Waffles! I smell waffles!

Donkey: We can stay up late, swapping manly stories, and in the morning, I’m making waffles!

Donkey: Ooh, charades! I see a chocolate waffle with cinnamon swirls.

Shrek: There’s a stack of freshly made waffles in the middle of the forest! Don’t you find that a wee bit suspicious?

Donkey: And I thought the waffle fairy was just a bedtime story!

 

 

 

 

My sons favorite character in the Shrek movie series is Donkey, who has a strange love for waffles. Not that loving waffles is strange, just that a donkey that loves waffles is strange. Sometimes, waffles and pancakes are the only thing my four year old wants to eat. While I dont mind making waffles or pancakes, I do not like having to clean the Belgium waffle maker every morning. So, heres my easy peasy way of avoiding that, while satisfying my familys love of waffles and pancakes.

Items needed:

A waffle iron, or for pancakes a large skillet or griddle (if you dont have one, check craigslist, ebay, amazon for cheap deals)
Krusteaz Pancake Mix (you can buy this in 10 lb bags at Walmart for about $7, or just stock up when they are on sale)
A cookie sheet
Freezer bags
wax paper (empty cereal bags work great if you like to repurpose and recycle)
Butter (to grease pan or waffle iron)

Mix pancake mix according to package instructions – 2 cups pancake mix, 1 1/4 cup water, 2 tbsp oil (completely optional). Grease iron or skillet with small amount of butter. Cook on waffle iron just until waffles start to brown lightly. For pancakes, cook on each side till lightly brown. Place waffles or pancakes on cookie sheet, making sure they lay flat. Flash freeze by placing in freezer for 15-20 minutes or until they are firm. Place in ziplock freezer bags, placing wax paper in between to keep them from sticking.

To reheat:
Place frozen waffle or pancake in toaster and toast for 2 minutes or until warm. Serve with fresh fruit, butter, or honey (in stead of syrup).

Get creative with the waffles and pancakes! Some easy add-in ideas: Frozen blueberries, raspberries, strawberries. Sliced bananas, Nestle chocolate chips, nuts, pumpkin and cinnamon.

Photos coming soon…

Make it for less: Refried Beans

If you know me well, you know I am all for saving money. But I am also growing aware of what is IN our food. We also dont consume pork products. So about a year ago, I was looking for canned refried bean for Burritos, and the store brand I normally buy was out of stock (pre-couponing era). So I looked for the name brand and after reading the ingredients Lard (which is actually pig fat) decided to try and make my own.

I am glad I did.

This recipe is much cheaper (unless you are couponing, in which most cases the canned stuff is free), and to me, since I know what is going in it, a bit healthier. Or maybe thats just my OCD mind at work!

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Not Refried Beans

1 1/2 cup dry pinto beans

2 tbsp Taco Seasoning (or more to taste)

6 cups water

Salt, to taste

Rinse beans in collander and remove any dirt or debris.

Soak Beans, two options

Overnight Soak:In a large pot add 6 cups water. Soak in large pot 6-8 hours, or overnight. Drain soak water and rinse beans.

or

Quick Soak: In a large pot add 6 cups water and beans. Bring to rapid boil, then boil for two minutes. Let beans soak in water for one hour. Drain soak water and rinse beans.

To cook beans:

In a large pot add soaked beans and 6 cups water. Bring to simmer (not boil) and simmer for 1-2 hours to desired tenderness. (for almost refried beans I like mine pretty tender)

Or in a pressure cooker, follow manufactures instructions on how to use your pressure cooker for safety.  (Usually takes less than 15 minutes)

Here is a great link for information on cooking beans

Once beans are cooked, drain beans, reserving some of the liquid. In a Kitchen-Aid mixer (loving mine!) places beans, 1/4 cup reserved bean liquid, salt and 2 tbsp taco seasoning in the bowl. Using paddle attachment, mix on a low speed, adding more liquid as needed to achieve desired thickness. Mix for 2-3 minutes until most of the beans are mashed.

If you do not have a stand mixer, go buy one! You will love it! If all else fails, places beans, seasoning, salt and liquid in a large bowl and mash/mix with a fork. A pastry blender works well too.

