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Fresh Strawberry Pie

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A few months back I took the kids strawberry picking. This is an activity we do every year when the U-pick em’s open up. While we were picking Dakota was listing all the things we could make with our strawberries. Then I hear, “Momma, I want a strawberry pie. Can you make a strawberry pie?” So of course I say yes, because I can’t say no to him. And there began our strawberry pie challenge.

When I am making something new, I usually read several recipes and then mix and mingle them together to accommodate it to my family’s taste or to my pantry supply.

The original recipe is from 2006 Taste of Home Annual Recipes, but this is my version of it.

Fresh Strawberry Pie

1 pre-made pie crust, frozen or refrigerated. I used the refrigerated Pillsbury pie crust.

1 package of cream cheese, softened

2 tbs sugar

1 tbs milk

Fresh strawberries about a quart, sliced

1 container Sugar free Strawberry Glaze, my kids grabbed the sugar free when I sent them to get it. I couldn’t tell the difference.

1)Preheat oven to 450

2) Unroll your pie crust and place in your pan. Trim edge and flute. Line unpricked crust with heavy duty foil.

3) Bake for 8 minutes, remove foil and bake 7 minutes longer. Cool completely.

4) Beat cream cheese, sugar and milk in a small bowl until smooth.

5) Spread over the crust and arrange strawberries on top.

6) Spread Strawberry Glaze over the top and chill until serving.

I’m Southern and I can’t bake biscuits!?

I was born and raised Southern. But no matter what I do, I can’t bake biscuits! I have tried! And I can’t!

Every Southern Gal or Guy should be able to whip up a batch of homemade biscuits. It is a staple at meals in every southern home. But I can’t! And it’s frustrating!

I don’t know if I knead the dough to much. Or roll it out too much. I don’t know if I am suppose to use a rolling pin or if I am suppose to pat it out with my hands.

WHY? you ask. Because my mom, grandma or grandmom should have taught me right. Because that is what all good Southerners do. WELL…..they ain’t southern. I am only second generation born and raised southerner. And I am only half at that because my Dad was born….somewhere not in the south….because I don’t remember right now. But I know it was not in the south.

Anyways. My grandparents on my Dad’s side is from Illinois and my grandparents on my Mom’s side is from Jersey. And before anyone ask no I can’t make pasta from scratch either (though I might be able to but never tried).

Back to biscuits, it is embarrassing to buy a bag of frozen premade biscuits when you want some because you can’t make them.

Look here is the list to qualify as Southern:

Sweet Tea~ check

Cornbread~ check

Grits~ check

Chicken and Dumplings~ check

Biscuits~ NO!!!

So if anyone can help me out with some tips or a recipe. I am determined to learn how to make biscuits this summer. Though after all my attempts, my family may never want to see a biscuit again. BUT BY GOLLY, I am going to do it!

Here is my last sad attempt.

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It was a Bobby Deen recipe.

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Decent Flavor. But not light and fluffy at all.

Help!!!

Desperately Seeking good biscuit making tips.

Sunday dinner with the girls….and Lil’ Man

My husband is all about “man food” meaning anything that is heavy. Meat, potatoes and if there is pasta there better be some heavy sauce with bread on the side.

So when Hubby went to the Buccaneers opening day game and left me with the kids and Grandma, I decided to make sure girly food. I knew my girls would love it because of the accidental veggie tacos from the week before. It showed me that my girls don’t care if there is meat on the plate or not. And with Hubby gone it was the perfect day for a meatless meal.

We had Buttery Lemon pasta with steamed broccoli and a side of fresh organic fruit topped with homemade whipped cinnamon cream.

YUM!!

Butter Lemon Pasta~

Cook your pasta according to package and drain.

In a skillet melt 5 TBS. butter in a skillet. Add pasta to the skillet. Stir. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and the juice of 1 lemon. Add lemon zest, as much as you prefer. Stir and serve.

I then added some steamed broccoli on top with some shaved parmesan.

Enjoy!

 

Cheeseburger Pizza

With my homemade pizza dough, I made this cheeseburger pizza. I was a little unsure of how my family would react to it. But it is definitely a keeper.

Start with your rolled out pizza dough. I spray my pan and sprinkle some cornmeal so the crust doesn’t stick.

Next add the sauce, which in this case is Ketchup and Mustard. I used more ketchup than mustard but it’s whatever you prefer.

Now your ready for the toppings.

Sprinkle a little bit of cheese. I used shredded Cheddar. This just helps to stick the toppings to the crust. Then I piled on the hamburger that I cooked in a skillet.

Now comes the fun part. Stop and think about what you love on a cheeseburger. Is it pickles, onions, or tomatoes? Great now get those items out. Chop them up and sprinkle on top.

My family is a little picky and were skeptical of the idea of pickles on pizza, so I just used pickles this time.  Next time I am gonna add some tomatoes and maybe sprinkle some lettuce after the pizza has cooked.

