Sunday, May 22, 2011

French Toast - the lazy way

Time for another recipe! On Friday, I purchased some day old French bread in order to make open faced toasted roast beef sandwiches. I only used half of the loaf, so last night, I sliced the other half of the loaf and made French Toast for this morning, the lazy way!

8-10 slices of day old bread, about 1 inch thick. (may be fewer slices if larger loaf)
1 1/4 cups milk
5 eggs (beaten)
1/4 cup sugar (have used equivalent amount of sugar substitute)
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
cinnamon (optional)

Place sliced bread in a 9 x 13 baking dish sprayed with non-stick spray. Mix together milk, eggs, sugar, salt, and vanilla. Pour over bread in the baking dish. Sprinkle with cinnamon if desired. Cover and place in refrigerator overnight.
The next morning, pull it out of the fridge and preheat the oven to 400. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes.

I then top it with whatever. My favorites are either butter with some powdered sugar, or sweetened strawberries. Of course, butter and syrup are always ok! If there are any leftovers, they warm up nicely in the toaster.

I know, I should have taken photos... but I didn't.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Deal of the Day

I do like a little splurge now and then, and when I can get a good deal on one - it's even more fun! A while ago we were given a Keurig single cup coffee maker. The cups can be a bit pricey for it - but with some watching you can find some good deals. At some online locations, I can usually find them for less than $. 50/each shipped. (when ordered in larger quantities) But, my better deals so far have been buying locally using store coupons. Bed, Bath and Beyond has a great selection of the cups, and sends coupons out in the mail regularly for either $5 off a purchase, or 20% off. This gets the cost per cup down to about $ .40 if you purchase one box with the coupon.

Last week, I got a $10 Kohl's cash card in the mail. I hardly ever shop there, but it could be used on anything over $10 including sale or clearance merchandise. I went online this morning to check out what Kcups they carried - and found out they were on sale this week! While their sale price of $11.99/18 is still over my $.50/cup mental limit - combined with the cash card, I paid $1.99/18. $.11/cup is within my budget!

So, the moral of the story? Watch your "junk mail" for good coupon deals for department stores. As I went through the store I saw some other options for clearance or sale merchandise that would have been a great deal with the card.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Making it at home - Egg Drop Soup

The whole family likes to eat Asian food. Stir fry can be pretty economical, healthy, and easy to make. But I was missing the "extras". With a little searching, some trial and error and tweaking, I think I have come up with an egg drop soup recipe that rivals take out.

Egg Drop Soup
4 cups chicken stock/broth
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup cold water
3/4 cup frozen corn
2 eggs, well beaten

Heat stock to boiling over medium heat. Combine cornstarch and water, stirring until cornstarch is completely dissolved. Gradually stir into stock. Boil for 2 minutes. Add corn and bring back to simmer/light boil. Slowly add beaten eggs while stirring soup. Season with black pepper to taste.

You could easily add chicken or tofu to make it more of a "main dish" soup, leftover veggies, etc. Give it a try if you have cut takeout from the budget, want more control over what is in your soup, don't have a good place to get it nearby, or just want to give it a try.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Following up

I wanted to follow- up on a couple of recent posts...

The Ants
It has been 3 days since I have seen a live ant - and the only dead ant I have seen is the one that got stuck in the honey. I'm calling the recipes I used here a success. Since then I have also been using the Borax for cleaning.

The World Record
It was fun to be a
part of The Great Diaper Change - although according to the Chewy Kid - it was not as exc
iting as he thought it would be. I think he was a little surprised at how much preparation and verification went into the event. Our s
ite was very organized and it was fun to chat with friends, acquaintances, and other parents. I was really surprised at how calm it was considering the number of babies and toddlers in one room! Here in Des Moines we had 41 participants, and below are the totals that have been reported so far.