This recipe makes a little over one 15 oz can of refried beans. Most recipes for refried beans will at this step have you fry them in a pan with oil, but after trying both ways, I can tell no taste difference in the fried beans and the non fried. So save the oil for something else and have a healthier meal.

OMAC for small freezers

Want to try OMAC? Dont have a deep freezer? You can do it!

There’s no need running out and buying a deep freezer, just another applicance to add to the rising electric bill, even though I know my hubby would love to have one! Depending on what your current stock in your freezer is like, you should be able to fit everything just nicely.

First things first. As mentioned on many websites and book on OMAC, prep is key to making sure your cooking day runs smoothly. That should include cleaning out your fridge and freezer. Organize your freezer items by type, such as stack boxes together, place bags of veggies or ziplock bags on the same shelf. I prefer to keep my raw meats on the bottom (im just weird like that I worry about dripping meat juice even though its frozen). Access what is old and needs to be tossed or composted, and evaluate how much room you have left over. It may be that you only have enough room for a week worth of meals. But a weeks worth of not cooking and enjoying more time with family is good enough for me!

Homemade Chicken Pot Pie

Its really easier than you think. And tastes better than frozen, of course all homemade tastes better IMO. My mother in law and husband taught me the basic ingredients years ago, and I just added a homemade touch.

For the crust you can use store bought, OR you can try this super dooper easy pie recipe. Trust me, once you see how easy it is to make pie crust you will never go back to frozen. The taste is flaky and rich, with no additives or preservatives… bonus! I found this recipe when searching for a recipe for homemade poptarts at bakememore using Peabodys pie crust recipe. I have added some easy instructions to make this simple for you.

I will add photos next month when I make these again for OMAC cooking.

Heres the recipe:

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Leftover Turkey and Dumplings

Turkey and Dumplings

Turkey and Dumplings close up

Its been a long long time since I have had chicken and dumplings, or any dumplings for that matter. My Dad used to make these when I was younger. Sadly, I had since forgotten how he made them. So, using my trusty Google, I ran across a receipe on King Arthur website. Some people swear by the flour. I love baking, but consider my self a novice baker, and that may be because I am not using the best flour. Its a bit higher in cost, so the frugal in me keeps me from spending $2-3 more on a bag of flour.

My husband wanted some dumplings, like his mom makes. She uses bisquick for the dumplings. Well, bisquick is just something I do not keep around, because I think its cheaper and healthier to make things like that from scratch, like Jiffy Mix. So I needed to find something simillar in taste. I found the King Arthur recipe, and thought well I will give it a try. Read more of this post

Pepperoni Rolls – A rare treat

Pepperoni rolls, homestyle

I grew up in WV, so to me, pepperoni rolls were nothing special. A few years ago, while on a visit back home, I fell in love with those italian treats all over again. Unfortunalty, it seems as thought you can only buy these tasty treats in West Virginia, and I am 500 miles away in South Carolina. So, if I need to satisfy my craving for pepperoni rolls, I either have to plan a vacation, or beg my sister to mail me some and hope that they are still fresh after being shipped.

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Recipe of the Week: Quesadilla Burritos

I have an easy to make meal plan recipe idea using some of the ingredients from My Shopping Trip 07.02.10
My husband showed me how to make this years ago when we were dating, and it quickly became one of my favorites, especially when I changed the recipe to quesadillas. Move over Taco Bell, Im gonna save some money!

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Print Recipe
Pan Burrito or Oven Quesadilla


You will need:
8 Flour Tortillas
Sour Cream (optional)
1 can Refried Beans or Make Your Own for less
Taco Cheese
Taco Seasoning
Can Chicken or Make Your Own for Less from stockpile pantry
Butter, Spread, or Pam

Optional Ingredients: Diced Tomatos, Hot Peppers, Black Olives, Salsa
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homemade, for less

Yes time is money. But sometimes you just have to save money. And, sometimes that savings tastes soo good!

I can certainly say that most of the homemade foods and products that I have made, either match or exceed the quality of store bought. With the health benefits of knowing what is in your food, and less chemicals you expose yourself and your family, it has become my hobby.

I love making things from scratch. I feel reconnected with a generation that close to extinction. Everything has to be fast and instant gratification seems to be the daily motivator. I look to slow things down a little bit, and smell the roses. Or the third batch of oatmeal cookies baking in the oven that did not come in a package, but from the heart.