Currently viewing the tag: "thrifty recipes"

Did you watch the Super Bowl last night? Great game! Though I have to say, that Go Daddy commercial was kind of… weird. And Beyonce was just awesome.

Over the weekend, in addition to watching the Super Bowl, I made my very first apple pie with lattice topping. Yum! It made me think of how football is such an American thing to do – especially a tradition like the Super Bowl where we’re all glued to the TV, whether it’s to watch the game, the commercials or the halftime show – and so is apple pie!

My pie turned out pretty well if you can go by the fact that my husband and son gobbled it right up. I only had red delicious apples and while I know you’re not supposed to use them in pies, it still turned out good. Here’s how I did it:

Mix the dough (recipe below) and stick it in the freezer for two to four hours. Meanwhile, peel and slice 4-6 apples

Toss the apples with lemon juice, sugar, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and nutmeg.

Roll out one half of the dough to 1/4 inch thickness and press it into a pie plate. Roll out the other half of dough for the lattice topping. Cut into 1/2-1 inch strips.

Fill the pie crust with the apple filling.

Weave strips into a lattice pattern. Top with egg yolk and milk. Bake at 425 F for 15 minutes,  then reduce heat to 350 F and bake 40-45 minutes, until crust is golden and filling is bubbly.

Apple Pie

Ingredients: (Yield: one 9″ pie)
Pie Filling
8 cups peeled and thinly sliced red delicious apples (about 4-6 apples)
2 tbsp. lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
2 tbsp. butter
1 egg yolk
1 tbsp. milk

Pie Crust

2 1/2 cup all-purpose flours
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. butter, diced
1/2 cup ice water


Pie Crust
1) Whisk together flour and salt in a large bowl. Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
2) Stir in the ice water slowly. Stir until you have a uniform dough, but don’t over mix it. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2-4 hours.
3) Divide the dough in half and roll out one half on a floured surface. Roll out to about 1/4 inch thick. Gently press into into the pie plate and trim excess from the edges. Add filling (see below).
4) Roll out the other half. Use a sharp knife cut into strips about 1/2 inch wide. Weave the strips in a lattice pattern.
5) In a small bowl, beat the egg yolk and milk. Brush mixture over top crust.
6)  Bake at 425 F for 15 minutes,  then reduce heat to 350 F and bake 40-45 minutes, until crust is golden and filling is bubbly.

Pie Filling
1)  In a large bowl, mix the sliced apples with lemon juice, sugar, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and nutmeg.
2) Fill pie crust with filling.

What is your favorite apple pie recipe? Are you a fan of lattice topping or brown sugar crumbs? (I like both!)

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One of my favorite healthy treats is a green smoothie. This is my go-to recipe when I’m too tired in the a.m. to come up with something creative. It’s super easy to make and tastes really great. Plus, at just 36 calories, one cup of kale offers 5 grams of fiber, and 15% of the daily requirement of calcium and vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), 40% of magnesium, 180% of vitamin A, 200% of vitamin C, and 1,020% of vitamin K. It is also a good source of minerals copper, potassium, iron, manganese, and phosphoru.  Kale also contains carotenoids and flavonoids – antioxidants associated with many of the anti-cancer health benefits. Nice!

To make this mega smoothie, just take two giant handfuls of kale, one banana, one cup almond milk and about a tablespoon of ground flax seeds and throw them into a blender.

Then mix until the kale is liquified. Then add about 3-4 ice cubes and blend again.

Pour your drink in the most fun glass you can find and enjoy!


Kale and banana smoothie

2 giant handfuls of kale
1 banana
1 cup almond milk (or whatever milk you prefer)
Tbsp ground flax seeds
3-4 ice cubes

1. Place all ingredients except ice cubes into a blender.
2. Blend until kale is liquified.
3. Add ice cubes and blend.
4. Enjoy!

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As you can probably tell by the recipes I post here, we eat a lot of chicken around here.  I know I should mix it up more, but the little one is very picky and I know he likes chicken.  Chicken is good for him (lean protein and all) and it’s relatively inexpensive.  So, chicken it (usually) is.  Though we do like to spice it up from time to time and that’s exactly what we did with this recice.  It’s the perfect amount of spicy – not too hot, just a little kick.

It’s another crock pot one, so enjoy!

