of paper for a nose.

Repeat for the desired number of ornaments.

Then add a length of your choice of ribbon to finish.

You are finished!  Look how adorable these melty little guys are.

I LOVE THEM!  I absolutely love them!  I can't wait to present these to my friends.  They are going to have an absolute fit.  Even my hubs had to admit their obvious cuteness.

These are super easy to make and inexpensive (especially if you have everything you need already in your house).  Salt, pepper, ribbon, and scrap paper are easy to come by.  Add some clear glass ornaments and there ya have it.

I hope you have as much fun making these as I did.  Drop me a picture of how yours turned out or tell me about making them.  I love to hear from you!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Cinnamon Roll Crescents: All the Flavor, Half the Price

Happy Thanksgiving!  I just got done making a special Thanksgiving breakfast for my crew.  I made them these cinnamon roll crescents.  My husband said these are better than cinnamon rolls, and he wants me to make these every weekend.  You women know that is a good feeling when your hubby likes something enough to want it every week!

We LOVE cinnamon rolls at my house.  When I say we love them...I mean we really love them.  In fact, when my oldest gets home and finds out we ate them without her....BIG trouble.  I don't make them very often because they aren't the healthiest thing and because they are a little pricey (unless you got the 40 cents off two coupon and hit the sale at Albertson' which case you got them for 50 cents).  The normal price of $3.75 is a little too rich for my blood.  So....what did I do?  I devised a plan using some items I already had on hand and a can of crescent rolls for $1.28.  I figure when you figure in your pennies spent of all of the ingredients, you end up at about half price.

Here is what you need:
For the rolls:
1 can refrigerated crescent rolls
4 Tbsp butter, softened but not melted
1-2 Tbsp cinnamon (depending on your taste)
2 Tbsp white sugar

For the icing:
1/4 c powdered suger
1-2 Tbsp of water
vanilla extract to taste

Got everything?  Good, let's get started...I have a pie and a casserole to bake.

Preheat your oven to 375.
Start out by unrolling and separating your rolls on a large, greased sheet pan.

Mix together the butter, cinnamon, and white sugar.  I like lots and lots of cinnamon, so I used two tablespoons.  Spread the cinnamon butter over your rolls.

Roll up your rolls to make them into crescents.

Bake for 11 minutes or until golden brown.  This will make your house smell amazing.  The ooey gooey butter and cinnamon will be oozing out all over your pan.

While those are in the oven, mix together icing ingredients in a small bowl.  I just put a drop or two of the vanilla because vanilla goes a long way, but if you love it...go crazy.

As soon as the rolls are done, take them out of the oven and drizzle them with the icing you just made.

Serve these up for a happy family.....stay tuned for an adorable wild man picture....

He loves em!....Here's another.....

He said, Cheese Momma!

I hope you and your family try these sometime and love them just as much as we do.  Have a blessed Thanksgiving.  Oh...and....Christmas time's a coming so get ready for some awesome Christmas posts!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Makeover Your Chicken Salad

I like chicken salad, but I am always experimenting with it trying to find something new to add to it to keep it exciting.  Today, I decided to makeover my standard lunch chicken salad.  Typically I use some light mayo, a little squirt of mustard, and a little bit of pickle relish.  Then I just spread it on crackers and enjoy.  Today I wanted a little different flavor.  I literally dug through all of my spice drawer and the fridge....and finally the pantry.

What I ended up doing was mixing in a tablespoon or two of this....

The result was SO YUMMY!  The Salad Toppins gave the chicken salad a little extra crunch and an awesome flavor.  I was so excited about it that I just had to tell you about it.  This particular Salad Toppins blend has bacon bits, sunflower kernels, and tons of other stuff too.

What are you waiting for?  Go pick some up and makeover your lunch!

TP Tube Turkeys

These adorable little guys are a great, quick and easy way to add a little handmade charm to your Thanksgiving table.  You can even get the kids in on the action.

