Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Cleaning Green with Vinegar

I have discovered what my grandmother knew all along. Vinegar is one of the most useful things in the pantry. For the longest I have spent so much money on cleaning products thinking my life would be better, easier, faster. I didn't realize the secret ingredient was in my pantry all along.

Vinegar is a natural degreaser. put 1/4 cup vinegar in your microwave and cook it for 2-3 minutes and then let it set for about 5-10 minutes then just wipe your microwave down with a damp cloth and you will be amazed at how easy all that hard cooked on stuff will come off. I have also tried this recently in my oven. It took a little more work and there was such a mess in the bottom I had to pour the vinegar directly on the floor and let it bake in for about 30 minutes but it cleaned up nicely after that. I did have to use a paint scrapper in some places (yes it was bad) but it was much better than using that expensive caustic oven cleaner that I dreaded using which is why it had gotten so bad. So now once a week I let vinegar steam the inside of my oven and just wipe It down to keep it from getting that bad again.

Hardwood and laminate floors can be ruined easily by some products but vinegar is actually recommenced for laminates. I will mix 1/2 cup vinegar to 1 gallon of water to clean all of your hard floors it is also great in the kitchen because of the degreasing properties. I have used it on hardwood, laminate, vinyl and ceramic tiles and it cleans beautifully.

We have very hard water here and vinegar in the rinse cycle of the wash with every load has cleaned up my washing machine. I also use it in the dishwasher and it has also helped clean it out and my clothes and dishes look much better. and no your house will not smell like vinegar.

for the laundry and dishes
1/2 cup vinegar in the rinse cycle

for the microwave and oven 1/2 cup in a dish let it heat up and sit in there and steam for 10 minutes

for the floors
1/2 cup to 1 gallon of water you can add a few drops of essential oil if you like

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Measuring flour

I use to have a problem with my yeast bread getting too tough and having to add more and more water. I thought it was the climate here in Arkansas but it was just me.
When measuring flour DO NOT just scoop out of the flour jar with your measuring cup. This causes the flour to pack into the cup and then you get too much. Instead try using a scoop and then pour it into your measuring cup and level off with a knife this way you will get the right amount of flour called for in your recipe.

Yummy Yummy Belgian Waffles!

Slightly sweet and creamy on the inside and crispy on the outside make these perfect for a Sunday morning breakfast. I mix this up the night before to let the yeast do its magic and cook them in the morning making it an easy breakfast for any day of the week. You can also freeze and rewarm them in your waffle iron or toaster for a quick breakfast when you are trying to get the kids off to school.
1 1/2 cups milk
6 tablespoons melted butter
1/4 cup sugar or maple syrup
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Vanilla
2 large eggs beaten
2 cups flour (see tip)
1 package active dry yeast
a mixing bowl big enough for the mixture to double

Warm Milk, add butter, sugar, salt and vanilla. Mix in eggs and stir in yeast (make sure it is lukewarm, you should be able to hold your finger in there comfortably like a warm bath). It may look a little lumpy don't worry it is ok just don't over mix or you will get a tough waffle.
Cover with plastic wrap, and let rest at room temperature for 1 hour; the mixture will begin to bubble. cook them up now or store in fridge overnight. When you are ready to cook preheat the Waffle Iron (make sure it is hot) and spray with nonstick cooking spray. pour about 3/4 cup onto waffle iron and cook till brown (mine takes 4-5 minutes)

If I make these with my Belgian waffle maker I need 3/4 to 1 cup mix per waffle but in my regular waffle iron it only takes 1/2 cup. I sometimes make these in the smaller iron so I can freeze them and toast them in my toaster for a quick breakfast. makes about 5 large belgian waffles or 10-12 regular waffles depending on size of waffle iron

Friday, March 27, 2009

homemade multipurpose cleaner

4 quarts hot water
1/4 cup vinegar
2 tablespoons baking soda
2 tablespoons dish soap

mix all ingreident in a large bucket, cool and store in a covered conatiner put what you nee into a spray bottle and use as an all purpose cleaner.
if you want a sent to this you can add 2-3 drops of essiential oil to each spray bottle as you fill it up.

strawberry limeaide

this is an old pampered chief recipe that you cant find anywhere and it is not in any of there recipe books. I have only seen it on the info sheet that comes with one of their products. I am not sure if this is the exact recipe but it looks pretty close thanks Darlynn from cafe mom
1 1/2 cups pineapple juice
1/2 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons lime juice
1/2 cup sugar
1 (10 ounce) package frozen strawberries, sliced and thawed
4 1/2 cups carbonated lemon-lime beverage
1Mix juices together until sugar is dissolved.
2Add strawberries.
3Slowly add lemon-lime soda to pitcher.
4Garnish glasses with fresh fruit slices

Dump cake

this cake can be cooked while camping in a dutch oven or in your oven at home very easy to make and tastes oh so good.

