Thursday, September 29, 2011

Fast and easy granola snacks!

So this mommy likes quick snacks, but quick healthy snacks are definately a must!  And these granola snacks are so quick to make you'll make a ton!  The best part, you don't even have to cut them into bars!  Have a few minutes?  Let's go!

Ingredients you'll need:
-2 1/2 cups puffed rice cereal
-2 cups quick oatmeal
-1/4 cup honey
-1/4 cup corn syrup  (don't have corn syrup on hand?  you can use maple syrup instead, this mommy has done both and they are both just as yummy!)
-1/2 cup packed brown sugar
-1/2 cup peanut butter
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-Whatever add ins you'd like (the boy likes chocolate chips and marshmallows the best but he doesn't always get what he wants  lol)

Got your ingredients?  Good!

Step 1:  Measure the rice cereal and oatmeal into a large bowl and set aside.
Step 2:  In a medium saucepan, mix your honey, corn syrup (or maple syrup), and brown sugar.  Cook over medium heat until just boiling.  Remove from heat and quickly add peanut butter and vanilla, then stir until smooth.
Step 3:  Pour mixture into the bowl with the cereal and oatmeal and mix until well coated.
Step 4:  Add your mix ins, stir lightly until evenly distributed.
Step 5:  Spray a muffin tin with cooking spray.  (this is why you won't have to cut it into bars, you'll already have nice portion sized with no time added for cutting!! this mommy likes that!)
Step 6:  Scoop out the mixture and put into the muffin tins.  ( You should get about 18 servings- this mommy just fills each spot until almost full)  and then press the mixture down firmly in each spot. (you can use wax paper if you don't want to get your fingers sticky)
Step 7:  Put your muffin tin into the fridge for about a half hour to cool.
Step 8:  Pop out your snacks and enjoy!

Yummy!  And a perfect on the go snack!  Your little ones (and anyone really) will thank you!  This mommy loves making things easy!

Roasted Potato Bites!

If you are ever like this mommy you stand in the kitchen wondering what kind of side dish to make for that day's evening meal.  These are a favorite side dish in this mommy's house and on the plus side, they are super easy!  They take no time at all to prepare and are cooked and ready in 30 minutes!  So here's what you do....
First and foremost: preheat your oven to 450.

Step 1:  Take your potatoes (this mommy likes to use russet but you can use whatever kind you like best) and cut them into chunks, this mommy normally cuts them into eighths sometimes a little smaller depending on the size of the potato. 
Step 2: Put your potatoes into a bowl and pour in just enough olive oil to cover the pieces.
Step 3: Put in your seasoning (this mommy likes to use salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, and rosemary - you'll want to experiment with how much seasoning you want to put on them, this mommy puts quite a bit because the daddy in this household likes to have all the flavor in every bite).
Step 4: Stir potatoes well to make sure they are evenly covered in seasoning and oil.
Step 5: place potatoes on a baking sheet (spread them out to make sure they are single layer and evenly spread on the sheet)
Step 6: Place them in your preheated oven and bake them for 30 minutes (the potatoes should be golden brown on the edges)
Step 7:  Serve them up and enjoy!

That's it!  That was easy!  Whew! Your side dish for tonight is planned out, now on to things that this mommy doesn't like to do, like cleaning those pesky bathrooms, seriously when will someone invent a self cleaning bathroom?  Oh well, maybe someday! 

Homemade Pop-tarts!

So in this mommy's house we love pop tarts!  All kinds of pop tarts, we just love them!  And this mommy likes the fact that its a fast breakfast, however this mommy doesn't like the fact that she can't control all the ingredients that go into them...... until now!  I found this recipe quite a while back and its become an instant favorite in this mommy's household!  The boy loves when I make him chocolate ones and brown sugar ones.  I love how flaky the outside comes out, and the filling possibilities are endless!  Smitten Kitchen is amazing for coming up with this recipe......... I'm copying the recipe here but definately check out their site!  They are also on facebook (bonus!)