Here's what you need:
toilet paper tubes (enough for the number of children you have)
Construction paper or scrapbook paper in yellow, orange, and brown (or other desired colors)
A pen
Sharpies to make the faces
Elmer's glue

Ok, so start out by tracing the hands of your little people or having them trace hands themselves if they are a little bit older. 

I have a little boy who is two and a little girl who is one, so I traced their hands for them....five points if you can accurately guess which is which....I know, right?

Go ahead and cut out the handprints or if they are old enough you can have them cut these out themselves.  I cut one handprint out of each color that I planned to use for the tail feathers.

Once you have all of the handprints cut out, arrange them in whatever order you want and fix them together with Elmer's glue.

Now you will affix the toilet paper tube to the front of the hands.  I will tell you....since our handprints were so tiny I chose to only use half of a tube per turkey, so you may want to decide whether to cut the tube in half or whether to leave it whole depending on the size of your handprints.  I also glued the part where the paper is glued to the tube down so that I didn't have to worry about any remaining pieces of toilet paper showing.

Now you are going to either let them draw their own faces with washable markers or draw faces on with Sharpies.  Since my little people are so little, I chose drawing the faces myself.  I just let them scribble their own little artwork while I did this.

Now just incorporate this into your table decor or put wherever you want to showcase your little one's "hand"-y-work. 

Did you do this with your munchkins?  Do you have another Thanksgiving TP craft to try?  Let me know about it.

Monday, November 19, 2012

My Favorite Thanksgiving Recipe: Corn Casserole

Because Thanksgiving is this week, I wanted to share my absolute favorite Thanksgiving cook AND to eat.  Corn casserole (or corn puddin' as my husband's family so lovingly calls it) is my go to recipe.  I literally always have the ingredients for this in my house with the exception of MAYBE not having sour cream on hand.  You would think people would get tired of it after a while, but year after year, people request that I make it again...and I NEVER have any left to bring home.

I am making two pans of corn casserole this week.  One for my husband to bring to work and one to bring to our family Thanksgiving lunch.  The best thing about it is you can prep it the night before and just cook the day of.  I just finished whipping up the batch for my hubby's work function and will throw it in the oven when the alarm goes off in the morning....and I will post picture then too.  :)

Ok, so here is what you'll need to make your own:

1 can whole kernal corn, drained
1 can cream style corn
1 8 oz. tub sour cream
1 box Jiffy corn muffin mix
1 egg
1/2 stick butter, melted
2 c. shredded cheddar (finely shredded does better)

Now, go get all of those things together and keep reading to see what to do with them.

Preheat your oven to 350.  Pour half of the melted butter into the bottom of a 9x13 pan making sure that the bottom of the pan is coated.  Mix corn, sour cream, muffin mix, egg, and remaining butter together and pour into your pan.  I tap my pan to settle it, but you could just as easily use a spatula or spoon to even it all out.  Now cover the whole thing in a ton of cheese....ok, so use as little or as much as you like, but we SMOTHER it.  Now bake it for 30-35 minutes until the cheese is bubbly and golden.

My hubby usually ends up with his hand popped once or twice on the way to lunch.  It truly is hard to resist.  The whole thing is just so ooey gooey cheesy creamy dreamy...yum!

Enjoy!  I hope your family has a blessed Thanksgiving!

What is your favorite holiday dish?  Let me know!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Feeding 5 under $75....I DID IT AGAIN!

We had fun and enjoyed last week's $75 grocery week.  I was sure that I wouldn't be able to do it again, but then ground beef went on sale for cheaper than we have seen it around here in a very long time! 