203 hosts reporting 6277 participants so far!Australia – 3
Brazil – 40
Dominican Republic – 5
Germany – 26
Malaysia – 39
Spain – 17
Switzerland – 13
Canada – 891
United Kingdom – 25
United States – 5218

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Sloppy Joe Casserole

Here is an easy casserole to throw together. I sat on the original recipe for this after finding it online for awhile because it just seemed like it would be a little odd. I finally made it one night (ok, well at least a couple of the ingredients were the same as in the original recipe!) when I gave the Chewy Kid the chance to choose between two new recipe ideas - and he picked this one.

1 lb. ground beef or turkey, crumbled, browned and drained
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
2 cloves garlic chopped (or 1 teaspoon prepared garlic)
3 cups cooked rice (I use brown)
1 can sloppy joe sauce
2 - 3 cups frozen mixed vegetables, thawed
1 cup shredded co-jack or cheddar cheese

mix everything but the cheese together and put in a 2 - 3 quart casserole. (I definitely recommend giving the dish a spray of non-stick spray!) Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes. Sprinkle the cheese on top and bake an additional 5-10 minutes.

When I made it this week, I sprinkled some french fried onion rings on top along with the cheese. They were a hit!

Of course you can substitute, especially for the veggies - use what you have on hand, frozen, canned, mixed, whatever your family will eat!

When we were eating this earlier in the week, we all commented how it is a strange combination of stuff, but it comes together into one of our favorite meals. Unfortunately, I missed getting a photo!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Ants are Marching...

and they are marching right into the Chewy Tot's Room. It appears they are cruising in through the window area somewhere. I do love nature - and even the smallest critters out there, but not in my house, thank you.

So, it was time to Google "child friendly ant deterrents" which let me to a variety of homemade ant killers. The best collection I found was at It also had some basic information about ants and why some baits work one time, but not another. I was looking to try something with Borax since I was going to be picking up some for other uses anyway. After looking at some of the "recipes" I went into the kitchen and went to work - just like when baking, I only used the recipe for inspiration!

I decided to make two different baits:

Bait #1 - equal parts borax and peanut butter
Bait #2 - equal parts borax and honey

After mixing (and labeling the containers as ant bait and NOT-FOOD!) I put about 1/8 of a teaspoon of bait on a small square of paper. I did two of each bait and set them on the windowsill in the Tot's room. A few minutes later, there were already ants munching. An hour later, the ants were "shoulder to shoulder" crowded around the bait loading up. The visible population of ants in the room had exploded. Not a surprise with the honey and peanut butter available to all.

Now the question is - what happens when they take it back to the nest? Well, my understanding is that it should "take care of the problem". Obviously, it will take a few days to see if that is the case or not - or if I have just opened up a soup kitchen for wayward ants.

Does anybody else have any experience getting rid of ants or other crawlies? I am open to any tips or tricks -- especially any "chewy" solutions that are child safe and frugal!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Cinnamon Biscuits

The past few days, I've been thinking of Hardee's, back when there were Hardee's everywhere, and I even worked drive-through at one for a summer during college. Then I started thinking about the cinnamon biscuits, and I decided they shouldn't be too difficult to make. I've embraced the biscuit over the past year, and have found them a fast, easy, and frugal way to add hot, fresh bread to dinner. So now, it's time to branch out to breakfast.

Cinnamon Biscuits

2 1/4 cups of biscuit mix plus a little more for kneading (I make my own and keep on hand - recipe here)
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
2/3 cup of milk

Mix the mix, sugar and cinnamon together. Add milk and stir to combine. Put dough out on surface dusted with biscuit mix and knead 8-10 times. Pat down to about 1/3 inch thickness and use a biscuit cutter (or knife) to cut into biscuits. Gently reknead scraps and repeat until you are left with one mini drop biscuit left. Bake at 450 for 9-11 minutes until golden brown and delicious.

While baking mix together a simple powder sugar glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
1 T. Milk
1/2 t. vanilla or cinnamon (optional)

When you pull them out of the oven, allow to cool for a minute or two, then drizzle with the glaze.

Here is the result: