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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Hot tips ! Get your Hot Tips Here !!

     I know that we all have a favorite blog or two that, at the end of busy day, you sit back and read. Well, one of my personal favorites is www.tammysrecipes.com Not only can you learn from the wealth of information that Tammy shares with her readers but, after awhile, you even feel like a member of the family:

   So this evening when I returned home from grocery shopping (more on that later) and read that Tammy was looking for kitchen tips to share, I just knew that I could come up with something.....okay, you know how it goes when you try to think, your mind draws a blank. At one point I sat with my mouth open staring at the wall, to which my husband walked by asking me if everything was okay. Maybe it was the look of a "deer caught in headlights" that worried him or the quite mutterings of "think, think, think."

   I thought that if I got up and walked away from the computer, an idea would come to me. So I began my ritual of putting the groceries away. Ritual? you ask, what's so hard about putting groceries away and why do you need a "ritual?" Well ,like any good supermarket, I keep a running inventory of what I have on hand and what I just purchased.

  My inventory hangs on my fridge door, on it I have a listing of all the frozen items (meats, chicken and treats), canned goods, dry goods (pastas and beans) and household items. Each time I use something, I make a check on the list and then I know exactly what I have on hand in my pantry at all times. It allows you to shop from your pantry when your budget gets tight right before payday. This also speeds up the whole grocery making list process, and if you are using coupons. you can check your list with what will be on sale.

  So there it was kids, right in front of me the whole time. I hope that my little tip helps your kitchen run a little smoother and happier.

  Be sure to tune in tomorrow for our first meal plan to be posted. I have some great meals planned for us to share and enjoy.

My fork is at the ready,


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Don't hate me because........ I am easy peasy !

Okay, remember several years ago when bread machines were everywhere.

While cleaning my kitchen the other day I stumbled across our old bread machine. I figured why not take the old girl out and give her a whirl.

Well......My new best friend proved she is worthy of the choice spot on the counter top. Someday, will talk about just how small and limited the space is in my kitchen. Keep in mind we live in a home that is over 120 years old and I think that the kitchen was a total afterthought.

Back to my new BFF and her wonderful bread making talents. First we made a simple white bread it was nice and normal, then I looked in the cookbook that she brought to the party and found a date and oatmeal bread recipe. Once again she impressed me with her talents.

But today she really pulled out all of the stops with a cinnamon raisin bread I found on the net. As I added the ingredients the smell of cinnamon and brown sugar began to waft up and I knew we were on to something. As the bread machine worked it's magic, I sat back and waited with warm apple butter at the ready.

Finally, the bell sounded and just like a test subject of Pavlov, I was ready. Now let me just share with you how wonderful this bread is , light in texture with just enough of an outer crust to hold your apple butter in place, chewy but not doughy and sweet like a mother's love (Really, I am telling you the truth ). The cinnamon and raisin mixed together so well that the raisins are almost like little sweet candies in the bread. The aroma is in a whole category by itself, no candle or air freshener could begin to match the smell of this bread.

So with this I encourage you to get that old bread machine out and try this recipe and see if you are not filled with love and devotion for your bread machine too.

Bread Machine Cinnamon Bread

1 1/4 cup warm water

3 1/3 cups bread flour ( I use King Arthur, I think it does the best job)

1 1/2 Tbsp. dry milk

3 Tbsp. brown sugar

1 tsp. salt

2 - 3 tsp. cinnamon

3/4 cup raisins

1/4 cup butter ( I used veggie oil, I was totally out of butter)

1 1/2 tsp. bread machine yeast

Add ingredients to bread machine following manufacturer's instructions. Bake on light setting. make 1 large loaf ( 2.0 pound size) http://www.cooks.com/

As always my fork is at the ready,


Sunday, August 28, 2011

Mission Impossible ????

Hello all and welcome to my little slice of the internet.

My name is Elizabeth and for as long as I can remember I have loved food. To me food means happiness, joy, family potlucks and of course love.

However, over the past several months my love of food has taken a back seat in my life. Due to the daily pressures of life it has become way to easy to pick up something for dinner. You know what I mean, your on your way home from work and there like a beacon shining thru the clouds comes the "Golden Arches". You hear angels singing the praises of a double cheeseburger, medium fry and why not add an apple pie, they sing in your ear. As you pull up to order you think what can it hurt, just this one time !

The trap has been set, and sprung. You find yourself stopping more often and adding breakfast to your day. The clerks begin to know your face and even ask about your family (true story !) All the while you still listen to those sweet voices you don't stop to think about the costs of those quick meals.

Costs, you say....those meals are cheap ! You could not beat the 99 cent menu or the dollar burgers. I would have agreed up until about 5 hours ago when my dear husband and I sat down for a budget discussion. YUCK !!!

When we realized just how much all of those "dollar meals" were adding up to each week, we were shocked. Gone were the sweet voices singing the praises of an apple pie, replaced were the cold hard facts hitting us right between the eyes !

I don't want to put the amount in writing it was much to painful to see once, so why do it again. But trust me it was really, really awful !

So I sat and thought about how to change this habit. The choices were simple either get another job to offset the cost or find my way back to my love of fixing and preparing good, quality meals for the ones I love, my family.

Here is my mission, I will post my biweekly menu plans that include breakfast, lunch and dinner for a family of four. Also, I will post my receipts from Aldi's and Walmart, any coupons I may use and at the end of the month we will ALL see how closely I have stuck to my budget.

Currently, I spend about $ 250.00 for a two week period. This includes household items and of course pet food.

Menu's will be posted on the 1st and the 16th of the month. Come join me on this journey and maybe you will rediscover your love of cooking too !

Forks at the ready,