My mother in law and I never miss a chance to stock up with meat goes on sale at our local market.  These days, if you can find ground beef under $2, it is cause for a stock up.  My mother in law literally buys an entire cart load of meat when we find a good sale.  We had the poor little guys in the meat market hussling trying to get our orders ready.  They act like they have never seen anyone buy an entire buggy full of meat before!  In all honestly though, I love getting an excited phone call from her telling me that something is on sale.  I so enjoy spending time with her getting the most for our shopping dollar. celebration of our amazing deal, we are eating a meal with ground beef literally every night this week.  Hey, if you can get it cheap, might as well eat cheap!  There are a few more "junky" type recipes than I would normally include for a week, but these are the recipes that sounded good when I was planning.  Here are the lists of meals that we are using this week.  Some are self-explanatory...others have recipes.

Cheesy Eggs & Fruit
Toast & Jelly
Fried Bologna & Biscuits
Blueberry Grilled Cream Cheese
French Toast & Bacon
Pancakes & Fruit

Bean & Bacon Pasta
Leftover B&B Pasta
Grilled Cheese & Carrots
Cheese & Crackers & Fruit
Bologna Sandwiches & Fruit
Ravioli & Carrots
Egg Salad & Crackers

Carrots with Ranch x 2
String Cheese x 2
Apples & PB
Satsumas x 2

Stuffed Bell Peppers
Sloppy Joes & Chips
Meatloaf w/ Mashed Potatoes & Peas (meatloaf is from my freezer meals recipes)
Chili Frito Pies (chili for pies is from my freezer meals recipes)
Bowtie Lasagna
Pattie Melts
Beef Pot Pie

Anywhere that I just listed "fruit" we had Satsumas.  A family member has several satsuma trees, so we get them for free.  If you are not this fortunate, just get whatever fruit is on sale in your area or use fruit that you have canned or frozen yourself!

Here are recipes for anything that wasn't self-explanatory.....

Blueberry Grilled Cream Cheese Sandwiches (recipe for one sandwich)

two slices bread
1 Tbsp cream cheese
1 Tbsp powdered sugar
handful of fresh or frozen blueberries (i used frozen that had been collected over the summer)

Mix cream cheees and powdered sugar together & spread on one side of each slice of bread. Sprinkle berries onto cream cheese and press slices together to make a sandwich. Use butter to lightly coat the outside of both sides of your sandwich. Grill in a pan or in a sandwich press until golden brown. Serve with additional powdered sugar topping if desired.

Bean & Bacon Pasta

1 family size can Campbell's Bean and Bacon Soup
1 box Rigatore Pasta
1 can full of water

Bring water and soup to a boil...add pasta & cook until pasta is tender.  Simple as that!  This makes a TON!!  Plan on leftovers.

Stuffed Bell Peppers

1 lb ground beef
1/2 uncooked long grain white rice
1 c. water
6 green bell peppers
2 cans tomato sauce
1 Tbsp Worchestershire
1/4 tsp each garlic and onion powder
1 tsp Italian seasoning
s&p to taste
Cheese to top if desired

Preheat oven to 350.  In a small pot, cook the rice as directed. In a separate skillet, brown ground beef, then drain and set aside.  Remove tops, stems, seeds, and membranes from the peppers, leaving a hollowed out shell.  Mix together rice, beef, 1 can tomato sauce, worchestershire, garlic powder, onion powder, salt & pepper.  Spoon an equal amount into each pepper.  Mix together remaining can of sauce and Italian seasoning & pour a small amount over each pepper.  Bake for 1 hour, basting with sauce every 15-20 minutes.  If desired, top with shredded cheese.

Sloppy Joes (the easy peasy version)

1 small jar chili sauce
1 c. ketchup
2-3 Tbsp mustard
1 lb ground meat

Brown ground meat, seasoning if desired.  Drain and return to the skillet.  Over low to medium heat add chili sauce, ketchup, and mustard.  Heat and stir until well blended.  Serve on buns while still hot.

Bowtie Lasagna

1 lb ground chuck
1 box bowtie pasta
3 cups Spaghetti Sauce (I use my jarred homemade sauce)
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1/2 Mozzarella Cheese
1/2 c. Sour Cream

Prepare pasta according to package directions.  Meanwhile, brown ground meat in a skillet and drain.  After noodles are cooked, drain them and drizzle with oil.  Mix in your spaghetti sauce.  Mix in the remaining ingredients and cook over low until warm and gooey...about 5 minutes.