1 can pie filling
1 box yellow cake mix
1 stick of butter

dump pie filling into bottom of pan
dump cake mix (unmixed) on top
slice butter into pieces and place over top of cake
bake in oven at 350 for 40 minutes or over a campfire in a covered dutch oven with coals on top of lid for same amount of time.
You do not mix this it will mix while it is cooking you just dump the ingredients in and enjoy the ease of this recipe!

Cabbage Lasagna

1 lb ground Italian sausage
1 cup onion chopped
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
1 medium heads of cabbage
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp oregano
1 tablespoon basil
1 small can tomato paste
2 cups mozzarella cheese
brown sausage onion and pepper together, boil cabbage till tender and set aside and reserve 2 cups of the water from the cabbage
combine 2 cups of the cabbage water, tomato paste oregano, basil, salt and pepper and simmer for 5 minutes stirring often. add meat mixture and simmer for 2 more minutes

in a buttered pan 1/2 layer cabbage, 1/2 tomato mixture and 1/2 cheese repeat layer
bake covered at 400 for 30 minutes

Granny's Best Ever Red Velvet Cake

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup oil
2 eggs
4 oz red food coloring
2 Tbsp coca
2 1/4 cup sifted flour
1 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp butter flavoring
1 Tbs vinegar
1 tsp soda

cream sugar, oil and eggs, make paste with food coloring (tip warm food coloring so it will mix but do not burn 20 seconds in the microwave should be fine) and coco and add to mixture. add flour and salt buttermilk and flavorings add vinegar and baking soda and bake at 350 till done.

cream cheese frosting
8 oz cream cheese
2 tsp vanilla
1 stick margarine
1 box powered sugar
1 cup walnuts or pecans
mix cream cheese, butter sugar and flavoring ice cake and top with nuts add nuts between layers

Zucchini Parmesan

1 lb ground Italian sausage cooked
26 oz can spaghetti sauce
1 teaspoon sweet basil
4 medium zucchini sliced thin
1 cup Parmesan cheese
3 cups mozzarella cheese
preheat oven to 350
mix sausage, sauce and basil
in a 9x 13 casserole dish layer 1/2 the meat 1/2 the zucchini and 1/2 Parmesan cheese 1/2 the mozzarella cheese and repeat the layers
cover and cook for 45 minutes till zucchini is tender

Tom and Jerry Batter

I have not made this recipe myself but it came from a little bar in Merrill Wisconsin (I think Linda's). I fell in love I couldnt get enough of it and she gave me the recipe before I left. Yummm
12 eggs separated
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 lb butter at room temp
3 lbs powdered sugar
1 teaspoon rum flavoring
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon allspice, mace, nutmeg and cloves (not too sure about these)

for drink shot of brandy, shot of rum and boiling water to fill mug

bear whites till stiff, add salt,
beat yolks till light, cream butter with sugar and mix till crumbly. add egg yolk and flavoring and spices fold into egg whites.

batter will keep for several weeks in the fridge and may be frozen for several months
use heaping tablespoon for each drink add batter first then add rum and brandy and boiling water into a coffee mug

No knead bread, talk about cheap and easy!

I haven't baked bread for over 3 years now, I knew I couldn't knead it anymore and the bread machine I borrowed to try out just didn't do it for me. That is until yesterday when I found this recipe . I cannot wait to tweak it to make it mine. I know it has been around for a while but I guess I have been out of the cooking loop for a while due to my back and didnt even want to be tempted. It took 5 minutes to mix up(if that)12 hours to rise and 2 minutes to shape it 2 more hours to rise and 45 minutes to cook. total prep time for me was less than 7 minutes and it came out wonderful and the best part no kneading!

