I bought this for a $1.00...
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
I bought this for a $1.00...
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
First I saw this airplane for $5.99. The blue is the exact match to the my son's blue dresser. The light oak/pine stain doesn't match his bed (which I'll save for another post), but I can stain it to match.
What do you think of me "going out for milk"? I hope hubby doesn't get wise to my ways.
It's the first big one we've had this year. The kids started asking right away... "Can we go outside? Can we go outside?" I told them "yeap as soon as I get a cup or two of coffee into me. As I took my last sip of coffee I turned around to see all three of them with their snow gear on.
So off we went...
They had lots of fun... for free.
Sunday, December 27, 2009
As soon as I got in the store the nice cashier yelled out "were closing in 15 minutes". It was 3:45, I thought for sure I had at least 1 and 15 minutes to look around. But, nope not today... they were closing in 15 minutes! So I made a beeline to the back of the store to see what goodies I could find.
Saturday, December 26, 2009
Try these ideas:
- Next day Turkey Soup - from Recipe Girl
- Turkey Tortilla Soup - from Better Homes and Gardens
- Quick Turkey Empanadas - Gather.com
And of course there is also Turkey Salad. Just sprinkle cut -up turkey over salad greens and cut up veggies and add your favourite salad dressing and you have a healthy meal in minutes.
It's crazy to think that ANYTHING will get accomplished over the next week while the kids are home from school. So I'm not even going to try.
However, before I start any projects around the house, I am going to follow Centsational Girl's lead and aim for the first week of the year to simplify my life around here.
- January 4 - Declutter
- January 5 - Donate/Recycle
- January 6- Organize
- January 7 - Store/File
- January 8 - Clean
Thursday, December 24, 2009
No Bake Cookies
- 1 3/4 cups white sugar
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 cup butter
- 4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter
- 3 cups quick-cooking oats
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, milk, butter, and cocoa. Bring to a boil, and cook for 1 1/2 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in peanut butter, oats, and vanilla. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto wax paper. Let cool until hardened.
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
- 35 saltine crackers
- 1/2 c. butter
- 1/2 c. sugar
- 1 pkg. (12 oz.) semi-sweet chocolate chips
- toffee bits or chopped walnuts for topping
Stirring frequently, melt butter and sugar together in a small saucepan. Stir until bubbly.
Pour butter mixture over crackers. Spread with a spoon. Bake at 400° for 5 minutes.
Sprinkle chocolate chips evenly over the top. Return to the oven for 2 minutes.
Spread melted chocolate chips evenly over crackers.
Top with chopped walnuts or toffee bits.
Set aside to cool. Refrigerate until set. Break crackers into pieces for serving.
Monday, December 21, 2009
- 1 c. butter, softened
- 1/4 c. powdered sugar
- 1 t. almond extract (or 2 t. vanilla)
- 2 c. flour
- 1 c. coarsely crushed pecans
- 1 small jar maraschino cherry halves
1. Beat butter until creamy. Add powdered sugar, extract and flour. Mix until combined and dough comes together.
2. Roll teaspoons of dough into balls then roll in crushed pecans to coat. Place balls on a baking sheet and make a finger-sized indentation in each ball. Place one cherry half in each cookie.
3. Bake at 325 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Cool on wire racks.
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Candy Cane Snowballs
- 3 c. powdered sugar, divided
- 1 1/4 c butter, softened
- 2 t. vanilla (or if you’d prefer a stronger peppermint flavor, you can replace 1 t. of vanilla with a teaspoon of peppermint extract)
- 1 egg
- 3 c. flour
- 1 T. baking powder
- 1/2 t. salt
- 3/4 c. finely crushed candy canes, divided
- 1/2 c. granulated sugar
- 2-3 T. milk
1. In a mixing bowl, beat 1 1/2 cup powdered sugar and butter until fluffy. Add vanilla and egg and beat until combined.
2. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Stir to combine. Slowly add to mixing bowl, beating until combined, about 1 minute. Stir 1/2 cup finely crushed candy canes in by hand.
3. Roll dough into small balls using just under a teaspoon of dough. Rolls balls through granulated sugar to coat and place on baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Cool.