Pattie Melts

1 stick butter
1 large onion, sliced
2 pounds ground beef
6 dashes worchestershire
s&p to taste
10 slices, swiss cheese
10 slices rye bread

In a medium skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium-low heat. Throw in the sliced onions and cook slowly for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are golden brown and soft. In a medium bowl, mix together the ground beef, salt & pepper, and Worcestershire. Form into 4 patties. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a separate skillet over medium heat. Cook the patties on both sides until totally done in the middle. Assemble patty melts this way: Slice of bread, slice of cheese, hamburger patty, 1/4 of the cooked onions, another slice of cheese, and another slice of bread. On a clean griddle or in a skillet, melt 2 tablespoons butter and grill the sandwiches over medium heat until golden brown. Remove the sandwiches and add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter to the skillet. Turn the sandwiches to the skillet, flipping them to the other side. Cook until golden brown and crisp, and until cheese is melted.

Beef Biscuit Pot Pie

1.5 lbs ground beef
1 onion, chopped
16 ounce jar Alfredo sauce
1 bag mixed, frozen vegetables
1 can biscuit dough
Grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400.  Brown ground meat, drain and return to skillet.  Mix in onion, Alfredo, and vegetables and bring to a boil.  Pour this mixture into a casserole dish.  Top with biscuits and parmesan.  Bake 15-18 minutes, or until biscuits are done.

Well...that is all I have for you this week.  I hope you enjoyed the recipes and are able to keep it under budget at your house using these posts.  Let me know how it goes for you!  I love to hear from you.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Best Site For Couponing...EVER!

Ok, so this isn't really something that I personally do to be thrifty, but this IS something that is an AMAZING way to stay thrifty.  About a year and a half ago I stumbled across a website called  I fell in love immediately.  This girl is amazing.  She provides a preview every Wednesday of what the following week's coupons will be.  She also gives a list of what to buy at each store with what coupons to get the best price.

There is an area of her site called "Learn to Coupon" where she shares couponing tips, store coupon policies, charts with stock up prices on grocery items, weekly ad schedules, and price flow charts as well as ideas for organizing and using your coupons.

SouthernSavers provides an area linking you to any and all imaginable printable coupons.  This includes coupon sites, manufacturer sites, stores, and other resources.  You can typically print two per computer, so make sure you print from all the computers you own if it is a coupon you really like or can use multiples of.

Each major store in the southeast region is listed on the site.  When you click for each store, you see a list of sale items along with coupons to use and the price it brings the item down to.  For special deals, you will see a nut, notifying you to STOCK UP!  For some stores, she even provides purchase scenarios.  For CVS, you earn points which result in money off your next purchase...she gives you a list of transactions to perform in order in such a way that you spend the very least out of pocket.  It is GENIOUS!

On the main page, there are links to the Sunday ads, but there is also a link to the Best Deals.  When you absolutely have to have an item that you don't have a coupon for, the Best Deals area gives you a list of where you can get the item for the best possible price without a coupon.

If all of that wasn't enough, she is constantly posting deals for online stores, special promotions, and giveaways.

I'm telling you....this site is GOLDEN!  It has been such a huge money saving resource for me.  We have a never ending supply of free or nearly free soap and toothpaste.  :o)

My favorite resource is the stock up price list.  I always find myself wondering what a good price really is.  This list solves all of those problems.  From the site, click Learn to Coupon, then it will be in the first section on the right.  Now I rarely pay too much for an item unless I just absolutely HAVE to have it right then...but part of the game is not to get in such a bind that you have to pay more than necessary.

I hope you find this site as wonderful as I have over the last year and a half.  I don't know what I would do without it sometimes.

Do you have another site that you use for your couponing?  Let me know about it...

