Thursday, April 30, 2009

Pumpkin Cake with Chocolate Chips

If you've been reading my blog for any length of time, or have perused the archives, you know that awhile back my husband brought home two HUGE cans of pumpkin, totalling about thirteen pounds! Well, today I finally opened the first of those cans. There is a Family Fun Night at the girls' school tomorrow and I signed up to make a couple of cakes for the cake walk. I decided that made it a great time to use some of my excess pumpkin. I ended up using one entire can of it today, and I baked ALLLLLLL day!!

I made my 2 cakes, 3 loaves of pumpkin bread, 2 dozen muffins, a 13x9 iced pumpkin cake, and a batch of pumpkin butter. One of my favorite recipes I made twice - once as a cake for the school and again in 2 loaves of bread (more like cake, but I used a loaf pan....). I thought I would share the recipe!

Pumpkin Cake with Chocolate Chips

4 eggs
2 c. sugar
3/4 c. plain yogurt or applesauce (I tried both, equally good)
1/4 c. oil
2 c. canned pumpkin
2 1/2 c. flour
3 T. cinnamon
2 t. baking powder
2 t. baking soda
3/4 t. salt
1 1/2 c. mini chocolate chips

Combine eggs and sugar in mixing bowl. Stir in yogurt/applesauce and oil, then add pumpkin and mix well.

Combine dry ingredients in separate bowl and combine the two. Fold in the chips.

Pour batter into Bundt pan, 13 x 9 pan, two 8 x 4 loaf pans, or 24-30 muffins. Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes for muffins, 35-40 minutes for 13 x 9 pan, 50-60 minutes for loaf pans, or 1 hour 10 minutes for a Bundt, or until tests done with toothpick.

To really make it decadent, ice with chocolate frosting!! :-) Enjoy!

For more great recipes, visit the Grocery Cart Challenge.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Sonja's Chicken

Okay, so tonight I made Sonja's Chicken from the Living on a Dime newsletter. It was F-A-B-U-L-O-U-S!!! I used bone-in chicken breasts because that's what I had, and the chicken was tender and flavorful, and the gravy was absolutely wonderful! My mother happened to stop by at dinner time and she loved it, too.

I have one piece left for lunch tomorrow, and quite a bit of the gravy. So, since that gravy was so good, we have decided to make breakfast around it tomorrow. I'm going to heat up the gravy and thicken it a bit, and we'll have biscuits and gravy, bacon, and scrambled eggs in the morning. Yummm!! DH and I are both volunteering at the girls' school tomorrow, so that will be a great start to the day.

I would definitely recommend giving this recipe a try. It's definitely a keeper around here!! :-)

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Menu Plan Monday, week of 4/27/09

I didn't do a menu plan last week. Last Sunday I was just not in the mood for it, so I decided to wing it for a week. It wasn't too bad. I fixed what sounded good, and this went well with the crazy week that we had. We got new windows put in the house - wow, was that an undertaking! I'm glad it's done, though, because now I can actually OPEN windows in this house, which is wonderful on these warm, breezy spring days. We didn't go out, so I was fairly successful at not making a weekly plan. This week, though, I decided to make one.

Monday - Sonja's Chicken (recipe from the Living on a Dime newsletter - I have some heavy cream leftover from making ice cream and this sounds like a great way to use it up and it's a NEW recipe!), mashed potatoes, glazed carrots, homemade rolls.

Tuesday - Grilled pork chops with apricot/orange glaze (we experimented and came up with this last week and devoured it!), cheesy broccoli rigatoni (another new recipe to try), the rest of the rolls.

Wednesday - Sloppy Joes, rice, corn. The older kids have been asking for sloppy joes. I think I still have some buns in the freezer, but if not, I'll make them.

Thursday - Chicken alfredo pizza. We always have pizza on Fridays, but this Friday we can't, so we moved it to Thursday.

Friday - Family Fun night at the girls' school. We will be feasting on hot dogs and chips! (Can you say heartburn, indigestion, upset stomach.......)