Chicken Tortilla Casserole
(Adapted from Fix it and Forget It Lightly)

3whole boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and cut in 1″ pieces (reserve 1/4 cup broth chicken was cooked in)
10 6″ flour tortillas, cut in strips about 1/2″ wide x 2″ long, divided
2 medium-sized onions, chopped
1 tsp. canola oil
10 3/4-oz. an fat-free cream of mushroom soup
2 4-oz. cans green chilies, chopped
1 egg
1 cup low-fat cheddar cheese, grated

1. Pour reserved chicken broth in slow cooker sprayed with nonfat cooking spray.
2. Scatter half the tortilla strips in bottom of slow cooker.
3. Mix remaining ingredients together, except the second half of the tortilla strips and the cheese.
4. Layer half the chicken mixture into the cooker, followed by the other half of the tortillas, followed by the rest of the chicken mix.
5. Cover. Cook on low 4-6 hours or on high 3-5 hours.
6. Add cheese to top of dish during last 20-30 minutes of cooking.

Yields 8-10 servings

That’s it!  What I love about this is that it’s very inexpensive.  Check out this breakdown:

3 boneless chicken breasts – $3.50
10 6″ flour tortillas – $1.99 for a pack of 20 = $1
2 medium-sized onions – $3.99 for 5 lbs =  $.79
1 tsp. canola oil – very minimal
10 3/4-oz. an fat-free cream of mushroom soup – $.99
2 4-oz. cans green chilies, chopped – $4
1 egg – 12 for $3 = $.25
1 cup low-fat cheddar cheese, grated – 1 block of cheese for $3 = $1.50

Total $12.03 or $1.20 per serving

Not bad, right?


This post is linked with Tasty Tuesday, Fat Tuesday and Slightly Indulgent Tuesday

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Yesterday, I made Sweet n Sour Chicken in the crock pot.  It was delish!  Even better, it was cooking while my son and I were enjoying the beautiful day and gallivanting at the park.  We came home to a pretty much completely cooked meal (I still had to cook rice and thicken the sauce, but that’s easy-peasy).  I love crock pots.  Have I mentioned that before?  Oh that’s right, I have.

Anyway, the recipe says it takes fifteen minutes to prep but it might even be quicker than that.  All you need to do is chop a medium onion and about a pound of carrots, chopped into sticks.

Layer the carrots and onion in the slow cooker and top with chicken. (Side note: As you can see, I used chicken breasts with the bones in them, but this was a total accident as I bought the wrong chicken at the food store (fail).  The recipe calls for boneless chicken, though the chicken I used wasn’t a disaster, the recipe would have been better with boneless chicken.)

Drain a can of pineapple (reserve the juice) and place the pineapple over the chicken.

Mix together pineapple juice, brown sugar, soy sauce, chicken bouillon, salt, ginger, and garlic.  Pour over chicken and pineapples.

Cook on low for 6-7 hours.  Then combine cornstarch and water to thicken the sauce.  Cook another 30 minutes and serve over rice.


Here’s the complete recipe:

Sweet ‘N Sour Chicken
(Adapted from Fix It and Forget It Lightly)


1 lb. carrots, cut into sticks
1 medium onion, chopped
6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
20-oz can unsweetened pineapple chunks
½ cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
2 tsp. chicken bouillon granules
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. ground ginger
¼ tsp. garlic powder
3 Tbsp. cornstarch
¼ cup water
3 cups cooked long-grain enriched rice



1.  Layer carrots and onion in slow cooker.  Top with chicken.

2.  Drain pineapple, reserving juice.  Place pineapple juice, brown sugar, soy sauce, chicken bouillon, salt, ginger, and garlic.  Pour over top.

3.  Mix together pineapple juice, brown sugar, soy sauce, chicken bouillon, salt, ginger, and garlic.  Pour over top.

4.  Cook on low 6-7 hours.

5.  Combine cornstarch and water.  Gradually stir into slow cooker.

6.  Cook 30 minutes longer or until sauce is thickened.

7.  Serve over rice.


This post is linked with Not Just a Housewife, Tasty Tuesday, Fat Tuesday
Hearth & Soul Hop

Today, I want to share with you my greatest new find – Chocolate Zucchini Muffins.  They are delicious and (sort of?) good for you too!  That’s a win win in my book.

Bonus?  They’re really easy to make.

To start, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Grate about two large zucchini (enough to make 2 cups worth of grated zucchini).  I grated it with a hand grater, but it would be much quicker to use a food processor.

Next, combine the wet ingredients (eggs, oil, sugar, honey, and vanilla).

Whisk until smooth.  Then add the zucchini and mix until just combined (this is sugary zucchini heaven right here folks).

Then, in a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients (flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, and baking powder).

Add the wet mixture to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.