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Keep Water Spots Off Your Fixtures (& Other Tips)

I'm not ticky about everything, but I cannot STAND water spots on my fixtures.  It drives me crazy to have spotty, splotchy handles and spouts.  I have tried different polishes, different cleaners, all sorts of things.  Then I started trying unconventional things....dryer sheets (did ok actually), baby oil (epic fail), and many more.

I thought the dryer sheets were going to be the best I could do...they did pretty darn well actually and would be a good use if you don't keep the winner around typically.

The winner was WAX PAPER!  I took a small scrap of wax paper and rubbed it, waxy side down, on my fixtures after they were cleaned and dried.  It created a thin, water resistant, wax coating on them and kept the water from drying in spots everywhere.

The dryer sheets do this same thing, but the residue they leave is a little different and wears off quicker.

I would not recommend using this on your stainless steel appliances.  It is such a big surface that I couldn't get the coating even and it just looked like a dull film on them.  But on smaller surfaces like fixtures...PERFECTION!

If you don't keep wax paper in the house and need to justify purchasing it, here are a few other uses for wax paper:

Loosen dirt from garden tools.  The sticky wax surface grabs dirt and pulls it right off while providing a waxy rust protectant coat to tools.

Line the area above cabinets with wax paper to catch the dust, then remove every couple months or so and replace with a new piece.

Roll up squares of wax paper to use as a funnel for putting ingredients or items into jars or other small containers.

Line drawers and cabinets.  Wax paper makes a great, disposable shelf and drawer liner.  It catches dust and dirt and then can just be thrown away.

Keep a door from jamming in the frame.  If you have a door that is sticking, you can rub it down with wax paper to keep it gliding into the frame easily rather than sticking.

Keep zippers moving smoothly and unstick zippers that are frozen by rubbing the teeth down with the waxy side of wax paper.  The coating keeps the zipper moving.

Use under wood clamps to keep clamps from sticking to wood glue.

Use to catch drips from hot glue guns.

Keep candle colors from bleeding during storage by wrapping them in wax paper first.

Use to dry candies or dipped strawberries.

Use a piece of wax paper on your swiffer sweeper head to catch dirt like a dust mop.

Do you have any other uses for wax paper or any other ideas for keeping fixtures spot free?  Let me know about them right here....

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Healthy Halloween Party Snack (Cutie-Lanterns)

Every year, the kids have a Halloween party at school....every year, my daughter brings home an obscene amount of candy before we even think about going trick or treating.    I kept thinking, there has to be a better way to do this.

I was unloading the groceries last night and set a bag of clementines down on the counter next to a little jack-o-lantern my daughter had drawn.....I couldn't believe that the answer had been that easy (and that affordable) all along.

I don't know about you, but around here we can get clementines (cuties) for super cheap this time of year in bags.

I grabbed my sharpie and quickly got to work drawing little jack-o-lantern faces on all of the clementines from the bag I had just bought.  I grabbed a second marker and let my little artist help out making funny faces for our little friends.  They turned out SO STINKING ADORABLE!

I am PUMPED to send these to school for my daughter's Halloween party this year.  Each kid is going to have their own little jack-o-lantern to enjoy and NOT go into a candy induced coma!

This has to be the one time I am so glad I didn't pick up the papers from the countertop!

Have you tried this?  What did you do for your kids for their Halloween activities?  Let me know.  I love you hear from ya!

Monday, October 29, 2012

5 People, 7 Days, 21 Meals, Under $75

I have to say....even I was skeptical of whether or not I could pull this one off.  Could I really make 3 people breakfast and lunch, 4 people snacks, and 5 people for seven entire days for $75?  Why yes....apparently I can.

