it has a reversible tray to carry cupcakes/muffins OR
Being so close to Halloween – we are playing around with the concept of Trick Or Treat! Are we playing a trick on them or is it a real treat?
Today, everyone gets a bag of crayons at snack time — this is not my idea, I saw them Our Best Bites (they have a TON of super cute ideas!)
Here is how we made the Candy Crayons: start with the Butter Spindle pretzel sticks – they are thicker and longer than the normal skinny ones and a package of almond bark (easy to find at Target or Farm and Fleet for about $2)
We melted some white chocolate in the microwave ( cube = about 60 seconds) and added a little food coloring. 1 cube will do 20 pretzels – so I only used 6 cubes, or half a block of the almond bark. We dipped ONLY the ends, as you see here:
It’s almost time to dress the little goblins for school parties, church activities, neighborhood trick-or-treating and more! Most places say “no masks” and parents turn to face paints to complete the costume.
Just one problem- most paints are made in China and contain lead. (sigh)
You can EASILY make it yourself, it cleans off well and is lead free!!! We have shared this recipe at Tupperware parties for over 20 years – enjoy!
Face and Body Paint
2 Tbls Solid Shortening (think Crisco)
1 Tbls Cornstarch
4-5 drops food coloring
Small make-up sponges
I do it in a microwave save dish – zapping 10-15 seconds at a time and removing to stir.
Mix shortening and cornstarch until smooth. Add food coloring. Cool before using – it keeps for up to 3 months, sealed in Tupperware (think Snack Cups or Midgets)!
Use soap and water to remove.
My favorite Crock Pot Ribs recipe! Citrus and herb country-style pork ribs, with the addition of brown sugar, ginger and cloves make these ribs extraordinary and PERFECT for your slow cooker/crock pot!
This is easy to prep ahead of time and freeze, just make sure you have thawed it for 2 days before you cook them.
We prefer boneless pork ribs– so we only eat 3 or so per person…figure accordingly for your family
Crock Pot Ribs
Pork Loin Ribs (12-15) (we like them already cut apart)
1/2 Cup Orange Sauce – Chinese section of the grocery
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
1/4 Cup Lemon Juice
1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1 teaspoon Lemon Pepper Seasoning
1 teaspoon Ground Ginger
1/2 teaspoon Ground Cloves
1 Bay Leaf.
Brown pork ribs in skillet with 2 Tbsp vegetable oil. Place browned ribs and sauce container in slow cooker on low for 6-8 hours. Internal temperature must reach 165 degrees. (*Note: Sauce will not freeze solid, but will keep for up to 4 months in freezer.)
If you are not a fan of sage, use thyme or rosemary instead…but sage compliments it beautifully.
We love this for it’s simplicity — many people add a lot of other veggies to a squash soup – apples, carrots, celery, sweet potatoes, etc and the squash can easily stand alone on it’s own flavor.
The most challenging part of this recipe is dealing with the squash…HOW do you get it peeled, seeded and diced easily?
The picture should make it easier to understand: cut it in two and take off the ends to peel it. THEN, cut in half and remove the seeds — you are now ready to dice it!
NOW, you are ready to make the Squash Soup!
2 tsp olive oil
1 teaspoon ground sage
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp white pepper (black will do – just be more visible)
3 Cups low salt chicken broth
Butternut Squash 1 1/2 pounds of it, after peeling, seeding and cutting into 1 inch squares
In a large pot, over medium heat, saute onion in oil for 4 minutes. Add seasonings, broth and squash. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes, until the squash is tender.
Puree half the soup in a blender, return it to the pot. Still in Parmesan cheese and serve — it makes 6 servings.
***If you are like me and prefer the Cook Once, Eat Twice idea — this is easy to double as you are making it AND freezes well. I like to freeze it in smaller portions so it’s ready for simple lunches or dropping off at a sick friends.
This recipe collection will keep that from happening!
With farm stand pumpkins averaging about $.50/# —
this is a great way to make your own pumpkin for pies, cakes, pumpkin crisp, muffins and more!
Less preservatives, supporting your local farmers and another fun family activity that you could included the kids in —
you could can the results or simply freeze them.
Check out The Happy Housewife’s great tutorial HERE .
In her post she said she paid $.99/# — double about the local Wisconsin rate. Following her math, we would be spending about $.55 for 16 ounces of pumpkin (small can) – which is about 1/4 the price of canned pumpkin at the stores right now and what most recipes call for.
Besides the fact that homemade cookies are healthier for you (no preservatives, etc) – simply taste better!
