Baked Goods Exchange

October 25, 2007 at 9:13 pm | Posted in BEX | Leave a comment

Well, whoever decided to call it a baked GOODs exchange certainly hit it right on the nose. How can you not LOVE getting yummy cookies and new recipes in the mail? I won’t share the recipe because I’m not sure if I’m supposed to or not … but here’s what it looked like when I opened the box:

They are Cornchip Cookies – there’s oatmeal and coconut in there too. If I had more than two thumbs to wave in the air, they’d all be up. GREAT job, SB!!


Microwave Meatloaf

October 25, 2007 at 8:58 pm | Posted in Entree | Leave a comment

I love my job, but I like having the night off even more. So, when Rob decided he wanted meatloaf for dinner, I was all about that. This recipe is one my mom used to make all the time. In fact, I’ve never eaten an oven-baked meatloaf. Never. I liked it (although the flavor was off a little from mom’s), but Rob LOVED it. Hope you like it, too … enjoy!!

COST: $3.44
Ground Turkey: $2.19
Bread: $0.10
Eggs: $0.20
Onion: $0.10
Mustard/Ketchup: $0.10
Spices: $0.05
Creamed Corn: $0.55
Mashed Potatoes (from box): $0.25

1 lb ground meat (I used turkey)
4 slices bread, torn into small pieces
2 eggs
1 slice onion, diced
Mustard to taste
Ketchup to taste (at least 2x the amount of mustard)
Salt & Pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients by hand in bowl until moist, but firm. Place into glass loaf pan and cover with wax paper. Bake in microwave on medium-high for 16-17 minutes. Allow to rest 4 minutes prior to serving.

Princess for a Day

October 25, 2007 at 8:45 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

So, Sunday I had a bad day. No details necessary, just trust me on this one. Rob felt bad for me, so on Monday, he declared me “Princess for the Day”. This meant that we’d do whatever I felt like doing. After work, he came by and picked me up, then took me to the grocery store to pick out some flowers – mums in a pot and some cut ones, also.

Here’s a picture of the cut flowers with my kitchen (sort of) in the background. Please ignore the mess in the corner – we’re collecting some stuff to send to Goodwill.

I mentioned that we bought the ingredients for a cheesecake, right? Well, apparently Rob is known around these parts for making a mean cheesecake. But he’s never made one for me. This is obviously wrong. Here he is, righting that wrong:

While the cheesecake was cooking, we made our plans to go home for “Christ-Giving” to see our families. When it was done ….

We then went to CiCi’s for pizza. Came home, sat outside on the porch in the GORGEOUS weather, sipping hot apple cider and just talking. Overall, the perfect day.

I am so happy to be married to Rob. I consider myself blessed in every way.

The Things I Love

October 19, 2007 at 4:37 pm | Posted in Favorite Things, Review | 1 Comment

Well, as you can see, I haven’t been doing much cooking this week. Beyond the leftover chicken fajita meat, we’ve been eating a lot of sandwiches, etc. So, I thought I’d do an update on a couple of my favorite kitchen things.

Kapoosh Universal Cutlery Block

As you can see, this is possibly the most unique knife block I’ve ever seen – and possibly the most useful. When Rob and I got married, we had to combine two very random knife collections – mine, consisting of a number of Wusthof knives and some cheapo steak knives, and his, consisting of a whole set of cheapo knives, plus two VERY nice Santokus by Anolon. Altogether, we had about 15 knives that we didn’t want to part with. Now, honestly, have you ever seen a normal-size knife block that would hold 15 knives? I didn’t think so. But this block by Kapoosh – which has no slots at all, but rather nylon/plastic “rods” – will hold that, plus some. It is dishwasher safe, the knives won’t dull from hitting the rods (like they would if you accidentally hit a wood block), and you can arrange them however works for you. If I were only allowed to choose one thing to receive for our wedding … this would have been it. No kidding.