Saturday - Bierocks and Pizza pockets (from a couple of weeks ago), crunch top potatoes, green beans.

Sunday - Skillet bow tie lasagna, corn, soft buttery breadsticks. (I never made this 2 weeks ago)

That's my menu plan for the week. This week isn't as crazy, but if the weather cooperates, I'll be out in my garden a LOT. I have lots to do to get it ready, and then the planting will begin. I will definitely be busy. I'm also subbing in 1st grade tomorrow. Yes, I do believe I'm nuts...I'll post a picture of my garden soon and you will KNOW I am! :)

For more great menu plans, be sure and visit orgjunkie.

Monday, April 20, 2009

MORE Fun at K-Mart!!!

Today's trip was so much fun, I had to document it with a photo:

Here is everything I got today at K-Mart:

2 spray bottles Windex
2 Nature's Source All Purpose Cleaner
2 Nature's Source Bathroom Cleaner
1 bottle Palmolive Pure & Clear
1 box 60 Band-Aids
1 Wisp refill
1 Glade 2 in 1 candle
2 Glade Sense & Spray refills
1 can Spot Shot
1 large bag Sunchips
3 boxes Quaker Mini Delights
1 package Bliss chocolates (DH loves these)
3 boxes Kellogg's Pops peanut butter/chocolate
1 box Froot Loops
1 box Special K bars (no coupon, but good clearance price)
2 packages Small Steps 2 Giant roll paper towels

Before coupons, my total was $75.35. Of course, nobody in her right mind would spend that much!!!! After coupons....boy, did it come down! I paid $7.95. Yep....less than EIGHT DOLLARS for all that stuff!!! AND, it gets even better! I can submit my form for a $5 gift card rebate for buying the Kellogg's!

I would say this trip qualifies as a DEAL!!! This is the best I've even done at K-Mart, and the best couponing trip in quite some time! I'm still on the high!!!!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

K-Mart Fun!

Woohoo! K-Marts in my area are doubling coupons up to $4.00 and TRIPLING coupons up to .75! The downside is that there is a limit of 25 coupons (as opposed to the usual 75 when they double to $1.00), but it was still fun to pop over there this morning for some deals. I did learn something, though. Last time they doubled, if an item doubled exceeded the price of the item, my cashier would ONLY give me the single redemption. So I didn't purchase anything that would fit into this category except for one room freshener that would have only been .49 with the single redemption. Well, this time, the register/cashier took the $4.00, AND the .49, so it was free. That was frustrating, because I could have done much better had I known it would work that way. I plan to go back tomorrow, but I figure a lot of things will be cleared out by then, knowing K-Mart.

Anyway, here is a list of what I brought home today:

1 Clearasil cream (13-year-old son, so necessary)
4 Secret Solid deodorant
1 Secret Flawless deodorant
2 Dove frizz cream (I can't find this anywhere but K-Mart and LOVE it!)
1 Dove Deodorant
1 Renuzit Tri-Scents
1 3-pack of Ziploc containers
1 bag Ziploc sandwich bags
2 Scrubbing Bubbles bathroom cleaner
1 Natures Source bathroom cleaner
2 Formula 409 spray
2 Pledge Multi-Surface wipes
1 bottle Pine Sol
3 Glade Scented Oil Lasting Impressions
1 Glade Sense and Spray (family isn't terribly fond of these, so just 1)
1 Fantastic spray

My pre-coupon total was $106.25. Of course, we ALL know that K-Mart's prices are ridiculously inflated, so that has to be taken with a grain of salt! After coupons, my grand total was..........$19.27!

I definitely could have done better, but I'm happy with what I got. I really needed the Clearasil, and the cleaning products I bought are ones we use most of the time. I also love the Lasting Impressions, and the frizz cream is something I haven't been able to find anywhere else. Sadly, I bought the only two they had, so I may never find it again. I didn't buy things we don't really use just because they were cheap or free, so that's always a plus. I think I got a lot of stuff for $19.27!