4. While cookies bake, stir together remaining 1 1/2 c. powdered sugar with 2-3 T. of milk. Add just enough milk to form a thick glaze. Drizzle over cooled cookies and top with remaining crushed candy canes immediately.
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Peanut Butter Kisses
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 cup peanut butter
- 1 egg
- 18 milk chocolate candy kisses, unwrapped
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Combine sugar, peanut butter, and egg.
- Shape into 1 inch balls and place on ungreased cookie sheet. NOTE: If dough is too sticky, refrigerate 1/2 hour or until easy to handle.
- Bake for 10 minutes. Remove cookies from oven. Press a chocolate kiss into the center of each warm cookie.
Friday, December 18, 2009
Bown Sugar Buttons
1 cup Butter
- 1 cup Brown Sugar
- 1 tsp Vanilla
- 2 cups All purpose Flour
Icing Sugar for decorating
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Beat butter, brown sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add Flour and cornstarch. Mix until dough forms.
Roll into 1 inch balls. Place on parchment lined cookie sheets. Flatten slightly
Bake in preheated oven 10 minutes. Remove, place on wire rack. With a wooden skewer or toothpick poke 4 holes in warm cookies to make button holes. Cool and dust with icing sugar.
Can be frozen.
- Wash and pick over cranberries. In a saucepan bring to a boil water and sugar, stirring to dissolve sugar. Add cranberries, return to a boil. Reduce heat, simmer for 10 minutes or until cranberries burst.
- At this point you can add all number of optional ingredients. We typically mix in a half a cup of roughly chopped pecans with or without a few strips of orange zest. You can add a cup of raisins or currants. You can add up to a pint of fresh or frozen blueberries for added sweetness. Spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg or allspice can be added too.
- Remove from heat. Cool completely at room temperature and then chill in refrigerator. Cranberry sauce will thicken as it cools.
Cranberry sauce base makes 2 1/4 cups.
- For The Cook - Family Recipes Cookbook - use Dollar sote notebook
- For Everyone on Your List - Utilize Your Hobbies
- Homemade cookies, fudge or cake made from your favorite recipe
- Homemade pie from your favorite recipe made with fruit from a re-purposed fruit basket!
- Packaged herbs from your herb garden or herbs & oil in a bottle
- Share some of the delicious canned goods made from fruits/veggies in your garden
- Bulbs from your garden
3. For The Parents/Spouse/Neighbor - Coupons
4. For The Busy Couple - Date Night in a Box
5. For Grandparents - Unexpected Gift From Around the House - Kids Artwork
6. For Grandparents - DVD Photo Slideshow or Homemade Photo Albums
7. For Anyone - Use Miles for Flights, Gifts, Gift Cards and Subscriptions
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Aunt Kathleen's Cheesecake
Graham Cracker crumbs
1 pkg Dream Whip
1 8oz (large) Cream Cheese
1 cup Icing Sugar
I can of Cherry Topping (or any other flavour)
Mix crumbs according to directions on box. Bake and then cool completely.
Mix Dream Whip according to package and then add cream cheese, mix together.
Thoroughly add icing sugar. Mix well. Put cheese mixture on top of crumbs. Top with Cherry topping.
Chill in fridge for 4 hours or for best results make it the day before serving.
You can use 9x13 pan for double recipe or 8 inch pan for single recipe.
This recipe is certainly one that the kids enjoy helping with and "taste testing"!! We used two kinds of jams that we had in the fridge. Do not add Jam if you plan on freezing. Add the jam just before serving
- 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup chopped pecans
- 1/3 cup apricot preserves
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets.
- Separate egg, reserving egg white. Cream butter or margarine, sugar and egg yolk.
- Add vanilla, flour and salt, mixing well.
- Shape dough into balls. Roll in egg white, then nuts. Place on cookie sheets about 2 inches apart. Bake for 5 minutes.
- Remove cookies from oven. With thumb, dent each cookie. Put jelly or preserves in each thumbprint. Bake for another 8 minutes.
- 2/3 cup Wild/White rice blend
- 2/3 cup Butter
- 4 Cups Finely Chopped onions
- 2 Cups Diced celery
- 2 tbsp Crumbled dried sage
- 1 tsp Dried thyme
- 1/2 tsp each salt and pepper
- 16 cup Stale bread cubes
- 1/2 cup Chopped fresh parsley
- 1 cup Chicken Stock
In a large pot of lightly salted boiling water, cook rice as directed on package.