Here is what our menu for the week included:

Scrambled Eggs & Fruit
French Toast & Bacon
Wild Berry Muffins (from a ashamed)
Blueberry Grilled Cream Cheese "Sandwiches"
Fried Bologna, Biscuits & Fruit
Toast with Jelly
Pancakes & Fruit
(most of the breakfast fruit consisted of can get them for fairly cheap this time of year, and my kids LOVE them.  If another type of fruit is on sale in your area, use that instead)

Grilled Cheese
Hot Dog-topuses
Cheese & Crackers
Egg Salad Sandwiches
Bologna Sandwiches
(yes, I know there are only six lunches here...I clean houses once a week, so my inlaws feed the kidoodles lunch that day, but in the event that they were home, we would probably do leftovers or egg salad again)

String Cheese
Apples with PB
Carrots with ranch
String Cheese again
Celery with PB or with Ranch
Clementines again
(can substitute fruit with anything that is on sale in your area)

Tetrazini Casserole *1.87 per serving
Meat Loaf Casserole *1.96 per serving
Tuna Noodle Casserole *1.32 per serving
Beef Taco Bake *2.42 per serving
Cheesy Chicken & Rice Casserole *3.29 per serving
Easy Grands! Chicken Pot Pie *1.81 per serving
Bean & Bacon Soup with Noodles *1.13 per serving

Notes:  We have chickens that supply the majority of our eggs.  I make my own jelly and salsa.  I also have a well stocked pantry with most of the common items needed already available.  $75 includes purchasing a dozen eggs, but does NOT include any common pantry items that I already had available.  If your pantry is not similarly stocked, you may have a small additional expense.

Ok, so you have the you need recipes for the not so obvious menu items....

Blueberry Grilled Cream Cheese Sandwiches (recipe for one sandwich)

two slices bread
1 Tbsp cream cheese
1 Tbsp powdered sugar
handful of fresh or frozen blueberries (i used frozen that had been collected over the summer)

Mix cream cheees and powdered sugar together & spread on one side of each slice of bread.  Sprinkle berries onto cream cheese and press slices together to make a sandwich.  Use butter to lightly coat the outside of both sides of your sandwich.  Grill in a pan or in a sandwich press until golden brown.  Serve with additional powdered sugar topping if desired.

Hot Dog-topuses

Hot dogs
Spaghetti Noodles
Butter and Salt to taste

Slice hot dogs into chunks.  Poke spaghett noodles into the hot dog.  Boil according to pasta directions, salting water to taste.  Drain, add butter to taste, serve.

Supper recipes are dead serious from knew?  I made substitutions for store brand wherever it saved money.

My Shopping List: (please note that not all items needed are listed here...only the items that I had to purchase...make sure you review the recipes and meal list before making your own list)

2 gallons milk
1 tub cream cheese
sliced cheese
string cheese
hot dogs
chicken breasts
Tyson grilled chicken breast strips
2 cans cream of chicken soup
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
1 can golden mushroom soup
2 cans bean and bacon soup
1 can vegetable soup
1 can tomato soup
2 cans Progresso thick and hearty chicken pot pie style soup (yeah, that is pretty specific)
1 small can sliced mushrooms
1 can of cubed chicken
1 small jar pimientos
2 cans tuna
muffin mix
frozen peas
frozen mixed veggies
frozen biscuits

Happy shopping and happy cooking!  I hope this helps your family the way it helped mine!

Have you tried this or other budget meal plans?  Let me know about it! I love to hear from you!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Photo Shelves (2 for under $10)

I HATE drilling holes in the walls!  I don't hate it because I am making a hole.  I hate it because inevitably I end up changing my mind on where something should go or what should hang there.  That means I have to fill the hole, paint the hole, and make a new hole.  So frustrating!

These easy and affordable photo shelves are the perfect solution.  Now I can move frames around on the shelves, change out photos easily, and decorate for the seasons if I want without unnecessary damage to my lovely walls!

What you need:
2- 1"x3"x8' boards
1- 1"x2"x8' board
80-120 grit sanding block
1 1/2" long wood screws
Stain or paint of your choice
Liquid Nails or other wood glue

I had the lovely men at my favorite big blue store cut these boards in half for me.  If you just want to do the extra work...go ahead and cut these in half.

