Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Want to Win a Prize?

Don't Read This It's Boring written by simpleslug is offering a giveaway to someone within North America.  Sluggy is a daily read of mine, hope she becomes one of your's too!  Here is a link to her giveaway

http://simpleslug.blogspot.com/2015/02/giveaway-2-for-2015pamper-yourself.html#comment-form

Monday, February 23, 2015

Kings Hawaiian House Party

We had a blast with all the props and the games.  Everyone took home coupons, shopping bags and shell leis.  The younger guests really enjoyed the leis!





Apron recipients!  Oops, should have told them to put them ON!  Taking turns acting out (Charades) style the Best Picture Titles. 


I received these delicious Kings Hawaiian rolls and breads FREE!   I prepared several recipes to be enjoyed.  


I chose to make Breakfast Lunch and Dinner recipes to see how the bread/rolls held up with each choice.  For the breakfast course we tried French Toast.  4 eggs, a splash of organic milk, 3 Tbsn vanilla extract and 2 Tbsp of cinnamon.   I pan fried the toast, but in retrospect I think baking on parchment might have been a better choice.  Or perhaps a french toast casserole.  The bread just soaked up all the batter!  But, it was tasty.  Served it with turkey breakfast sausage and organic maple syrup PLUS homemade butter.  



I didn't get pictures of plated lunch and dinner, but we had tuna salad on Kings Hawaiian Butter Rolls and Pumpkin Soup served with Kings Hawaiian Sweet Rolls.  Was a great day!

You can try and host a House Party too.  All the Kings Hawaiian products served were FREE, all the props, bags, coupons and aprons were also donated by Kings Hawaiian.  Fun Fun times. 

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Banana Nutella Bread Creation

Another experiment!


I tweaked this from the paleo mama.  Here is a link to the original recipe  http://thepaleomama.com/2014/05/cinnamon-chocolate-swirl-bread/






Ingredients:
  • 4 medium bananas 
  • 3/4 up egg whites
  • ¼ cup butter
  • ½ cup nutella
  • ½ cup coconut flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
  • pinch of sea salt
  • two tablespoons organic honey
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips (I used toll house)
Instructions: 
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F Grease a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan.
  2. Combine the bananas, eggs, butter, and Nutella in a food processor or mixing bowl and mix well until the ingredients are well blended. Add the coconut flour, baking soda, baking powder, vanilla, and salt and mix together well.
  3. Add chocolate chips and honey, mix thoroughly.  I used my immersion blender for this (I use my immersion blender more than any other tool)
  4. Pour the bread batter into the prepared pan and spread it out evenly. As soon as you pour the batter, pour the chocolate swirl directly on top and use a knife to swirl the chocolate throughout the loaf pan.
  5. Bake for 60 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the middle. Remove from oven and let cool in the pan for 15 minutes before serving.
Final Verdict.  Very moist.  My knife came out clean in two spots, I let it cool for two hours before I cut into it.  I ate just a forkful, and it is delicious.  Definitely can taste/feel the coconut flour, which means you better like coconut.  (I do)  If I were to cut this bread/cake for 10 equal slices the calorie count will be 226 calories.  I tend to not eat a lot of my creations, just taste.  But I get great joy out of the actual act of baking, and then sharing.  I feel that this would be good in a round casserole dish served like a spoon bread/pudding with a but of whipped cream.  A good option for those trying to stay away from gluten (as I try to do)

Zaycon give away! (referral link)




Zaycon is again having a sweepstakes.  You could win a brand new Deep Freezer loaded with Zaycon and Chicken Soup for the soul products.    I have been purchasing Zaycon products now since my dear friend Margaret H got me hooked.  We have gotten ground beef, boneless chicken breasts and soon Beef roasts.  I hope to get Bacon and Sausage soon too!

Here is a link to enter to sweepstakes.  I don't benefit from you entering this contest, I just want to share the opportunity!


Zaycon meats are all produced in the USA.  You buy in bulk, and reap the benefits of knowing the products (some)  are hormone and antibiotic free, locally raised and have no artificial ingredients or fillers.    You arrive at your pickup location at a set time (usually a 15 minute window) and they check your name and then load up your car for you.  

I not only enjoy being able to provide meat proteins to my family at a price i can manage, but the friendship and social time with other like minded women when we split and process the meats is priceless to me. 

If you think you might be interested in trying Zaycon products in the future, I would appreciate your going through my referral link.  For everyone who purchases after having registered from my link I receive a $1.00 credit.  Here is my referral link:  https://www.zayconfoods.com/refer/zf289327

Good Luck!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Shopping today and a Balance Rewards Deal!

