Saturday, January 31, 2009

Split Pea Soup

It's hard to get kids to try split pea soup. Its green and chunky and looks like baby food. However, once my kids got the "EEWWW, you want ME to eat that?" out of the way, they found that it really is quite tasty. This is our favorite version. We like it a little bit chunky so we cut the vegetables a little bigger. Its simple to make and tastes great on a cool day.

Split Pea Soup

2 cups split peas
1 medium carrot (diced)
1 medium potato (diced)
1/2 medium onion (diced)
1/2 meaty ham bone or 1 1/2 cups cooked ham (diced)
1 bay leaf
Salt and Pepper to taste

Rinse peas and place in to a large stew pot. Add all other ingredients. Cover with water about 2 inches above the top of ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 2 hours, or intil peas are pureed and slightly thickened.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Italian Bread Bowls

Here is a little something for those soups, stews and chowders that you've been making during these cold winter months. These are really easy to make but of course like all bread, they are a bit time consuming. They are worth the extra work if you have the time. If you like bread bowls, this one's a keeper.

Italian Bread Bowls

1 1/2 tablespoons yeast
2 1/2 cups warm water
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
7 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon cornmeal
1 egg white
1 tablespoon water

In a large bowl (or bowl of an electric mixer), dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
Add salt, oil and 4 cups flour to the yeast mixture; beat well. Stir in the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, beating well with an electric mixer at medium speed after each addition until a soft but not sticky dough is formed (you may not need to use all 7 cups)
When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 6 minutes (or let knead in an electric mixer). Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 40 minutes. Punch dough down, and divide into 6-8 equal portions. Shape each portion into a round ball. Place loaves on lightly greased baking sheets sprinkled with cornmeal (or use parchment paper). Cover and let rise in a warm place, free from drafts, until doubled in bulk, about 35 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a small bowl, beat together egg white and 1 tablespoon water; lightly brush the loaves with half of this egg wash. Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes. Brush with remaining egg mixture, and bake 10 to 15 more minutes or until golden. Cool on wire racks.

Friday, January 23, 2009

White Chicken Chili

This recipe comes from a friend of mine who use to live right through the field from our family. This recipe won the chili cook-off last year at our Church and has become a family favorite. I like to cook this in the crock pot. It takes about 4 hours on low. Thank You Regan for the great recipe! By the way, for more great recipes and frugal shopping ideas visit the Grocery Cart Challenge blog here.

White Chicken Chili

Melt 1/2 cube butter
Whisk in 1/4 C. flour

Cook till light brown color.

Gradually add: 2 C. half & half

Add: 3/4 c. chix broth
Stir constantly and simmer till thickened.

1 t. chili pwd.
1 t. cumin
1/2 t. pepper
1/2 t. salt

Then add:

2 chix breasts, cooked & diced
2 (4 oz.) can diced green chilies
2 can navy beans (white)
1 1/2 c. monterey jack cheese

Simmer for ten minutes.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Sugar Cookie Bouquets

The Bakery where I worked part time last summer/fall was always looking for ways to promote their business and come up with new ways to use their baked goods, especially at holiday time. Over Christmas I helped out and was officially named "Sugar Cookie Girl" as my job was hand piping sugar cookies. It seemed like we never had enough and I think we did a record year in the sugar cookie department, at least it felt like it. So, with the popularity of their cookies I was wondering why they didn't sell cookie bouquets. Good question. With Valentines day coming up, the question once again arises "Why don't we sell cookie bouquets?" We have an official Sugar Cookie Girl, lets see what we can do.. Here are the test products ready for display. I've been making these for teachers and friends for years so it is really a fun project for me. We'll see how they do at the bakery... By the way, anyone who wants a step by step demo on my blog of how to make these say "I". If I have enough people I'll see what I can do.

just a note: when I took them into the bakery for the owner to see, a customer quickly ordered one for her anniversary this friday and another 8 or 9 for clients for Valentines. I think these bouquets will do just fine...

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Grocery Cart Challenge

Remember I told you that I wanted to participate in Grocery Cart Challenge? Well, this week is the week. I cut my groceries down by about 30 dollars but I can already see some things that I could improve upon. I will have to do one trip to the store later on in the week for 2 gallons of milk, other than that we're set until next week. Also, we have a little extra because the kids are out of school 2 days this week and they always eat more when they are home.