Transfer to greased muffin tins (it makes about 20-24 muffins) and cook for 18-20 minutes.


And here’s the full recipe:


Chocolate Zucchini Muffins
Adapted from Frugal Girl

3 eggs
1 cup oil
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup honey
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 cups zucchini, grated
2 2/3 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
2. In a medium bowl, combine the eggs, oil, sugar, honey, and vanilla; whisk until smooth. Stir in the shredded zucchini.
3. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, and baking powder.
4. Stir zucchini mixture into the dry ingredients and mix just until combined.
5. Transfer to greased muffin pans.
6. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
7. Let muffins cool in the pans for 5 minutes (though you won’t want to!). Then, remove from pans and cool completely.
8. Enjoy!


Have you ever tried zucchini bread or muffins?  They’re surprisingly yummy (even my husband and picky-eater son agree)!


This post is linked up with Tasty Tuesday, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Fat Tuesday, Katherine’s Corner, Domesblissity Simply Designing , A Little Knick Knack, and Staying Close to Home

Catch a Glimpse Button

Hubby Made Me

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I tried something new last night and I kind of love it.  As you know, I am all about natural-chemical free alternatives to store-bought cleansers.  I clean my floors with vinegar.  I clean pots and pans with baking soda.  So, when I heard about an all-natural facial cleanser, I was all for it.

For the past couple years (ever since I was pregnant, really), I’ve had issues with my face.  Nothing serious, but my skin just wasn’t the same as it used to be, you know?  I’ve bounced back and forth between a few different cleansers, but didn’t love any of them.

So, yesterday, I tried this homemade recipe:

All-natural facial cleanser

2/3 part olive oil
1/3 part castor oil

Combine in a bottle.  Apply to face in a circular motion for 30 seconds.  Cover face with a hot wash cloth for about a minute, then use the wash cloth to wipe off the oil.

That’s it!  My face feels super soft, moisturized and surprisingly clean.  It seems a little weird to be cleaning with oil, since that’s usually what you want to avoid on your face, but the olive and castor oils actually dissolve the bad oils that accumulate on your face, yet don’t strip away the good oils that your skin naturally produces. And you know what, it totally works!  From what I hear, it can actually improve the look of your skin.  Tsh at Simple Mom says it makes her skin softer and brighter.  Awesome!

So why in the world am I doing this?  Well, there are a few reasons.  The first is I’m tired of buying product after product and having them not work.  Second, it’s really good for the environment – less plastic waste, less chemical waste.  Third, it’s reducing my overall chemical exposure.  Oh, and it also saves money.  And if it improves the look of my skin?  Well, that’s like icing on the cake.

Now don’t get me wrong – I’ve only tried this for about a day and a half, so it might blow up in my face (pun intended), but I’ll keep you posted.


How about you?  Have you ever tried an all-natural beauty product alternative?  Would you ever incorporate olive and castor oil into your skincare routine?  Think I’m nuts?  Let me know!

Have you read the book Bringing Up Bébé by Pamela Druckerman?

It’s a good read.  The book follows one new mom as she navigates the world of parenting while living in Paris.  Throughout the book, she compares American parenting methods with French methods.  While there is a lot I don’t agree with in the book, one thing I found fascinating was how the French bake with their young (and I mean really young!) children.

In the book, Druckerman mentions a French friend’s 3 year old daughter who bakes a yogurt cake (gâteau au yaourt) all by herself. She explains that this is the first cake recipe that French children are taught due to the easy directions that include using the empty yogurt container to measure out the other ingredients.  Druckerman explains that it is French a belief that baking is a lesson in patience as children have to wait until it is done baking to enjoy their snack. Also, it teaches children counting, measuring and fractions. French children start baking with their mothers as early as one year!

Needless to say, I had to try it out! My son enjoyed dumping the ingredients into the bowls. He needed help measuring and cracking the eggs, but besides that, he was on his own. The cake turned out delicious and my son was so proud he had made it all by himself that he was enticed to try a piece (which further reinforces my belief that when children have a more active part in the baking or cooking process, they’ll be more inclined to eat it).