Pampered Chef Bamboo Spoon Set

Oh, wow. These spoons look so simple. And they are. But I love them. As you can see, they come three to a set – 2 round spoons (one with a long handle, one with a shorter handle) and one oval spoon. So far, I’ve never found a reason to like the oval one. But the ROUND ones??? Oh, I could write a sonnet. They’re perfect for mixing or stirring anything in a round container – because of their shape, they fit right into the curve of the bowl. Because they’re wood, they won’t scratch a non-stick surface, and they go right into the dishwasher. I have 4 round spoons (having given the oval ones to my mother) and wouldn’t trade them for anything!

No More Tuna!!

October 17, 2007 at 7:44 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

So, I’m pleased to officially announce that we are out of tuna. I’m hoping we stay that way for at least a month. Our current food du-jour is Fajita Chicken. I’d share the recipe, but there really isn’t one – dump a pre-marinated package of fajita chicken from HEB ($7.99 for 4 lbs) into the crock pot. Cook on low for at least 8 hours. Use in every meal until gone. On Sunday (when I made it), I served it with mashed potatoes and the gravy I made from the crock-pot juice.

Hopefully, this chicken will last us until Saturday, when we’ll begin our new food of the week – RICE! Stay tuned for lots of recipes involving rice and its various combinations.

Keeping My Eyes on the Prize

October 12, 2007 at 6:26 pm | Posted in WHY? | 3 Comments

I thought with all of this budgeting and saving and eating of tuna that it would be a good idea to share WHY I’m putting myself through this … (and no, its not for love of tuna.) Here are some links for the town we’re hoping to move to and a couple of photos of the view from the house we’re hoping to (someday) purchase!

Petersburg, Alaska:
The official city website:
The Chamber of Commerce website:
Another tourist information website:
This is where Petersburg is located … see the blue circle? We’re in there.

The House:

This is the view from our would-be deck!

This is the view from our living room … are you drooling yet?

Pasta with Veggies and Tuna in Cream Sauce

October 12, 2007 at 4:39 pm | Posted in cost-cutting, Entree | Leave a comment

Surprise, surprise … more tuna! I’m down to only 2 pounds still left, thanks to a lot of tuna salad, some tuna melts, this recipe, and a few cat snacks (I know …) This recipe was good, but I’d have liked it better without the tuna. We got the veggies as leftovers from dinner with friends of ours a few days ago. Had to use them somehow. This recipe was great and really easy – and it has the added benefit of being a “one-dish” meal. I love those.

COST: $1.40
Egg Noodles: $0.75
Milk: $0.15
Neufchatel: $0.50
Veggies: FREE
Tuna: FREE

1/2 bag of wide egg noodles (I like Inn Maid)
1/4 cup milk
4 oz (half brick) Neufchatel cheese
Steamed veggies (use the amount you like – I had about 2 cups)
1 can tuna
Salt & Pepper to taste

In saucepan, boil egg noodles according to package directions. When about 5 minutes of cook time remain, add veggies. When noodles are done, drain veggies and pasta in colander. In same pan as you used for the pasta, heat milk and neufchatel cheese (stirring regularly) over medium heat until neufchatel is completely melted. Add salt and pepper to taste, then stir in tuna. Allow to simmer over low heat until desired consistency is reached. Pour over pasta and veggies in serving dish and toss to coat.

Key Lime Meringue Pie

October 12, 2007 at 3:52 pm | Posted in Desserts | Leave a comment

I’m proud of my meringue pies … one of my specialties. Well, some friends of ours gave us a bunch of fresh key limes from their yard, so I decided to try my hand at Key Lime Meringue Pie. It tastes great, Rob gave it an A. I’ll probably rate it a B+ because it didn’t turn out quite the way I wanted it to. See, if you make a meringue pie when its SUPER humid, the meringue will turn out sticky and the custard part doesn’t set up quite right. Oh, well. A drier day (or climate) would’ve made this an A+ on all counts. This recipe is adapted from my Grandmother’s Joy of Cooking cookbook.

