Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A Duh Moment

I made a cake the other day for a Relief Society dinner and had one of those DUH moments.  The cake is my absolute favorite and I found a great recipe for chocolate frosting to go on it.  It's SUPER yummy but a little hard to make and there are a few important things to know if you're going to make it.
  1. If you boil the butter/cocoa/milk mixture too long or too hard the frosting will be hard and yucky.
  2. If you fail to keep the cake properly covered after you frost it the frosting will get hard and crack when you cut it.
  3. The frosting sets up REALLY fast (that's a good thing because it keeps it from running off the cake altogether) so you can't use sprinkles or anything like that.  Just frost it and leave it alone.
My DUH moment came when I thought I could toss some sprinkles on there.  After all, it was supposed to look like a birthday cake.  I got the sprinkles all ready to go so as soon as I poured on the frosting I could hurry and toss on some sprinkles.  But it didn't work.  Even Superman couldn't have been fast enough to get those sprinkles on the cake.  As I tossed them, they all bounced off the frosting and flew all over the kitchen...okay...not all of them...about 20 of them stuck to the cake.  DUH!  Oh well, it was delicious anyway.  Here's the recipe... It's kind of hard and I'm still working at perfecting it, but when you get it right it's the best chocolate frosting recipe I've found.

1 cube butter
4 Tbsp. cocoa
1/3 cup evaporated milk
4 cups powdered sugar

Melt butter over LOW heat.  Whisk in cocoa and milk.  Bring mixture JUST to a boil over low heat, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat at the first sign of bubbles.  Beat in sugar until thick and smooth.  Pour warm frosting over warm cake for best results. (And it tastes the best when the cake is still warm too...yum!)
NOTE:  I haven't tried this recipe with margarine so I don't know how it might turn out. 

Here is the cake recipe

I Love Grocery that so wrong?

So, after being away from the computer for the weekend, I am late posting my grocery deals from last week but I decided if I want to keep up I better get it on here before I go shopping again...There were awesome deals to be had and I couldn't miss off I went to Walmart to price match.  Here's what I got and what I paid:
  • 34 Yoplait Yogurts (.21)
  • 4 Ronzoni Smart Taste Pasta (FREE)
  • 1 Uncle Ben's Rice (1.08)
  • 2 Apple Jacks (.75)
  • 2 Frosted Flakes (.75)
  • 6 loaves Grandma Sycamore bread (1.18)
  • 4 Ore Ida hash browns (FREE)
  • 2 Ore Ida french fries (.48)
  • 2 lb. mini carrots (2.00)
  • 5 Yoplait Smoothies (.50)
  • 7 boxes of Pop Tarts (.98)
  • 2 2-lb. blocks Tillamook cheese (3.98)
  • 2 Honeycombs (1.50)
  • 2 bottles of applesauce (1.46)
  • 4 Raisin Bran Crunch (1.24)
  • fuji apples (.79/lb)
  • 10 lb. bag of potatoes (.99)
  • bananas (.38/lb)
I got some other odds and ends that I needed that weren't really deals, but necessary.  As I left the store with a cart COMPLETELY loaded to the top with stuff I was reminded of the days of shopping at Walmart before coupons...when that whole cartload would easily top $200...and the saddest part is that I wasn't done shopping (I would also hit Harmons and Costco) and by the end of the month there would be absolutely NOTHING left over. I absolutely HATED grocery shopping in those days.   And I cringe when I think about how much money I wasted for all those years. Now I love grocery shopping and getting these good deals is very addicting.  And not only am I getting great deals, I have really put together a nice food storage for us.  This trip cost me $62.64 and I saved $104.73 over regular prices.  FUN!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

A St. Patrick's Day Treat

This is actually a main dish, but I call it a treat because I don't cook it very often. (I actually don't cook it often for a couple of reasons... 1.  We all LOVE it so I have to make a lot and that requires a TON of chicken.  2.  I can't stand cutting up raw chicken.  3. Once something is fried in oil, your house smells like oil for days. 4. Things fried in oil just aren't that good for you...although that really never stops me.)
This is great for St. Patrick's Day, because if you serve them in little black cauldrons, they look like little pots of gold.  I first tasted these when I was little and my aunt used to make them... I have ALWAYS loved them!  They are actually very simple but super delicious...and the leftovers heat up well in the oven (I think...unfortunately I don't ever have any leftovers.)  
As proof of how delicious these are...when I went to take the "finished" picture, everyone had already swiped them and all I had left was a measly pile.  I think I heard oinking coming from the table as everyone hogged them down. I usually double this recipe (except the oil).

3 whole boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1" pieces
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 cup water
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons sesame seeds
1 cup flour
1 quart oil for frying

Cut chicken into bite sized pieces and place them in a shallow container.  Let the chicken sit, and then drain off any liquid if necessary.
Mix eggs, water, salt, sesame seeds and flour (the sesame seeds makes them crispy--don't leave them out!).  Pour this mixture over the chicken and mix well. Heat oil in an electric skillet to 375F (or medium high).  
Make sure it's hot enough before adding chicken.  Carefully add chicken one layer at a time-- not too much chicken at once or they will all cook together.  Fry, turning often, for approximately 5 minutes or until golden brown.  Drain on paper towels.

Serve with your favorite dipping sauce (we like honey, bbq sauce, honey mustard, or hot mustard...yummy!)

Saturday AWESOME week!