Did you get to have fun at K-Mart this week?? I'd love to see your deals!!!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Menu Plan Monday, Week of 4/13/09

Hope everyone had a happy Easter! We ate entirely too much, but everything was sooooo good!! I nixed the mashed potatoes in favor of throwing together a green rice of sorts, with chopped broccoli and Velveeta. I loved it!!! I also made my dinner rolls in muffin pans for something different and they were a hit! It's funny what amuses children sometimes. I've planed my menu this week around using all these Easter leftovers, so there may appear to be a little bit of repetition. I'm thinking I should have posted this week's menu on my other blog, Not Just Leftovers, as I'm getting a little creative in using them! :-)

Monday - Cheddar-Ham Soup, leftover rolls, the rest of that yummy pumpkin pie.

Tuesday - Ham and cheese quiche with a (green) rice crust (in lieu of the demonstrated potato crust), french toast (gotta use up some sourdough bread). For dessert, I'm actually contemplating taking the leftover oh-so-sweet sweet potato casserole and heating it, then serving it topped with ice cream. Is that TOO weird??? ;-)

Wednesday - Pizza Rice Casserole (using up the last of the green rice from Easter - think the kids will notice???), fresh green beans, dinner rolls (got some Sister Schubert's for a steal with double coupons - need to try them).

Thursday - Skillet Bowtie Lasagna, the last of the Easter fresh green beans, soft buttery breadsticks.

Friday - I'm not cooking! We're actually going to the Spring Carnival at the kids' former school where we used to live. They are looking forward to seeing their old friends, and I am looking forward to entering for raffle prizes. I usually win at least a couple of fun things! Not sure what dinner will be, but you can bet it will be cheap!! :)

Saturday - Bierocks and homemade pizza pockets, crunch top potatoes, glazed carrots.

Sunday - Homemade mac and cheese, applesauce, leftover glazed carrots, homemade biscuits (with the strawberry jam I made today!).

For more great menu plans, pop on over to OrgJunkie!!!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Poppy Seed Bread and Bananarific Muffins

Monday was a cold, rainy day here. It just felt like a great day for some baking! I decided to experiment with a couple of new recipes, and they both turned out wonderfully! The banana muffins were declared the best I had ever made, replacing a long-time family favorite Banana Wheat Muffin. I made the poppy seed bread much lighter, but you really couldn't tell, and glazed it with a yummy lemon glaze. It was very quickly eaten and more was requested. (Shh! There is another loaf in the freezer for another day.....) Here are the recipes we loved from the oven this week:

Lemon-Glazed Poppy Seed Bread

3 c. flour
2 1/4 c. sugar
1 T. baking powder
1 1/2 t. salt
3 eggs
1 1/2 c. milk
3/4 c. unsweetened applesauce
1/4 c. canola oil
2 T. poppy seeds
1 1/2 t. vanilla
1 1/2 t. butter flavoring
1 1/2 t. almond extract

Lemon Glaze:

3/4 c. powdered sugar
1/4 c. lemon juice
1/2 t. vanilla
1/2 t. butter flavoring
1/2 t. almond extract

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add eggs, milk, applesauce, oil, poppy seeds, and flavorings and mix just until moistened.

Pour batter into two 9" x 5" loaf pans. Bake at 350° for about 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for about 10 minutes before removing from pan to cool completely.

Combine glaze ingredients and drizzle over loaves.

Bananarific Muffins

1 c. flour
1/2 c. wheat flour
1 t. baking soda
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1/2 c. sugar
3 large ripe bananas, mashed
1 egg
1/3 c. applesauce


1/4 c. brown sugar
1 T. flour
Dash of cinnamon
1 T. cold butter or margarine

Combine dry ingredients. In a large bowl, combine sugar, mashed banana, egg, and applesauce and mix well. Stir in dry ingredients just until moistened. Fill prepared baking cups 3/4 full.

For topping, combine brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon. Cut in butter. Sprinkle about 1 T. on top of each muffin.

Bake at 375° for 18-20 minutes or until done. Cool in pan 10 minutes before removing from pan to cool completely.