Homemade Pop Tarts
Adapted from King Arthur Flour
2 cups (8 1/2 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks or 8 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into pats
1 large egg
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) milk
1 additional large egg (to brush on pastry)
Cinnamon Filling (enough for 9 tarts)
1/2 cup (3 3/4 ounces) brown sugar
1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, to taste
4 teaspoons all-purpose flour
1 large egg, to brush on pastry before filling
Jam Filling
3/4 cup (8 ounces) jam
1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 1 tablespoon cold water
Alternate fillings: 9 tablespoons chocolate chips, 9 tablespoons Nutella or other chocolate-hazelnut paste or 9 tablespoons of a delight of your choice, such as salted caramel or a nut paste
To make cinnamon filling: Whisk together the sugar, cinnamon, and flour.
To make jam filling: Mix the jam with the cornstarch/water in a small saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, and simmer, stirring, for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, and set aside to cool. Use to fill the pastry tarts.
Make the dough: Whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt. Work in the butter with your fingers, pastry blender or food processor until pea-sized lumps of butter are still visible, and the mixture holds together when you squeeze it. If you’ve used a food processor, transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Whisk the first egg and milk together and stir them into the dough, mixing just until everything is cohesive, kneading briefly on a well-floured counter if necessary.
Divide the dough in half (approximately 8 1/4 ounces each), shape each half into a smooth rectangle, about 3×5 inches. You can roll this out immediately (see Warm Kitchen note below) or wrap each half in plastic and refrigerate for up to 2 days.
Assemble the tarts: If the dough has been chilled, remove it from the refrigerator and allow it to soften and become workable, about 15 to 30 minutes. Place one piece on a lightly floured work surface, and roll it into a rectangle about 1/8″ thick, large enough that you can trim it to an even 9″ x 12″. [You can use a 9" x 13" pan, laid on top, as guidance.] Repeat with the second piece of dough. Set trimmings aside. Cut each piece of dough into thirds – you’ll form nine 3″ x 4″ rectangles.
Beat the additional egg and brush it over the entire surface of the first dough. This will be the “inside” of the tart; the egg is to help glue the lid on. Place a heaping tablespoon of filling into the center of each rectangle, keeping a bare 1/2-inch perimeter around it. Place a second rectangle of dough atop the first, using your fingertips to press firmly around the pocket of filling, sealing the dough well on all sides. Press the tines of a fork all around the edge of the rectangle. Repeat with remaining tarts.
Gently place the tarts on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Prick the top of each tart multiple times with a fork; you want to make sure steam can escape, or the tarts will become billowy pillows rather than flat toaster pastries. Refrigerate the tarts (they don’t need to be covered) for 30 minutes, while you preheat your oven to 350°F.
Charming tip from King Arthur: Sprinkle the dough trimmings with cinnamon-sugar; these have nothing to do with your toaster pastries, but it’s a shame to discard them, and they make a wonderful snack. While the tarts are chilling, bake these trimmings for 13 to 15 minutes, till they’re golden brown.
Bake the tarts: Remove the tarts form the fridge, and bake them for 20 to 25 minutes, until they’re a light golden brown. Cool in pan on rack.
Whole Wheat Variation: I was itching to swap out 1/2 cup of the flour with whole wheat flour. I am sure it would make it more deliciously breakfast.
Pop Tart Minis: The biggest struggle I had with these was the size. I actually like my baked goods on the tiny size, thus I think this could make an adorable batch of 16 2 1/4″ x 3″ rectangles.
Savory Pop Tarts: Nix the sugar in the dough and halve the salt. Fill with pesto, cheese, ground nuts or olives, or any combination thereof. Brush the tops with additional egg wash and sprinkle with poppy or sesame seeds. Please invite me over.
Do ahead: The sweet versions should keep at room temperature in an airtight container for a week. If you’d like to make them further in advance, I vote for freezing them unbaked between layers of waxed paper, and baking them as you need

There you go!  Try these today!  They make this mommy very happy at breakfast time!  And if you want to be just like this mommy, crank up the radio and dance around like an idiot in the kitchen while making these - this mommy tells you it makes it even better!  :)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Flower pillows

This mommy found something she thought was way too cute to pass up during one of her many internet explorations.  Flower pillows!  Of course the princess needs one (or fifty) for her room!  :)  This mommy found them at Come Together Kids and ran right out and bought some fleece!  The only thing this mommy did differently was she sewed all the petals on rather than hot glue making it washable (which is a definate must have for this mommy since the boy and the princess are messy beings!)  And this mommy did the center a little differently as well.  Took a bit longer but well worth it!  I mean how cute did these turn out?!?!...........

This mommy wants to make one in every color now!  Now go forth and make pillows, this mommy commands you!  :) 

Friday, September 16, 2011

Make your own liquid Laundry detergent!

This mommy has found all sorts of recipes for this all over the internet but finally found one she likes!  I took out things I didn't like and changed them to things I liked and viola my perfect recipe!  Works great!  We use it for everything we wash.  You can choose what scent you like and what soap you use will determine what color your finished product is!  The best part? The final cost is around 1.5 CENTS per load!  Yes you read that right it says just over 1 CENT!  This is awesome!  And here we go!