First our menu for the week and then I'll show you how the shopping went. To see how everyone else on the challenge did click here.

Menu for this week:


Eggs/ toast
Maple & Brown Sugar Oatmeal/ muffins
Cold Cereal
Rice Pudding/ toast
Hashbrowns/ eggs
Cold Cereal


Potato Soup/ bread bowls
Breakfast sandwiches
Enchiladas/ rice
Fried Chicken legs/Baked potatoes
French Toast/sausage
Pot roast/potatoes & gravy/carrots
Homemade pizza


butter $1.49
butter $1.49
cereal $1.99
chicken legs $3.75
apples $1.70
potatoes (10 lbs) $2.50
eggs (2 doz) $1.98

Total: $14.90 +tax

tortilla chips $2.20
cereal $1.48
cereal $1.48
bacon $1.62
english muffins $3.32
sausage $2.98
flour tortillas (qty 2) $2.56
ground beef (maxx pac) $11.97
sandwich ham $2.98
tomato sauce (qty 2) $ .76
ground cinnamin $ .50
pepperoni 2.18
canadian bacon $1.94
carrots $ .98
bananas $1.40
tomatoes $2.28
onion $ .47
avocado $ .68
green onions $1.36
radishes $ .68
muffin mix (bulk) $1.52
Milk (3 gal) $6.21

gel $3.68
tylenol meltaways $3.27

Total 58.50 + tax

Grand T0tal : 73.40 + tax

Friday, January 9, 2009

Creamy Tomato and Basil Soup

I just got this recipe from a lady at our church. It is so easy and very yummy. I used my leftover potatoes and tomatoes that needed to be used in my fridge. Then we enjoyed it with some hot out of the oven Honey Wheat Bread

Cream of Tomato and Basil Soup

1 Tbsp butter
2 C Chicken broth
15 oz Diced tomatoes
11 oz tomato puree
1/2 C Plain mashed potatoes
1 C Half and half
3 Tbsp Fresh basil, chopped*
Salt and Pepper to taste

Combine butter, broth and tomatoes, simmer until reduced by half.
Decrease heat, add tomato puree, potatoes and half and half.
Blend the mixture until smooth in food processor or blender.
Stir in basil and season to taste.

*I dry fresh herbs from the garden in the fall, chop it up and keep them in the freezer. It tastes fresh and is extremely handy, not to mention...great for the budget.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Grocery Cart Challenge

A friend of mine recently sent me the link to a blog called The Grocery Cart Challenge It is put together by a frugal mom named Gayle who stays on budget by spending $60 or less a week on groceries. She does this with 4 children and a husband to feed. It is exciting to see that people can stay on budget and give tips and hints for others who may have some of the same challenges budget wise. With Hubby going back to school this past year our family has had to take a hit in the grocery department. We definitely drink less milk and eat a lot less cold cereal. I have had to rethink my groceries and really plan menus and grocery shopping. I have cut out a lot of junk that we really didn't need anyway and replaced them with healthier snacks that don't break the bank. It is amazing how much food people can waste when they are not paying attention. Next week I'm going to take the challenge. I'll see if I can get a weeks worth of groceries in under $60. I'll let you know how I did and post the items and prices for anyone who is curious to see not only how I did but what I did. Stay tuned... and If you would like to check out Gayle and her frugal ways just click on her link above.. she does an incredible job and has a lot of tips and tricks that you may be interested in.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Taco Soup

What recipe blog would be complete without Taco Soup? Here is the Go-To soup for super quick, super easy and super delicious. Another great thing about this recipe is that it is easy to modify. Sometimes we make it with chicken, sometimes we throw in olives or green peppers or even a can of green chili's, and we almost always add an extra can of beans.

Taco Soup

1 pound ground beef
1 medium onion (chopped)
1 16 oz can whole kernel corn
1 16 oz can kidney beans
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
1 8 oz can tomato sauce
1 pkg taco seasoning

Brown ground beef and onion until brown. Drain. Add remaining ingredients and simmer for about 20-30 minutes. Serve topped with shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream and corn chips.