Believe it or not, even though I am addicted to coupons and grocery shopping, I have not been shopping for the last couple of weeks...and it turns out that is a good thing because I spent a lot this week.  My freezer is actually looking a little bare these days...not to mention a couple of spots on the shelf in the food storage when Smith's had a great sale, I decided it was time to make a list...(I actually hit Harmons too, but only for a few things.)  Here's what I got and what I paid:

  • 3 Bumblebee tuna pouches (-6 cents--gotta love a money maker!)
  • 14 pkgs. of pasta (.49)
  • 6 dozen eggs (.63)
  • 5 bottles Sunny D (.54)
  • 2 loaves of bread (1.25)
  • 15 lbs. of chicken breasts (1.99/lb.)
  • 5 boxes Pasta Roni (.55)
  • 5 boxes Rice a Roni (.55)
  • 6 lbs. butter (1.66)
  • 64 bottles of Powerade (.25)
  • 2 boxes of Pop Tarts (1.49)
  • 6 boxes of cereal (1.66)
  • 2 boxes of Mini Wheats (.99)
  • 2 cans of Pam (1.99)
  • 5 Mott's Apple juice (.99)
  • 4 bottles of Classico pasta sauce (.99 plus 1.50 off meat)
  • 2 bottles of Ken's Salad Dressing (.49)
  • 1 bottle of A-1 (1.99 plus $1 off meat)
  • 4 packs of Sargento cheese slices (1.69)
  • 10 3-packs of Irish Spring (.75)
  • 1 bottle of Herbal Essence shampoo (FREE)
  • 1 Softsoap body wash (1.00)
  • 2 bottles of Softsoap refill (2.00)
  • 4 DiGiorno Pizzas (2.97)
  • 2 bags of Fritos (1.16)
  • 1 Fritos dip (-1.33...another great money maker!)
  • 6 packages of Chips Ahoy cookies (1.29)
  • 5 boxes of Ritz Munchables (.79)
  • 10 lbs. chuck roast (1.99/lb. but I got $4 off the meat with coupons)
  • 2 gallons of milk (1.00)

Not everything I bought is in the picture...partly because it wouldn't all fit on my table and because I hustled some of it into the fridge or freezer.  All together I spent $166.78 and saved $233.26 with coupons and the special Smith's promo over regular Walmart prices.  Now I am hoping for another week off next week!  It would be great if all I spent on groceries for the entire month was $167...

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Improvised Cookies

I was looking to make some brownies or cookies the other day and found myself curiously lacking in some key ingredients (with all my food storage how is that POSSIBLE?!)  It seemed like every recipe I pulled out I was missing I decided to just improvise and make some cookies.  They turned out really good and luckily I was jotting down notes as I went along so I would know what I did in case I wanted to make them again.  

2 1/2 cubes buter (not margarine)
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 Tbsp. vanilla (no, that is not a typo)
2 cups flour
2 cups oat flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 lrg. package Cookies N Cream Instant pudding mix
12-oz. package semi sweet chocolate chunks
1/2  12-oz package milk chocolate chips, finely chopped
(If you don't have oat flour, you can grind oatmeal in a blender until it is a fine powder.)
Cream butter and sugars.  Add eggs and vanilla and mix well.  Add pudding mix, flour, oat flour, salt, baking powder and soda.  Stir in chocolate chunks and chopped milk chocolate (the more finely chopped the better).  Roll into balls and bake for 12 minutes at 375F.  Makes about 5 dozen cookies. 

Now, hurry and eat them all while they're still warm.  You'll be glad you did.

A Curiously Delicious Recipe

One of my favorite places to go looking for new recipes are the websites of manufacturers.  Surely they aren't going to post recipes that make their food taste yucky, right?  (Actually I'm sure there are plenty of them that aren't very good but I've had very good luck so far.)  So I saw a picture in a piece of junk mail that looked pretty tasty and I went looking for the recipe.  It had some curious ingredients but I decided to give it a try anyway and it was REALLY good and REALLY easy.  I made a few adjustments to suit our tastes, and it's a keeper.  Everyone in the family loved it and I couldn't even get any pictures since they inhaled it all so fast. 


1 lb. hamburger
1 box Hamburger Helper Cheesy Enchilada
2 cups water
1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 16 oz. jar of salsa
3 Tbsp. milk
flour tortillas for burritos
shredded cheese

Brown meat and drain.  Stir in rice and seasoning mix, water, vinegar, cinnamon and salsa.  Heat to boiling.  Reduce to low, cover and cook for 20 minutes or until rice is tender.  Meanwhile, mix milk and topping mix until blended.  Warm tortillas. Spoon approximately 3/4 cup meat/rice mixture into warm tortillas.  Add cheese and roll.  Drizzle with topping if desired  (I put a small drizzle of topping inside before rolling them, which is easier if you want to eat them like a burrito).

Considering I got my Hamburger Helper for 30 cents a box, and my tortillas and salsa for FREE, this meal only cost me about $3 to feed the whole family.  Quite a bargain!  

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

I'm losing my touch

I burned my spaghetti sauce.  Seriously.  It's normally delicious, easy, kid friendly...and one of my oldest and dearest friends.  My mother made it when I was a kid, and I make it's comfort food.  I can practically make it with my eyes closed.  After eating out many meals in a row, I was really craving something homemade and easy.  I even made a special trip out in the rain for french bread (because spaghetti is not good without bread to mop up your sauce, right?)  First I put too much brown sugar in it and then I burned the crap out of it.  Maybe I'm becoming complacent because I've made it so many times...I just thought it couldn't fail.  I was going to post yummy pictures but, alas, there were none because it was all brown and burned.  Not to mention I splattered tomato sauce all over my arms and now they are stained orange.  Oh well, maybe next time.