These are fabulous!!!!!! Enjoy! And for more wonderful recipes, pop over to the Grocery Cart Challenge Recipe Swap!!

Wonderful Pork Piccata!

This was my new recipe of the week, and it was a HUGE hit with the entire family. It was so tender and tasty and just different....we LOVED it. I will most definitely be purchasing pork cutlets again to make this.

Pork Piccata

6-8 thin boneless pork cutlets (1.5-2 lbs.)
1/3-1/2 c. flour
Salt and pepper to taste
2-3 T. olive oil
1 c. chicken broth
2 T. lemon juice
1 T. butter

Season flour with salt and pepper. Dredge cutlets in the mixture, shaking off excess. Discard any remaining flour.

Heat oil in large skillet over medium high heat. Add the cutlets and saute for 2-4 minutes per side, until cooked through. Remove and keep warm.

Add broth to skillet and simmer 2 min., scraping the skillet sides and bottom. Stir in lemon juice and butter and stir to melt butter. Return the pork to the skillet and simmer gently for 2 minutes, until fully heated.

This was wonderful with rice and "fried" apples and the kids declared it an absolute keeper.

Let me know if you try it!!!!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Menu Plan Monday, Week of 4/6/09

Last week was about 70/30 according to plan. We ended up going out on Saturday because I went up and worked in the Community Garden of which I'm going to be a part, staking and marking plots and such, and exhausted myself! I also didn't make the pork stuffed bread, but for the life of me, I can't remember what we ended up eating that night! I mean, that was almost a week ago! :-)

This week I'm in the mood for chicken again, and I have a package of pork cutlets in the freezer that the packaging has gotten ripped. I don't want them to get freezer burned, so they're early on the menu. They will also be starring in my latest new recipe of the week!

Monday - Pork Piccata (if anyone is interested, I can post the recipe - it's a magazine clipping I found), rice, "fried" apples, biscuits.

Tuesday - Crock Pot Rotisserie style chicken, baked potatoes (foil-wrapped in the crock pot), glazed carrots, homemade rolls.

Wednesday - Chicken noodle soup, rest of the rolls.

Thursday - Chicken tetrazzini, corn, baguette bread (special purchase from Aldi - bummer that they don't carry it regularly).

Friday - The usual pizza. I'll decide on type and crust that day.

Saturday - Sloppy joes on buns (marked down and in the freezer), french fries, corn.

Sunday - Easter dinner: HoneyBaked Ham, sweet potato casserole, mashed potatoes and gravy, fresh green beans, rolls, pumpkin pie (opening up the first of those two HUGE cans - will be baking next week!!!).

I think I'll be sticking to the plan this week....but I never know! Sometime after this week we'll be planting some of the garden up at the community garden. I can't wait! The girls and I planted some seeds yesterday in egg cartons. Hopefully they will soon sprout. They are so excited about them!!

As always, for more great menu plans, visit OrgJunkie!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

It's an Earthquake (Cake)!!!!!

Several years ago, I was involved in the Beta Sigma Phi sorority. It was fun, and sometimes I miss the camaraderie of it all. The meetings moved from one sister's house to another, and at one of the homes, I had the pleasure of enjoying the best chocolate cake I could remember trying. I LOVED it!

Fortunately, my sorority sister was kind enough to share her recipe. I've made it several times since then, and will likely be making one for the cake walk at our upcoming school family fun night. I'm going to share the recipe today as part of the Grocery Cart Challenge Recipe Swap!

Earthquake Cake

1 c. coconut
1 c. chopped pecans or walnuts
1 2-layer size German Cake mix (plus ingredients to prepare)
1/2 c. margarine, melted
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 c. powdered sugar

Combine coconut and nuts. Spread evenly in bottom of unprepared 13 x 9 cake pan.

Prepare cake mix according to package directions. Pour the cake batter over the coconut/nut mixture.

Combine margarine, cream cheese and powdered sugar. Drop this by large spoonfuls over the top of the cake batter.