Meanwhile in a skillet, melt butter over medium heat; cook onions, celery, sage, thyme, sand and peper, stirring often, for about 10 minutes or until tender. Add rice. Cook, stirring for 5 minutes. In a large bowl, toss together bread, parsley, onion mixture; drizzle with stock in 4 additions, tossing well after each.
(Stuffing can be covered and refrigerated for up to 24 hours.)
Transfer to greased 9x13 baking dish and bake covered at 350 until heated through. Uncover and continue baking for another 15 minutes until the top starts to brown.
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
- 3 (10 ounce) bags checkerboard or windowpane shaped pretzels
- 1 (17 5/8 ounce) bag holiday M&M's plain chocolate candies (red & green)
- 3 (13 ounce) bags Hershey's Hugs chocolates
- 3 (13 ounce) bags Hershey's chocolate kissesPreheat oven to 170 degrees.
Open the bags of pretzels and remove all the unbroken pretzels.
Place them on waxed paper-lined cookie sheets in a single layer.
Unwrap Hugs, place one on each pretzel, repeat for an entire cookie sheet.
DO ONLY ONE TYPE OF CANDY PER SHEET, as the Hugs melt much quicker than the Kisses.
Repeat using the Hershey Kisses.
Place cookie sheet/s in the preheated oven, bake for 4 MINUTES FOR THE SHEET OF pretzels and HUGS, 5-6 minutes for the pretzels and Kisses.
Immediately upon removing from the oven, place one M-n-M on top of each pretzel/chocolate.
Place cookie sheet in freezer for 8-10 minutes, to allow chocolate to re-set.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
(We omitted the the nuts in case their are any nut allergies in the families. We added to the instructions attached to jar "to add 1/2 cup of chopped pecans or Walnuts")
Chocolate Chunk Cookie Mix in a Jar
A list of ingredients you will need:
- 1 1/4 cups - all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon - baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon - salt
- 1/2 cup - firmly packed Domino® Light Brown Sugar
- 1/3 cup - Domino® Granulated Sugar
- 1 cup - (6-oz pkg.) semi-sweet chocolate chunks or chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup - chopped pecans or walnuts
Combine flour, baking soda and salt in a small bowl. Spoon into 1-quart, widemouthed canning jar. Layer remaining ingredients in order given, making sure to pack down each layer firmly and clean inside of jar with a dry paper towel after each layer. Decorate lid by cutting fabric into a 7-inch wide square or circle. Secure with a rubber band and tie with a decorative ribbon and accents.
Attach these instructions to the jar:
In large mixing bowl, cream together 2/3 cup softened butter or margarine, 1 egg, 1 teaspoon water and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla until light and fluffy.Add contents of jar and mix well. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake at 375°F for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned.Makes about 3 dozen cookies
Monday, December 14, 2009
Again we are on Monthly Budgeted amount and we are currently paying $285.00, but that's the budget coming from the summer even though we only used the Air conditioner for about 3 weeks this summer, the pool and pool equipment I'm sure brought the number up. This time last year it was $260.
Mission: Lower it by 2% of budgeted amount for this time last year. Which would be $254.80.
With a quick search on the Internet I came across the following on HGTV.CA:
10 Ways to Save on Your Hydro Bill Now
By Marissa Ponikowski
Living green is easy—and cheap! So if you want to lower your hydro bill and contribute to the health of the environment, read on!
Inefficient cooking practices can be a huge energy waster! Be a bit more conservative by keeping a lid on pots while boiling and simmering. Use the toaster oven rather than the electric oven when cooking small items, and choose a hand-held blender over a food processor whenever possible. Thaw frozen food completely to save on cooking time, and be sure to keep your oven door closed as much as possible. Peeking inside can cause as much as 20 per cent of the heat to escape – meaning your oven has to work hard to heat itself up again!
2. Food Storage
Stop opening the fridge or freezer just to peek inside and decide what you feel like munching on! Also, don’t overstuff your freezer. This affects the efficiency of the appliance. Finally, clean the cooling coils on your refrigerator regularly to ensure they always perform well.