We scored a bunch of large M&M bags at Walgreen’s a few weeks ago, thanks to the coupons and $5 RR when you bought 4 bags – so each bag was just $.50. Compare that to the going price of chocolate chips right now ($2.79 a bag) — and that 4 bags makes 6 batches of these cookies, you have a deal!
These spread out nicely to a 4 inch size if you use a “cookie scoop” to put them on the baking sheets. Keep that in mind if you are like me, and have a little helper.
1 Cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 cup shortening
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups candy-coated milk chocolate pieces
What do you do with all that?
In a large bowl put the sugar, eggs, shortening, and vanilla. You can have little people help you measure, then you want to mix thoroughly. Add flour, salt, and baking soda to creamed mixture. Blend well. Then fold in 3/4 cup of M&M candies.
Drop dough by teaspoonful onto cookie sheet. If you use a cookie scoop – it will make for larger cookies, almost twice the size. (it’s how we like them, LOL) Slightly push a few candies on top of each dough ball with remaining candies — this is a GREAT assignment for little people!
Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 9 to 11 minutes, to your liking. Put on a cooling rack right away and notice how they crispen up as they cool. When you flatten the cookies before hand, they could come out like this:
I mentioned before that grocery stores have selling cycles for their meat…depending on the store, it runs 6, 7 or 8 weeks before they repeat. If you don’t believe me, you can save the weekly adds for your store of choice and check it out yourself.
HOW does this knowledge help you? it can cut the amount you spend on meat by 50-70%! Let me show you how.
Easter is this weekend, no surprise if you have been watching the calendar — but Ham is the hot sale item of the week. Most stores will have a deal where it runs about $.88 a pound versus the normal $3-5! Don’t just look at this week while you are making the grocery list — plan ahead a little as it freezes beautifully!
First of all, I prefer a bone – in ham. That ham bone, when boiled down makes a fantastic base for soups like bean or split pea. That flavor simply can not be created with soup base! My Easter hams (we cook 2-3 ‘cuz we have a large family) will all be bone in and then the bones will be frozen after any excess meat is trimmed off.
I like a couple of no-bone hams to prep for future meals. Most stores, if they have a deli inside them, will take the ham and cut it for you – no extra charge. I usually get 3-5 hams
Ham steaks – take TWO hams and have them make nice half inch slices that are easy to pan fry for a quick supper or great for a brunch. One of the hams you will dice the slices when you get home, package in 2 cup portions and freeze. You now have diced ham ready for omelets, to add to soups, to add to scalloped potatoes, and more!
Sandwiches – take one ham and have them slice a little thinner and trim to English Muffin size for those quick and easy ham/egg/cheese sandwiches…or great for lunch meat!
Shaved – take one ham and have them shave half of it thin. This is great for everything from wrapping around fresh asparagus (deeply discounted right now too!) and baking to making the appetizers where you spread cream cheese on it and wrap around a dill pickle spear and slice. Keep in mind that Deli shaved at the store is usually $4.99 a pound!
Grind it – This is where you use the other half of the ham that the deli didn’t shave! One of my favorite and SUPER easy to make is this sandwich spread: coarsely grind up 1# of ham and dump in a large bowl. Then grind up 1/2 # of cheddar cheese and add to that same bowl, then grind 1 large jar of Milwaukee Dill or Sweet pickles (drained first) and add to that bowl. Grab a spatula and stir all three items to evenly combine. You can either freeze this mix to finish later or go right ahead and stir in Miracle Whip or Mayonnaise until it is the consistency you like. It is a very flavorful and easy sandwich spread that even doubles as an appetizer in a pinch when put on crackers! I gave you the ratio, it is SOOOOO easy to make double, triple batches and freeze, but you must only freeze the mix before you add the white stuff…it won’t freeze well if you have the white stuff already added.
Just look – we have ham ready for Easter and added 4 hams to the freezer, all ready for future meals. I find the average ham is 4 pounds..so that is 16 pounds of ham/meat for $14.08 instead of (at $4/#) $64.00 — you saved at least $50!!
My store has an 8 week cycle which means ham will be on sale only six times this year…six times, saving $50 = another $300 saved in a year!
Ham dinner – ham and eggs – soups – scalloped potatoes with ham – omelettes – egg sandwiches – lunch meat – ham mornay – ham and asparagus bundles (topped with hollandaise sauce!) – ham pickle roll ups – sandwich spread – canapes and ore for just $14.
What do you like to do with ham? Share with us!