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...