Always load your dishwasher correctly to ensure each dish is cleaned properly. And forget about rinsing dishes thoroughly before putting them in the machine – that’s what the dishwasher is for, so scrape, don’t rinse! Only wash full loads and always use the shortest wash cycle. And air dry dishes rather than using your dishwasher’s wasteful drying cycle.
Wash and rinse clothes in cold water whenever possible – for this purpose, try investing in a detergent designed for cold water washes. Presoak heavily soiled garments rather than running them through the heavy duty wash setting. And don’t use too much detergent. This only causes the machine to have to work harder. Finally, don’t overload the dryer, and, when possible, air dry clothes, towels, sheets and comforters on an outdoor line.
5. Air Conditioning
A few carefully placed fans can create an impressive cross-breeze that can feel even better than AC on a warm day. Also try keeping curtains and shades closed on hot and sunny days and always ensure that the ‘fresh air’ vent on your machine is closed. If it isn’t, you’re likely wasting money cooling down outside air. Finally, always make sure your outdoor air conditioning unit is kept free of leaves and debris and clean the filter regularly.
It’s not always necessary to crank the heat in winter – sometimes an extra blanket or a cozy sweatshirt works just as well, and it’s free! Always remember to keep basement, attic and garage doors closed, and try using a ceiling fan on low speed to spread heat evenly around a room. Use programmable thermostats to help regulate heat when you’re not home.
Open blinds or shades during the day rather than turning on lights. Make the switch to fluorescent bulbs, which use much less energy then traditional incandescent bulbs and last six times longer. Place lamps in the corners of rooms to ensure more even light distribution, and consider installing ‘task’ lighting in areas such as kitchens and bathrooms.
Hot baths and long showers certainly are luxurious, but when attempting to cut back on that hydro bill, they can be a real drain. Reduce time spent in the tub and also install low-flow showerheads and hot water heater timers. Finally, buy an insulating cover for your water heater and pipes.
Heat loss due to poor insulation is a major contributor to wasted energy. Ensure floors, walls and roof are properly insulated. If you find areas in your home that are lacking, call in a professional to blow in insulation or do the job yourself with fiberglass bats. Seal gaps and cracks in windows and doors with caulking and weather-stripping, too.
Turn down the brightness on your monitor, and always remember to turn off your computer when not in use. Shut down other equipment, such as printers, too, rather than leaving them to run unattended. Set all household computers to enter ‘sleep mode’ after a few minutes of lying dormant. And try replacing energy wasting CRT monitors with new LCD monitors.
My friend Amanda shared this recipe with me many years ago, and now my kids request it every year around Christmas time.
Amanda's Ginger Snaps Cookies
3/4 cup Butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup Molasses
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp Baking soda
2 tsp ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
Cream butter and first amount of sugar well. Beat in egg. Mix in molasses.
Stir flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon and salt together and add. Mix well. Shape into 1 inch balls.
Roll in sugar and place on greased baking sheet.
Bake in 350 F oven for 10 -12 minutes. Makes 6 dozen.
these snaps have a crackle tops and a spicy flavour. They freeze well... if they last that long!
I bought the Pork loin Centre meat on sale at $4.34kg - which was a cost to me of $6.14 divided by 2 meals $3.07. We had half of it for dinner and I froze the other roasted half for another night. The ingredients consisted of can of diced tomatoes with herbs & spices bought for $0.89 on sale and pouch of Lipton's onion soup ($0.50). I served it with green beans and potatoes. The total meal came in under $5. And delicious!
Roasted Pork Loin with Tomatoe Sauce
- 1 Pork loin
- 1 can of Diced tomatoes with herb & spices
- 1 pouch of onion soup
- 1 cup of water
- Salt & Pepper
Roast uncovered in oven at 400 degrees for 60 minutes until meat thermometer reads 160.
Let rest for 10 minutes before carving.
(You could also use crock pot for 6-8 hours)
Sunday, December 13, 2009
- 2 Egg Whites
- 1 cup Granulated Sugar
- 1 tsp Vanilla
- 2 Cups Corn Flakes
- 1/2 cup Chopped Pecans or Walnuts
- 1 cup Fancy flake coconut
Beat Egg whites in small bowl until stiff. Transfer to a large bowl.