COST: $2.44
Key Limes: FREE
Nilla Wafer Pie Crust: $0.99 (had in pantry for a while)
Eggs: $0.35
Sugar: $0.50
Corn Starch: $0.10
Salt: $0.05
Butter: $0.15
Cream of Tartar: $0.25
Vanilla: $0.05

Premade Nilla-Wafer Crumb Crust
1 1/2 cups sugar
6 Tblsp corn starch
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup cold water
1/2 cup fresh key lime (or lemon) juice
3 well-beaten egg yolks
2 tablespoons butter (melted)
1 1/2 cups boiling water

2 egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350. Prepare pie shell (this generally means to take the plastic top off.) Sift sugar, cornstarch, and salt into a saucepan. Gradually blend in cold water and key lime juice. When smooth, add egg yolks and butter. Stirring constantly, add 1 1/2 cups boiling water, then bring mixture to full boil (I use medium heat). Continue stirring gently until mixture begins to thicken. When thickening occurs (this is unmistakeable), reduce heat to low and allow to simmer slowly 1 minute. Pour into pie shell.

In the meantime, you may want to make the meringue so that its ready when the pie filling is done (because you want to pour it over hot filling to start the eggs cooking). Whip egg whites until frothy. Add cream of tartar and whip until eggs form soft peaks (when you pull the beaters out, peaks should form, but should lean sideways). Beat in sugar 1 tablespoon at a time, then add vanilla and beat until stiff peaks form (peaks should remain upright). Spread over hot filling, being sure to seal to crust. Bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes, or until top is golden brown.

My Favorite Things

October 11, 2007 at 8:30 pm | Posted in Favorite Things, Review | 2 Comments
You know how Martha Stewart has that “favorite things” section of her website? Well, I’m going to start adding my favorites to my blog here. Why shouldn’t I get to draw attention to products that I like and would use/buy again?? So, here goes:

KitchenAid Professional 600-Series Stand Mixer
This stand mixer was a gift from my parents about 3 years ago. I love it beyond all reasonable love. I’ve never had problems mixing anything – from whipping 1 egg white to my mother’s gallette recipe (which involves an ENTIRE 5-lb bag of flour). I love that the bowl is dishwasher safe and that the finish wipes clean easily. If you want your own, you can buy it here:
Pampered Chef Tool Turn-About

For those of you who know me well, you know that I LOVE pampered chef. I’d sell it, except that down here you have to be bilingual to be successful. All that being said, I have a slightly older version of this … mine is white and not the “new and improved” version (which has stronger ball bearings).

I love this tool caddy because it keeps the tools from getting all tangled up in a drawer. I put it right next to the stove, which makes grabbing what I need really easy when I’m cooking. No more stuck-on sauce while I’m hunting for the right spoon!

Oops Cookies

October 10, 2007 at 4:23 pm | Posted in cost-cutting, Desserts, Oops | 7 Comments

So, about 2 days ago, I found this recipe for “Poor Man’s Candy” – basically a potato, powdered sugar, and some peanut butter. I know, it sounds gross, but I was fascinated and couldn’t figure out what it would taste like. So I decided to try it out (after all, potatoes are cheap!).

I bake two small potatoes in the microwave, peel them, mash them up. But they weren’t smoothing out like I imagined that they should. So … I added a little water (NOT in the recipe) and whipped them into smooth-looking mashed potatoes. Then I started adding powdered sugar. This is when I discovered why there wasn’t any water in the recipe. Turns out, powdered sugar draws the moisture out of the potatoes so they are “self-moistening”. Well, if you’ve already added water … you get, essentially, sweet potato soup. The more powdered sugar I added, the soupier the mixture got. Ooops.

Well, obviously, that wasn’t going anywhere, so then Rob suggested that we should just make cookies out of the mixture. So I added some flour, a little oil, an egg, some baking soda, and some vanilla. Oh, and about 1/2 a bag of chocolate chips.

I poured the whole mess onto a greased cookie sheet and baked it for 10 minutes at 350.

I got … chocolate chip cookie bars … but with the oddest texture you’ve ever tried! They’re almost indescribable in texture. Somewhere between a fried clam and bubble gum. Tasted good, but really wierd to eat. 🙂

Oh, and incidentally, Rob asked me last night when I’m going to make them again. So they get, overall, a B+ from the both of us. Ooops.

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