The crust was crisp and the inside light and tender much better than the bread machine and total cost was less than 50 cents for a loaf making it great for this penny pincher here. the only ingredients are flour, water salt and a very small amount of yeast. I did increase the salt to 1 tablespoon. The flavor comes from a long fermentation time to allow the flavors to develop.

The only down side was that I had to have my son get my ginormous cast iron dutch oven in and out of the oven. Just way too heavy for my crippled self to lift, taking donations for a La Cloche oblong baker, lol.

I plan on starting 2 loaves tonight and guard it till I can get a picture. I took the bread out of the oven at 145 and had to take the kids to T-ball at 2 when I got home there was only enough for me and the 2 kids to have a slice. My oldest son cut into it and my parents dropped by and took over half the loaf. Well the little piece I tried was delicious and it is a keeper!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Times are getting tough! soda cracker appetizers

grandma never feed us shoes but she did make us "nail soup" at least once a week. I will have to ask mom if she remembers how to make it. in the mean time beans were a favorite and still are but i have to admit I at way too many beans growing up so I stick to red beans and rice but for a little fun how about appetizers using package of the seasoning left over from when you could afford pizza

soda cracker snacks the longer they sit the better they are! warning they are addictive!

1 box saltines

1 cup oil

1 packet red pepper flakes (from a pizza place)

2 packets Parmesan cheese (also from the pizza place)

3 tablespoons dry ranch dressing or 1 package ranch dressing mix

mix oil, pepper flakes, cheese and ranch dressing mix in a big bowl with a lid or a giant pickle jar, add crackers and close lid and turn till well coated hide jar from everyone because even though it is good now it will taste even better in the morning!

daddy's squash casserole

this is another recipe to get rid of all that squash! Dad made this one up a few years ago since he cant seem to stop planting so much of it. I don't even plant it anymore! My kids love this and there are never any leftovers!
1 yellow squash sliced thin
1/2 onion chopped
1 bell pepper
1 roll sausage
2 cups shredded potatoes
1 cup cheese (any kind)
1 egg
boil squash and mash set aside, cook sausage onion and bell pepper in skillet in a casserole dish mix squash, sausage mixture, potatoes, cheese and egg cook at 350 for about 45 minutes and enjoy!

Veggie burgers

Its time to plant the garden and that means I will be trying to figure out what to do with all of the squash that will be coming out of our ears! it is amazing how much these little plants produce! The economy is in the crapper and meat is getting expensive so this will help you seriously stretch your budget!

4 cups grated fresh veggies (carrots, squash, corn, zucchini, onions, peppers what ever you have in the garden that you need to use)
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups bread crumbs
salt and pepper to taste
mix all ingredients and chill for 1 hour then form into patties
saute in butter on medium heat till brown on each side and serve like a hamburger
I like cheese on top of mine

Jalapeno chicken casserole

Summer is coming and I love to make this with fresh veggies from the garden. I have to tone it down for my daughter. My husband tried to make this once and forgot to seed the jalapenos and decided to use 3 and it was so hot we couldn't eat it! but it is a family favorite if my husband stays out of the kitchen
2 cups chopped fresh spinach
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup chopped onion
2 green onions chopped
2 jalapenos chopped and seeded (use less or more depending on how hot you want it)
2 80z packages cream cheese softened
1 cup sour cream
1/2 -1 teaspoon cumin Depending on how hot you want it
12 0z bag Doritos
5-6 cups leftover cooked chicken
2 cups shredded cheese
saute onions and pepper in butter till tender, stir in cream cheese, sour cream, spinach and cumin.
in a 9x13 glass baking dish layer in this order 1/2 Doritos's, 1/2 chicken, 1/2 spinach mixture and repeat the layer one more time. top with cheese and cover with foil and bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

lavish or cheese ball

This is a favorite of my kids and so healthy they love it in their school lunch and it also goes great with my Bacon Ranch Pasta if you want to be really quick you can use a store bought Italian cheese ball to spread or the tortillas (but it is not anywhere as good)
1 lb shaved smoked ham or turkey
fresh baby spinach
2 cubes cream cheese (softened)
2 tablespoons honey mustard
1 cup shredded carrots
1 cup shredded zucchini
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1 package large flour tortillas

for the lavish
mix cream cheese, mustard, carrots, zucchini, and onions and spread on tortillas. lay a layer of spinach and then the turkey or ham (I prefer turkey). Roll up like a tight jelly roll and slice at an angle into 1-2 inch slices keep chilled till served

for the cheese ball
mix the cream cheese, mustard carrots, zucchini, and onions, chop up 1/2 cup spinach and the ham or turkey and mix in cheese mixture and form into ball. serve with crackers

bacon ranch pasta salad convience food recipe (better than suddenly salad)