Yogurt Cake (gâteau au yaourt)
Adapted from Bringing Up Bébé

2 (6oz) containers of plain yogurt (keep containers for measuring the other ingredients)
2 eggs
2 containers sugar
1 tsp vanilla
just under 1 container of vegetable oil
4 containers flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 container mini chocolate chips or 2 containers of berries (optional)
Crème fraîche (optional)
powdered sugar (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 375 F
2. Coat 9″ round cake pan with cooking spray.
3. In a large mixing bowl, combine the yogurt, eggs, sugar, vanilla, and oil.
4. In a separate bowl, combine the flour and baking powder.
5. Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture and stir until just combined.
6. Add the chocolate chips or berries if desired.
7. Transfer mixture into the baking pan.
8. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until golden and the cake is springy. Let it cool.
9. Dust with powdered sugar and serve with the Crème fraîche if desired.


This post is linked up with Tasty Tuesday at Beauty and BedlamSlightly Indulgent Tuesday at Simply Sugar and Gluten Free, and Fat Tuesday at Real Food Forager

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I love ice cream.  I really, really do.  But ice cream doesn’t really fit into my healthy and frugal lifestyle.  It’s terrible for you (so high in fat and sugar) and it’s not cheap.  Luckily, there’s a better (and yummy!) alternative and it just might be the simplest recipe ever:

Soft serve “ice cream”

Frozen bananas

1. Blend frozen bananas in a food processor until smooth and creamy.
2. Add mix-ins such as cocoa powder, nuts – anything your heart desires!

It seriously tastes just like soft serve ice cream.  It’s rich and creamy – just like the real thing!  The recipe is completely customizable.  Add cocoa powder for a chocolatey taste.  Add nuts (I’m thinking walnuts would be a perfect addition).

It’s also a great way to use up bananas that are almost too ripe.  If I see that some bananas are almost on their way out, I’ll quickly peel them and toss them in the freezer (you have to peel them first – made that mistake once and won’t be doing it again).  It’s a great way to reduce food waste.  Bananas are always the first to get way too ripe, way too fast.


P.S.  I know what you’re thinking.  She’s got to be kidding me – there’s no way bananas can taste like ice cream.  But I’m telling you – you need to try it.  At first I was skeptical too.  I was all like if I’m craving ice cream, I going to want the real thing. I’m not going to be fooled by bananas.  Then one day I just tried it and I loved it.  Even though I knew it was bananas, I was shocked at how creamy and decadent they tasted!  Give it a shot, you’ll be surprised ;)

Have you ever been surprised by how yummy something healthy has tasted?  Have you ever tried frozen bananas ice cream?  Let me know what you think in the comments.

This post is linked with Beauty and Bedlam Tasty Tuesday

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I’ve been dying to find a great hummus recipe because I just knew making my own would be cheaper than buying it at the store.  That’s why I was so excited to find Thriving Home’s recipe for Simple Blender Hummus.  The recipe calls for tahini, chickpeas, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic and seasonings.  Sound pretty simple, right?

My first thought went something like, so where am I supposed to find tahini in the supermarket?  Yup, that’s right, I’m a tahini newbie.  Luckily, the guy working at the customer service desk knew exactly where to find it.  Except… well, they didn’t exactly have tahini, but they did have Tahina.

I could have gone to the specialty store to purchase the real thing, but Tahina is basically tahini with garlic and a small amount of chickpeas already added in.  I just went ahead and bought it, figuring it wasn’t worth the extra trip.

I also bought these chickpeas.  Besides that, I already had all the ingredients at home.  Score!

Now on to the recipe!  First step, mix everything but the chickpeas together.  I used a food processor, but you can even make this recipe in a blender (hence its name).

 Next, add chickpeas and process until smooth.

And enjoy!

Simple Blender Hummus Recipe
Adapted from Thriving Home

1/2 cup tahini paste
1/3 cup water drained from beans
juice of 3 lemons
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2-4 cloves of peeled garlic
1 1/2 − 2 tsp sea salt
2 tsp ground cumin
2 cans chickpeas, drained

1. Add all ingredients except the chickpeas to a blender.
2. Puree until garlic is minced and liquid is combined.
3. Add half of the chickpeas and blend until smooth. Add last of chickpeas and blend until smooth. You may need to add more bean water to achieve desired consistency.

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have you ever made cake in a slow cooker? It’s the perfect way to make a yummy dessert without heating the house up using the oven. Here’s a delicious and simple recipe for chocolate cake:

2 cups white sugar
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water

1. Spray slow cooker with cooking spray.
2. Whisk sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, oil and vanilla. Add the boiling water. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix well.
3. Pour the cake batter into the slow cooker.
4. Set slow cooker on “Low”. Cook about 3 hours or until cake has no wet spots on top and has pulled away from the sides of the crock.

Easy right? My only advice is to not take the lid off during the cooking time. This only dry out the cake – definitely not what you’re going for. Enjoy!

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