Today I went to BJ's, I had a $3.00 coupon off of fresh salmon.    I got a big boneless filet, enough for two days worth of meals.  Some Snapea baked peas for myself, some trail mix for DH, 1.35 pounds of Irish Cheddar, 10 pounds of Green Giant large Russet potatoes (DH request, works out to .39 a pound), 3 pounds of long and  thin sweet potatoes (1.99) and a frozen bag of Barramundi filets (24 ounces).  Total spent was 65.97

I then went to Walgreens to pick up two scripts for myself.  Really loving the new insurance plan.  What used to be almost 30 dollar copay was now cut in half.  I then went to see if any canned fish was on sale (listening to CTMOM's previous mention of it sometimes being on special at this store)

I didn't find any canned fish deals, but I did see Last Chance stickers on Libby's 100% pumpkin.  .69 a can.  Usually 1.99 without a sale (according to the shelf tag!)   I grabbed the last three.  Sure enough, they rang up .69 each.  But it got sweeter!   


I was all prepared to shell over $2.07 after tax.  This was a steal.  Then the cashier asked if I would like to use my Reward Points?  What?  I thought I had used up all my points.  He claimed if I entered in my zipcode I would only pay .07.    Here's the proof!



Still don't understand this Balance Reward completely.  Walgreen's seems to limit when they show up on the register.  But I'll take free cans of Pumpkin!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Barely shopping this month and what HAVE we been eating

EXcept for shopping the last week in January, then a quick run into BJ's for milk and eggs, I haven't done any shopping this month besides two trips to the produce market.  I have spent less than $217.00!

So, what have we been eating?  I have been using everything I can from our freezers and pantry.

We have had Moroccan Pork Stew, Indian chicken and rice, Pork Roast (purchased a whole loin for 1.99 a pound from Shop-rite) Valentines Day was filet mignon (purchased a whole loin for 8.99 a pound, also from Shop-rite) asparagus, mushrooms and baked potatoes.  I've also made fake baked potato soup (cauliflower) and today I made stew.

This time I cut up one of our locally grass fed chuck steaks.  DH has not been happy with the way the steaks have been cut, so rather than listen to him remind me we aren't buying from this farm again (he loved them the first year..........I honestly cannot figure out why he's not happy) I decided to use it up a different way.


I took the steak out of the freezer last night.  It was still icy this morning at 6 am, which was exactly what I wanted.  So easy to cut up.  As I cut it up into cubes in batches, I browned it in some olive oil.  When all the meat was browned, I added more olive oil then two diced onions.  Some Amore garlic paste too.  Browned it all up, added it to the crock pot.


Then I de-glazed the pan with some red wine and Swanson beef broth.  Added that to the meat and onions in the crock pot. Half of an already opened Amore tomato paste tube (just missing a single Tablespoon).  Worcestershire Sauce and the rest of the beef broth.

These Amore tubes are something I had coupons for and they amazingly were on sale at Big Y a while ago.  They are still within date, but I figured I had better find ways to use them to see if they are worth the extra funds.  Jury is still out on this one.

Two white potatoes (our last) diced up, one sweet potato (also last) diced up.  Three whole carrots peeled and diced.  Of course all peelings of veges kept and added to the freezer stock pot bag.


It smells divine.  I will take a taste of the broth, but DH and I won't be eating it, we are going into Manhattan today!




Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Snow/Ice Day Baking and Cooking

I actually started baking yesterday *Super Bowl Sunday*.  I made brownies yesterday, and prepped a crockpot Sunday morning with half a turkey carcass (got enough meat off of it for two pots of soup even before I cooked it) onion skins, carrot peelings and celery ends.  I let this run for 24 hours.  Oh the color is gorgeous.





It's actually so cold in our garage that I'm storing this stock out there as the reused container I have it in will not fit in either fridge.

I have another tupperware ready with vegetable peelings and the other half of the carcass to make more stock tonight.

I had assorted picking things for when DH got home from a fencing event, and we enjoyed the Super Bowl (we are more commercial half time people rather than football people).  There was one cup of the Shrimp Corn Chowder from a previous post set aside for him.


Today I did a great workout (already over 13k steps) and continued doing laundry.

I made breakfast sandwiches with four pork sausage patties from our 1/2 a pig purchase, with one farm fresh egg per sandwich (from a students family) and english muffins.  I enjoyed one, DH had two and Gpa P had one (as well as several slices of a stuffed bread and some leftover tasties from yesterday. .

I  made meatballs and sauce (another DH request when I'm home) which will be all ready when he is done snow-blowing.

I also am trying a new recipe, as I had a plethora of frozen bananas, and we have gotten tired of the usual banana bread.

So, I tweaked a few recipes I read online for Banana Nutella Muffins.  This is what I came up with.



I preheated oven to 350 degrees and I sprayed an OVERSIZED 6 muffin tin.


1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 medium over-ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 large egg
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
nutella

I mixed all the ingredients minus the nutella, and I put a tspn full (I had just enough left) on the top of each muffin, just smooshing it down into the batter. 









Home made pizza on the cheap. .



Not something we would have normally purchased for ourselves, however two Christmas' ago, my Uncle gave us a very expensive gift from Williams Sonoma that was defective.  When we returned it to the store we found out that all of this particular item was being returned...apparently it was not as ready for production as they thought.