Sprinkle 1/3 sugar over at a time, folding in after each addition. Fold in vanilla.
Fold in corn flakes, pecans and coconut. Form mounds of about 1 rounded teaspoon. Place about 1 inch (2.5 cm) apart unto greased baking sheet. Bake in 350*F (175*C) over for about 15 minutes. Makes 24 cookies.
I know there are alot of websites geared to let you know the sales and best deals out there. I know this because I've checked them out myself. There is one though that I've become familiar, and comfortable and find my way there just about every day.
It's Frugal Shopper Canada !
This website is organized in a logical manner and it's easy to look around. There is a Forum where you can find friendly ladies and gents that are resourceful and know where the latest deals can be found and are not afraid to share them.
Every week there is a thread posted about this Weeks deals, including which coupons you can use to get an even better deal. And if you are a coupon collector like me, this information is invaluable because I usually forget which ones I have to use. This thread is great if you are on a budget and want to get the most for your grocery dollar.
My other favourite place to look is in the Shopping Brags section of the Forum. This is where the member posts a "really good deal" and if you are lucky and check out the same store you might be able to get that same unadvertised deal as well. Of course I've found that most of these posts are time sensitive and you need to act fast.
Won't you join me?
Saturday, December 12, 2009
Sandy's Jalapeno Dip
6 large sausages
1 jar of Ragu tomatoe sauce
3-6 jalapeno peppers chopped (use gloves)
1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese
Take meat out of casings and fry it up. When the meat is almost cooked add chopped jalapeno to saute.
Add Ragu sauce until thickened.
Pour mixture into 8 x8 casserole dish and spread the cheese on top.
Bake at 350 degrees until cheese is melted.
Serve with tortilla chips.
With the cold weather comes the necessity to stay warm. Well guess what? All week long I've been complaining about the cold drafts throughout the house. While I was working our family budget I noticed that our heating bill from last year was $156 for the month (we are on Equal Billing Plan). I am determined to lower that number by a few dollars each month, by making hour house more energy efficient.
According to Consumer Energy Center website, Heating and Cooling accounts for about 45% of your energy bill and making some small changes can lower your bill as much as 2%. For us that equal to $3.12 for the peak winter months.
So yesterday, off I go to our local Home Depot to check out what they had to stop the leaking of energy from our house.
After looking around, I grabbed the following things to start with:
- Electrical Outlet And Switch Insulator
Foam Draft Strips for windows and Doors. Be careful to get the right width to fit your gaps.
And then I had some safety outlet plugs from baby proofing, so I made sure each outside wall plug had one. Even the ones behind the couch that are not being used.
So that's my start. I wonder what my bill will look like this time next year. Anyone else have tips for me??
Friday, December 11, 2009
Uncle Richard's Lentil Soup!
2 -3 carrots (diced)
1 onion (diced)
2 potatoes (diced)
(1 leek, optional)
(1 cup of chopped cooked ham, optional)
1 chicken stock cube
2 cups of red lentils - dried
Put all ingredients in Dutch oven and add enough water to cover. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 1- 2 hours.
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Just to clarify, my name is not Robin; but originally this recipe was introduced to me about 13 years by my good friend Robin. So here it is... Free!
ROBIN'S HASH BROWN CASSEROLE
- Bag of Hash Browns
- 1 cup of Sour Cream ( I don't like the fat-free)
- 2 cans of Cream of Chicken Soup
- 3 cups of cheddar cheese, grated (save some for sprinkling on top)
- 1 onion, diced
- salt & pepper
Heat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl mix all the ingredients above. I usually add 1 tbsp of pepper, because I like it "peppery". Spread the mixture in glass 9x 13 dish. Sprinkle some extra cheese on top. Bake in oven uncovered for 60 minutes.
I'm a big fan of Gail VAz-Oxlade and I can often be found watching re-runs of Til Debt Do Us Part.
On Gail's personal site she offers Gail’s Guide to Building a Budget. It seems pretty easy enough. I just took a quick look at the interactive budget worksheet and I have ABSOLUTELY NO CLUE how much our monthly income is and what our fixed and variable expenses are. OH BOY! Well I guess that's why I'm starting on this journey. Gail I will make you proud!