Then finish with some more cheese. Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes. If you prefer you can add some extra ketchup or mustard on top but my family didn’t request any.

YUMMY!

Homemade Pizza Dough

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A few days ago I tried my hand at something I have dying to make. Homemade Pizza Dough. I see it ready made at the stores and have always wondered can I make it at home cheaper. And the answer to that is YES!!!!

I have this wonderful machine called a bread machine. A lot of people have complained about theirs but I love mine. I have had it about 10 years and have never had a problem with it. And it makes homemade yummy bread easy.

I used a recipe for a 2 pound pizza dough. And this was enough for 2 pizzas for my family of 7.

The dough process takes about 1 1/2 hours.

Ingredients:

3/4 tsp salt

4 cups all purpose flour

2 tsp active dry yeast

1 3/4 cups water (it called for 1 3/8 and I don’t have a measuring cup with that measurement. LOL so I used 1 3/4 cup and it was fine)

3 Tbs oil, olive or vegetable

I put liquid ingredients in first.

Then comes all the dry ingredients except the yeast.

I then make a little hole in the center of the flour and put the yeast in there.

Put the machine on Dough setting. And go about your life until it beeps.

I then flour my cutting board or countertop.

Knead the dough a little.

Cut in half and roll out half of it until it somewhat resembles a pizza.

Now at this point you can use both halves to make 2 pizzas or you can freeze the other half for another day.

Don’t fret if it’s not perfect it will still taste good.

I spray my pizza pan with cooking spray and sprinkle some cornmeal to keep the crust from sticking.

Not add toppings and bake at 400 degrees for 15- 20 minutes.

Enjoy!

Giving freezer cooking a try?

Recently two of my favorite blogs did a serious of post on freezer cooking. And just from reading a couple of post I become OCD and decided I had to find out everything I could cook and freeze.  Freezer cooking is basically where you have ready to go meals in your freezer. Waiting for that day of appointments, errands, school pick-ups, followed by little Jimmy’s baseball game and then precious Patty’s dance recital. This could be my family’s answer to our fast food obsession. I mean the least little thing and I am reaching for a take out menu: late afternoon doctor’s appointment, last minute errands, a day full of cleaning the house top to bottom. It needs to stop but the only way is to have a great back up plan.

So during my “research” I found out that someone has a very similar oatmeal recipe that they freeze. PERFECT! I am making oatmeal this week and I will make up a double (or in my family’s case quadruple) batch and try to freeze it.

You freeze it before cooking it, so all you have to do one morning is thaw and bake.

I have in the past froze leftover Lasagna Casserole. And that was great! Just thaw and I added some extra cheese and little extra sauce, then bake.

Most people assume freezer cooking means taking a day and cooking a ton of food. That can work for some people. But for me making an extra batch or taking an hour a day and whipping something up for the freezer would better fit my life right now. This is the perfect activity during my son’s nap time and my girls independent study time.

The important thing to remember is make things easier on yourself, don’t stress yourself out more. The world will do that for you. Make your home life fun and easy.

I will let you know if this works for us. Who knows in a few months, I may ditch it?

Jeanette

 

The price of cereal! Outrageous!!!

Yesterday I decided that I wasn’t going to cook. We had leftovers and plenty of things to eat. We little did I know that my kids were going to devourer a brand new box of Frosted Flakes that I just bought yesterday morning!

1 box of cereal + 4 kids= EMPTY

That was $5 they just gobbled up in one meal! I was shocked!

Shocked that my kids eat like they haven’t had a meal all day!

Shocked that my $5 was gone so quickly!

Shocked that I spent $5 on ONE box of Frosted Flakes, which if you ask me is pure sugar!

When I was venting to hubby, he says well use coupons! Seriously did you just say that to me!!! I questioned his sanity at this point, since he tells everyone I am the coupon queen. If looks could kill, Hmph!

I then informed him that a coupon that says a dollar off of 2 or 3, which seems to be the new cereal trend, isn’t saving a whole lot at $5 a box!!!

Even with BOGO sales it is still expensive when a whole box is gone in ONE meal!

Then it made me question why are we buying $5 boxes of sugar? Why am I buying them if they eat it in one sitting? Because if I don’t then I have to listen to complaining! I personally HATE cereal, always have and always will. But my hubby and kids~ obsessed and will eat 3 times a day if I let them.

So that is why I chose to keep buying $5 boxes of sugar.

And will continue to complain when it last 5 seconds after hitting my front door.

And complain about the coupons sucking.

But the prices of cereal are still OUTRAGEOUS!!

 

Recipe~Baked oatmeal

I found this AMAZING oatmeal recipe.  I have been making this for years and it is a no fail recipe. The best part is it is just a basic recipe. You can add extras to turn it into your favorite flavor of package oatmeal. Whatever strikes your mood, I added grated apples to the recipe and it was so good!