DH had been looking at this pizza maker for months, but we never would spend money on a 'only one job' item.  However now we had a very huge store credit at WS, so we agreed to spend it on this item.

It actually has been a good purchase, we have used it often...however I wanted to stop purchasing store made dough.    So I dug out the Tightwad Gazette (I had become a fan when I saw Amy Dacyzyn on the Phil Donahue show back in the late 80's) How is THAT for dating myself?

Tightwad Gazette Food Processor Pizza Dough
½ to ¾ cup warm water
2 ¼ tsp dry yeast
1 tsp sugar
2 c unbleached all purpose flour
1 Tbsp oil
½ tsp salt

First, combine ¼ cup of warm water with yeast and sugar.  Stir to dissolve yeast, Let stand 5 minutes til bubbly.

In food processor, blend flour, oil and salt for 5 seconds.  Add yeast mixture and process 10 more seconds until blended.  With processor running slowly drizzle in warm water until the dough forms a ball.  Don’t overprocess!


Let rise for 10 minutes.  Roll or press out.  Done!

I made three batches of dough.  DH rolled the crust to be very thin.  We made two cheese pizzas and one with 12 slices of pepperoni added.  I am excited to do the breakdown in cost.

6 cups of flour equaled .36 (I purchase flour when I can get it for .99 a five pound bag)
3 Tbsp olive oil .60
salt (free)
1 Tbsp sugar .05
3 Tspn yeast .22
1/2 jar of Colonna marinara sauce .44
1 eight ounce bag of Shop Rite shredded pizza cheese 1.49
12 slices of pepperoni .50

Total cost was $3.66.  We made 3 pizzas (and I have 1 and 1/2 batches of dough left).  Each pie was cut into 8 slices.  I figured the calories to be 96 per slice as we made very thin pizza and I use a recipe calculator. So much healthier than going out.    4 people ate, total was .92 per person.  So much CHEAPER than going out.  And it tasted better.

Best Bread I have ever made

I have been doing weekly experiments with wheat breads.  This week was Kefir Whey Whole Wheat Honey Bread.

I mixed 4 cups of whole wheat with 2 cups of 2% kefir whey leftover from making Kefir Cheese.  I added one (okay perhaps two) TBSP of local honey.  I mixed this all up (I added probably another 1/4 cup of white flour to make it a bit more elastic) and then put it into a greased glass bowl, covering it with a clean tea cloth.

I waited two days.  It had more than doubled in size.  I punched it down last night at around 9 p.m., putting it into a greased bread pan.  I again covered it.

At wake up this morning it had risen to almost the edge of the bread pan.  I put it in the oven at 350 for 58 minutes.  I test by knocking on it.








It was the most delicious bread I have ever made (in terms of savory)  I got a hint of honey in odor and taste.  The crust was very crispy, but the inside was moist and chewy (and very bubbly as you can see)  It was still a very heavy bread, I think I need to use part white bread flour and not just whole wheat.  But the chew/crust/taste was AMAZING if I do say so myself.

Since Gpa P is away in florida for another week, I won't get anyone else's opinion.  DH won't eat wheat bread.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Shrimp and Corn Chowder with found ingredients

DH visits a seafood restaurant about once a month.  Though I don't like the fried options, this seafood spot has an occasional special shrimp and corn chowder.  It is delicious.  But this last time he brought it home for me, I started to think I can recreate this!

Today in going through the freezer I found a bag of cooked shrimp way in the back.  There were 8 medium sized precooked shrimp.  I decided to experiment and see what I could come up with. 

I did a small dice of 4 ready to go celery stalks and one small onion.  I softened these in about two tablespoons of butter.  I cut each shrimp into quarters after defrosting them under running water.  Added them to the pot.  

Half a carton of vegetable broth, two cans of creamed corn (bought by accident when I didn't have my glasses on while shopping) and a slow simmer. 





Final additions were the last of some crumbled bacon (about 1/8 of a cup) and some paprika.  


It was very easy, tastes just as good as the restaurants and a bit less spicy.  

Update.  Gpa P says it's a WINNER!

Purex Deal







I think I am set for laundry detergent for at least 6 months, perhaps even 9 months.  Most exciting part is I only paid for a small bit of it.

Savingstar had a deal to get $5.00 back when you spend $25.00 on Purex.

I bought two Purex 50 ounce bottles at Shop Rite for 1.97 each plus tax.  Total spent 4.19

I purchased four 50 ounce bottles and  eight 18 pod packages at Walgreens when they were on sale three for $6.00.  $24.00 plus tax toaled $25.52.   I used 25 dollars in Balance Rewards (also had a bottle of diet coke for a $1.50 in total) so I spent 1.12 cash out of pocket.

I received $5.00 back already from Savingstar.  Total I spent out of pocket once all said and done was 31 cents!