Bake at 350° for 45-55 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Be careful not to overcook. Cake top will crinkle, and this is fine. Cool slightly while making the icing.

Prepare icing:

2 T. cocoa powder
6 T. cold strong-brewed coffee (or cola if you don't like coffee flavor)
1/2 c. margarine
2 c. powdered sugar

Place powdered sugar in a bowl.

Combine cocoa, coffee (or cola), and margarine in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat until the mixture boils, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat. Pour over the powdered sugar. Beat well with a wire whisk or electric mixer until smooth. Spread over cooled (not cold) cake.

This is absolutely fabulous warm!!!!

For more great recipes, be sure and pop over to the Grocery Cart Challenge. :)

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

My Mail Carrier is a THIEF!!!

We have lived in this house for about 8 months now. In that time, I've had a few things "lost" in the hands of our oh-so-wonderful postal service (HA!). I didn't worry too much about the items because they were smaller things, like a marker pen that my daughter won in a contest and never received and some other similar things. I won a blog contest in November and never received the package I won, and the blogger never replied to my emails inquiring, so I assumed her giveaway was a fraud and she never shipped. Now, I wonder!

I won a big giveaway more recently. The wonderful blogger sent my package, and it never arrived. She is SOOOO kind-hearted that she went out and re-bought the items and shipped again, this time adding a tracking number. Well, according to the number, my package was delivered, but I NEVER SAW IT! The disgusting thing? I'm home all day and I always see when mail is delivered, so I go right over and get it. Therefore I know with great certainty that my mail isn't being taken from my mailbox. On top of this, I also won a Honey Kix prize back 2 months ago. It hasn't ever arrived, either. I guess the carrier decided to steal that, too!

I am so thoroughly disgusted with the post office right now that I could scream! They wonder why people use e-mail nowadays? Because people don't STEAL email! The sad thing is, I don't know if it's my carrier or if it's some sleezeball at the post office distribution center. And I'm sure the post office will just tell me that it isn't their fault and I'm out of luck, because that's just how customer-friendly they are.

Why do people have to be so ridiculously dishonest?????

Double Coupons in Kansas City

If you're in the Kansas City area and you use coupons, you are most likely aware that we have limited doubling resources. Right now we have:

Dillon's - Their only local location is in Leavenworth, KS. They double coupons up to and including .50 and then have a bonus where any coupon .55 to $1.00 is worth $1.00. (At least, that's how I understand it.) I haven't been to Dillon's in a very long time, but I have been told that it's definitely worth the occasional trip if it's a long drive.

Hen House - They double up to and including .50 daily. The general policy is a limit of two like items, and they won't double anything that states "Do Not Double." (I hate that last part of the policy!) However, each store seems to handle the doubles a little differently, so your mileage may vary (YMMV). I get some terrific deals here on sale items on a regular basis. Hen House is my primary double coupon store.

Festival Foods - This store is off I-35 and Chouteau, I believe. They double up to and including .50 ONLY on Wednesdays. I've been there once, and their prices were so high that it wasn't worth the trip, even with double coupons!

Fairly recently, a new double coupon resource appeared, primarily for those of us in the Northland:

Riverside Red-X - They double coupons up to and including .50, excluding any liquor and tobacco products. I don't know the specifics beyond that because I hate shopping there. If you can handle major cigarette smoke while perusing the aisles and a bit of dirtiness doesn't dissuade you, maybe you can find some deals here.

And today, I became aware of a NEW member of the double deals team! According to their most recent ad, you can now double coupons at:

Sun Fresh!!! According to their ad (and I just found this out today, so I haven't visited the store yet to find out more info), they double coupons every day up to and including .50. Their ad is primarily Best Choice/store branded items, but I plan to pop over there and check out their prices to see what I can do with the new doubles. I imagine they are highly comparable to Hen House, so this might be a great new store for couponing! I see a couple of things in their ad that I will be checking out with my coupons.

It's exciting to have a new competitor on the horizon with the tempting double coupons. If you're in the area and have a good couponing experience at Sun Fresh, please let us know!! Happy couponing!