Tip on selecting boards:  Your life will go so much easier if you select a board that is straight and has very little rough to the edges.  Otherwise, this whole project may be just a teency bit harder.

The 1x2 was $1.97 and the 1x3s were $2.97.  I had the screws, liquid nails, and some stain around the house.  That means that I built TWO of these awesome shelves for around $8! here is what you do:

If you didn't have your nice boys in blue do it for you, cut your boards clean in half.

Mark and predrill holes in each of your backboard pieces at 1/4" from the long edge spaced evenly.  I used five holes for each backboard.  Make sure you have a hole fairly close to each end.

One you have predrilled your holes, line your backboard up with the shelf board making an L shape.  Attach the board securely with wood screws.  Repeat with the other shelf.

Now attach the 1x2 pieces across the front of the shelf board with liquid nails.  This board will not need to support significant weight as it serves as a simple ledge for your shelf.  You could substitute a piece of thin decorative molding of your choice, but you will pay more for that option.  You should now have a modified U shaped shelf.  Let the liquid nails dry and set overnight before you continue.  You may want to use clamps to hold the piece in place.  I just wedged it against a wall.

Once the liquid nails is dry and your shelf ledge is secure, use your sanding block or sandpaper to sand down all of the rough edges and soften any sharp points. Vacuum or blow away any sanding particles and wipe your project with a barely damp cloth to remove any remaining particles.

Now you are ready to paint or stain your project.  I had this stain lying around.  I had originally intended to paint these white, but I think this worked out nicely.  I couldn't locate our extra white trim paint (shame, shame, I know).  Paint or stain your project as desired and let sit to dry for the recommended time (in my case 24 hours) before installing.

It is important to plan out where you want your shelves.  You want to make sure that mine were screwed into wall studs so that if you ever decide to put anything heavy on them, you are good to go.  Put a piece of tape onto the wall where you want your shelves.  Find the studs, marking the tape where they are located.  After that simply tape the tape onto the backboard of the shelves to predrill your holes and then screw the shelves to the wall.  Don't worry about being able to see these screws...once you have things on the shelves, you won't see them at all.

Now, just throw together the items you want!  I picked items all of the same color, but this would also look great with bright, contrasting colors.  Laney loved these so much she has requested them in their room.  I may be making shelves for their birthday girl collections soon.

Now, get out there and try it!!  Let me know if you tried this project at your house.  Pictures welcome!  I love to hear from you.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

DIY Liquid Foaming Hand Soap

Making my own liquid hand soap is just the latest project in my quest to live cheaper.  The more items that I make for myself, the more I feel ripped off having to buy anything premade.  Making household items yourself brings such a sense of accomplishment.  Especially when you can do it yourself for so much cheaper than buying.

I looked all over for a recipe that I liked, toyed around with the ingredients, and came up with a plan.

Here is what you need:
1 gallon of water, tap is fine
1 bar (4oz.) all natural bar soap, I used Dial Naturals with a tangerine guava scent
2 Tbsp. glycerin

Start by heating your water in a large pot.  While the water is heating up, go ahead and grate your soap.  Once the water comes just to a boil, remove it from the heat and add the grated soap.

Stir until all of the soap is competely dissolved.

Mix in the glycerin with a hand mixer.  I didn't picture the hand mixer step because I am not that coordinated.  :o)  This will serve as a skin protector and moisturizer. as well as helping the consistency of your soap.  I recommend beating the mixture on low for about 2 minutes.  Just don't create too many bubbles.

Let the mixture sit overnight.  Some gelling may occur.  This is fine.  Use your hand mixer again for another 2-3 minutes. 

Now your soap is ready to pour into whatever storage container you choose until time to use it.

Note: The consistency of this recipe is really runny the first day you make it, but thickens up the next day. 


Did you do this at your house?  Have a recipe you use different from this one?  Let me know about it.  I love to hear from you.