1 Bar of soap (choose whatever you like the smell of -this is where the extra bar of soap from my previous post on making your own body wash comes in)
1/2 Cup Washing soda (this you can find in the laundry isle of your local grocery store)  Walmart sells this for around $3 (but you can get several batches out of that $3 -we've made 5 batches out of this box so far and still have plenty more left)
1/2 cup Borax (normally right next to the washing soda in the laundry isle, again walmart sells this for around $3 and you can get several batches out of it!)
1- 5 gallon bucket to store detergent in (you only need to buy this once so your first batch won't be 1.5 cents per load if you count this cost in, sorry, but after that you're back to the 1.5 cents, this mommy promises!)

Step 1: Get your cheese grater out again....... grate your bar of soap into a pot
Step 2: Add 6 cups of water to soap
Step 3: Heat on medium heat and stir until soap all melts
Step 4: Add both the washing soda and borax (note: please pour this in slowly and stir while doing so, this mommy has made the mistake of dumping it in and ended with a mess -think school volcano project- however on the good side this mommy ended up with a VERY clean stove afterwards  lol)
Step 5: Once all borax and washing soda is dissolved remove from heat
Step 6: Pour 4 cups of HOT water into the bucket
Step 7: Pour your soap mixture into the bucket and stir
Step 8: Pour in 1 gallon PLUS 6 cups of hot water and stir again
Step 9: put lid on bucket and put in laundry room and let sit for 24 hours

You will use 1 cup for each load.  Note: The mixture will gel a little, some batches gel more than others and it all depends on what soap you use and the temperature of your laundry room, no matter how much it gels or doesnt gel it still all works just as well.  I like to say it looks more like egg soup consistancy, you'll have parts that are gloopy and parts that are smooth, that's OK!  This mommy just makes sure she gets a little of both the smooth and the gloopy (yes that is a real word in my own dictionary lol) parts for each load.  This mommy normally doubles the batch and makes 2 at once, they both fit in the 5 gallon bucket and this mommy likes not having to make it as often (however I don't have to make it very often anyway and we have 2 messy kids!)  That's all there is to making your own laundry detergent!  Have fun making your own! Feel free to let me know how yours turns out!

Make your own body wash!

This is a recipe originally found on but this mommy loved it so much I'm sending it on to you (with some changes made by me)
Supplies needed:
-2 bars of soap you like the smell of (to be really frugal this mommy likes to get the 3 packs of soap from the local dollar store- I use the 3rd bar for making laundry detergent, stay tuned as this mommy will be adding that on another post!)
-Water (we all have that!)
-Cheese grater
-Large pot
-A plastic or glass bottle to put your body wash in

Step 1: Grate 2 bars of soap into pot
Step 2: Add 2 cups water
Step 3: Place on medium heat and stir until soap is all melted
Step 4: Take off heat and let cool down a bit
Step 5: Once cooled off a bit, pour into bottle
Step 6: Use your body wash!  (a dime size amount on your puff will do plenty!  Make sure you shake it well before each use as it seperates a bit)

That's it!  Now that wasn't so hard was it?  This mommy knew you could do it!  And guess what?  You are avoiding all those extra chemicals in store bought body wash and saving money while you are at it!  If you really wanted to you could even make your own soap to do the same with!  There's an idea for a later day!  This mommy may have to try that..... but for now this will do!  Saving money is an awesome feeling isn't it?!?

Sharpening Disposable Razors!

This mommy must admit when I first saw this I was so skeptical.  Nothing is this easy right?!?  But this mommy decided to try it anyway!  Based originally on the methods to sharpen the old straight knives used for shaving on a leather strip.  So here are the steps : 
Step 1: Obtain your razor that is dull and ready to be thrown out (this works for both the fully disposable kinds and the kinds that you have disposable cartridges)
Step 2: Take your razor and run it backwards on the inside of your arm (your arm is after all a leathery substance) blades down but facing the opposite way of the direction you normally would shave. (Think of it as backwards shaving however this won't remove hair this way)  :)  Apply moderate pressure.
Step 3: Repeat step 2 approximately 10 times (This mommy did it a little more than that cause as I said I was skeptical)
Step 4: Shave with your new sharpened razor!

Yep, that's it!  Comments I've seen on this method have people saying they have used the same razor for 2 years without replacing it!  I haven't gotten that far, but this mommy can tell you after she did this with her razor she then went on to shave both legs and was completely knick free!  I love it.  I can get a 10 pack of razors at the dollar store and if its true that I can use the same one for 2 years, I'm set for 20 years on $1!!  Gotta love it!  Can't get more frugal than that!  This tried and true method makes this mommy very happy!!