Oatmeal~

3 cups of quick cooking oats

1 cup sugar

1 cup milk

1 stick of butter, melted

2 eggs

2 tsp baking powder

1 1/2 tsp salt

2 tsp vanilla

Sprinkling of Cinnamon to your liking

Any other add ins you would like

Combine all ingredients, including add ins or add them after baking which ever you prefer. Mix well. Pour into a greased 13×9 baking dish. Bake at 350 for 35-45 minutes or until set. Immediately spoon into bowl and add milk.

After I add milk I personally like to warm it up for 15 seconds in the microwave but others in my family don’t. It’s all a preference! Which is what makes this recipe so good!

Mama Jedi Mind Tricks

I have learned a few tricks while growing my large family. For one they don’t slow down on eating as they get older; they actually speed up. To make groceries stretch and last I have come up with some Mama Jedi Mind tricks.

For one is my bacon, I cut it in half. Therefore when they take 3-4 they actually only getting 1 1/2-2 slices of bacon. If I left them whole they would still eat 3-4 and 1 package of bacon would only last me 1 meal instead of a week or so.

Another one I just tried this week was cutting the bread in half for French Toast. My family loves the French toast made with the Pepperidge Farm Cinnamon Bread. If I leave the slices whole they went through almost 2 loaves of bread. I cut them in half and we only used 1 loaf.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When it comes to milk we go through a lot. So I have a couple of tricks on that. 1) Why use the good stuff for cooking? I substitute for half & half (especially if it is close to expiration date), cream or powdered milk. I usually make up a 2 quart container of powdered milk and use it for cooking. 2) On those days when I don’t wanna go to the store I will mix in my cooking milk with the half gallon of regular milk that is left in the milk container. Shake it up and your good. You have to be stealth. My hubby would never drink it if he knew. So that is why I mix it with a 1/2 gone gallon of milk and it taste perfect.

Meat is our biggest expense. So to cut down on that I have one meatless day a week. And I sneak in refried beans with hamburger whenever I can. Tacos, chili, spaghetti sauce are just a few dishes I use it in. It’s also a great way to get some fiber into your family.

VOILA! Not only is this a great way make the groceries last but also cuts the amount of calories. In their mind they are still getting the same amount but in reality not so much.

Shopping to feed the tribe…How do I do it?

So we are awful with staying on a budget, but when it comes to food, I think I am finally getting the hang of it. For the longest time I would shop at just Walmart, then all those reports came out about the milk and what not so I quit. And then I was shopping at Sweetbay, but lets just say I found something in my pork chops one day that just totally grossed me out. So I shopped at Publix for a couple of years. But they are the most expensive grocery store in our area. Now I shop for the majority of my groceries at BJ Wholesale.

Another thing I do is Coupon! Yes, I am one of those people with the notebook trying to score cheap to free items. But in this economy and with a large family you have to stretch your money in all places. Couponing is amazing. No, I don’t go all Extreme Couponing and buy 200 bottles of mustard; just to realize we don’t eat mustard. No, I can’t get my total down from $2000 to a penny. But what little bit I use saves me in the long run and over time adds up to be huge.

But how do I combine my coupons with a wholesale club?

BJ’s accepts coupons! They even mail you out store coupons every month to use with manufacture coupons. Plus at the store they have more store coupons that get switched out every 2 weeks. Saving you even more. I also upgraded my membership to the plus which allows me to receive 2% back on certain purchases~ food one of them. Every 6 months I receive a gift card with my rebate. And with the amount I spend I actually get my membership free with the 2% back.

Now the upfront out of pocket may seem crazy, $10.99 for 4 packages of bacon. But when you break it down. The best deal I can get from the local stores is 3 for $10 and this is rare. For an extra $0.99 I got that 4th package of bacon. Enough for a month or more depending on our bacon cravings. Milk, eggs, butter and oj are a few items that are always cheaper and they sometimes put coupons out for those items also. Very rare with a regular grocery store. They have an amazing organic selections. I have organic spices for $3-5 for a huge bottle!

Non-food items are also a better deal. I originally started shopping here because we had just added little man to our tribe and was looking for diaper deals. Every month you can count on some kind of diaper coupons in the monthly savings book. And a lot of the diaper boxes have manufacture coupons that you can use combined for the next time. I always get about $5 to $10 off a big box of diapers which is priced about the same as a smaller box at Walmart. My printer ink is a much better deal also instead of the 2 for $70; I am getting 3 for $70. They just started offering Forever Stamps at a discounted rate. I just recently started filling up the gas tank when I am there because again $0.30-$0.50 cheaper. And propane tanks are $5 cheaper for a refill.

More money out of pocket upfront but the items last longer and break down to be cheaper. Why am I going to go the store to buy toilet paper every month and pay a $1 more a package, when I can buy the industrial package store it, pay less in the long run and not have to buy more for a few months?