I love suddleny salad but I save money by getting a large bag of pasta and a large jar of dry ranch from sams club and make my own and it is easy and ready to make quickly when we have a picnic or potluck! please share any tips you have that make it better for your taste! this recipe gets rave reviews at potlucks

2 cups egg noodles
3 tablespoons dry ranch salad dressing mix
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic pepper
1/2 teaspoon onion

1 cup real bacon bits (if you want you can add regular bacon bits to your dry mix but don't use real bacon bits it will shorten the shelf life)
2/3 cup milk
1 cup miracle whip

1 cup shredded cheese
frozen peas (cook with pasta)
frozen carrots (cook with pasta)
anything else your heart desires
mix all dry ingredients except and put in a little bag
put noodles in large Ziploc bag and put small bag in large bag. mix as many of these as you want and put in pantry and save for when you want to cook something up quick! without too much work

to make
bring large pot of water to boil and cook pasta
mix dry ingredients with milk and miracle whip add bacon bits and noodles and toss, ( I also like to add cheese and tomato's to make it taste like a BLT) chill for 1 hour add a tablespoon of milk if it seems too dry

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Pecan chicken

I lost 70lbs and this recipe was one of my favorite diet foods! other than letting it soak overnight it is really quick and easy to make!
1 lb chicken breast tenders
1 cup buttermilk
2 cups special K cereal crushed
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/4 tsp salt
rinse and dry chicken place chicken in ziplock bag and let sit overnight.

mix pecans, chicken, and salt in a ziplock bag. place chicken in bag and shake to coat.

coat a large baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray and place in a single layer on baking sheet.

bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes or until chicken is crisp on the outside and juices run clear

hot crab and artichoke dip

14 oz can artichoke hearts
1 cup miracle whip salad dressing
2 6 oz cans crab meat
1/8 tsp garlic powder
pinch pepper
1/2 cup 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
combine all ingredients except 2 TBS Parmesan cheese. Coat a 1 quart casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray and spread mixture in dish. sprinkle remaining cheese on top cover with foil and bake at 350 for 30 minutes uncover and bake for 10 more minutes


quick and simple "dryer sheets"

I do like the smell of commercial fabric softeners. I also discovered that my HE washer rinsed most of the smell out. I buy my favorite liquid softner and then add equal parts hot water to the mix cut up sponges and there you go.

To use keep the sponges in the softner and take one out, squeeze out excess and place in dryer with your load. This will make your laundry smell great and save you some bucks in the long run.

homemade laundry soap

We go through so much laundry. Laundry soap can really cut into a budget so here is a recipe to help you save dollars and keep you family smelling good. I find all of these at Harps.
2 cups Borax (in the laundry section)
2 cups washing soda (in the laundry section)
2 bars castile soap (next to the Ivory)
1/2 cup oxi clean

I use an empty gallon ice cream bucket to keep this all in and you only need 2 tablespoons in the wash for this.

grate the soap then put it in the food processor and pulsate it into a fine powder. mix all of the ingredients and store in a covered tub. this will not form a lot of suds and will get your laundry clean.
1/2 cup of vinegar in the rinse cycle will freshen your load.

What is it all about!

I need some serious organization in my life! Grandma left me with thousands of pieces of paper on how to can or cook so many different things. they are becoming yellowed and torn and I don't ever want to loose these. I have tried to save grandmas recipes on disk only for it to be lost or destroyed. I have tried to recopy my own recipe books but then when the kids ask for a recipe, forcing me to recopy it. So kids here you go this is for you. All of moms recipes online where you can just look it up and keep up with it. I hope this will help me organize it too! as i pull out my recipes I will copy them here and you will have them. this will include the easy to make stuff and the not so easy to make. Recipes to save you money and how to make quick stuff to feed your growing family. I know you can bring a wealth of knowledge too so please share those with me too. I am always open to something new!