Category Archives: Recipes

When I saw this recipe in the November issue of Sunset magazine I knew I had to try it. It is a very easy, no bake recipe, which makes a delicious, fall dessert. It’s pretty from the top and even prettier when you cut a slice! I tried it last weekend and it was a hit. Perhaps this will be a new tradition for our Thanksgiving table!

Pumpkin Chocolate Icebox Cake
Serves 12 (depending on the size piece!)

Ingredients:

3 packages (8oz@) of cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin
2 tablespoons half-and-half
1/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
28 chocolate graham cracker sheets (12 oz. total)
Unsweetened cocoa powder, for dusting

Beat cream cheese and sugars in a bowl with a mixer on medium speed until smooth. Then beat in pumpkin, half-and-half, salt, pumpkin pie spice, and vanilla until smooth and fluffy. Lay enough graham crackers in a 9- by 9-in. pan to cover bottom (cut to fit if necessary). Spread a quarter of pumpkin mixture over crackers with an offset spatula. Layer 3 more times, ending with pumpkin mixture. Cover; chill overnight. Set leaf cutouts (trace them on paper) on top and dust with cocoa, then remove. Cut cake into squares.

Linked to: TheINspirationNetwork, CallMePMC

Making your own laundry detergent is one way to save money on an ongoing basis. The recipe basically uses three items: a soap of some sort, washing soda and borax.

The most typical type of soap used is Fels Naptha. This is an old fashioned type of soap usually found in the laundry aisle. You can also use Ivory.

Washing soda is not to be confused with baking soda; they are not the same thing! It is a white powder and its purpose is to help remove dirt and odors. The brand to look for is Arm & Hammer Washing Soda. You can usually find it in the laundry section at the grocery store.

Borax is a naturally occurring mineral, used as a whitener and deodorizer. The brand to look for is 20 Mule Team, this should also be found in the laundry section. That’s it! Mixed with water you can make a liquid laundry detergent or don’t add water and just have a powder form, whatever your preference. The recipe I used also called for baking soda, which is also used as a deodorizer.

Homemade Laundry Detergent Recipe

1 bar of Fels Naptha soap, shaved
4 cups of hot water to melt the soap
3 gallons of hot water
1 cup of borax
2 cups of washing soda
1 cup of baking soda
1 large container about 4-5 gallons size

Here’s what you do: 
Grate the soap into a saucepan. Add 4 cups of hot water to the pan.  Simmer on low until the soap melts completely into the water. Add borax, washing soda and baking soda to the hot water. Simmer on low until it dissolves with the soap. If the mixture is not melting, add more water if needed. Add 3 gallons of hot water to your large container.  I used a large 5-gallon bucket. Add the mixture to the hot water. Mix with a large spoon until it
completely dissolves, let cool overnight. You will notice that it turns into a thick gel.

I do have an HE washing machine so after reading numerous recommendations I will only use a small amount. This is a low sudsing detergent and should work fine! Due to the gel like consistency I read that the mixture should be stirred well each time before using. I will fill a large Mason jar or old laundry detergent bottle with 1/2 – 3/4 of the liquid mixture and the rest with water. I will shake it really well before each use and should not have any problems with my HE washer doing it this way. It smells wonderful!

This recipe was introduced to me by my sister over a year ago, the minute I tasted it I knew it was a keeper. I think this is one of the most delicious ways to enjoy Butternut Squash! The recipe was adapted from a recipe found on the Epicurious.com web site. When my sister made it she substituted yogurt for the heavy cream and it was delicious! Enjoy!!

Butternut Squash Lasagna
Serves 6

3 pounds butternut squash, quartered, seeded, peeled, and cut into 1/2-inch dice (about 9 1/2 cups)
3 tablespoons oil
4 cups milk
2 tablespoons dried rosemary, crumbled
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
nine sheets dry no-boil lasagne pasta
1 1/3 cups freshly grated Parmesan (about 5 ounces)
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 450°F and oil a large shallow baking pan.

In a large bowl toss squash with oil until coated well and spread in one layer in pan. Roast squash in oven for 10 minutes and season with salt. Stir squash and roast 10 to 15 minutes more, or until tender and beginning to turn golden.

While squash is roasting, in a saucepan bring milk to a simmer with rosemary. Heat milk mixture over low heat 10 minutes and pour through a sieve into a measuring cup.

In a large heavy saucepan cook garlic in butter over moderately low heat, stirring, until softened. Stir in flour and cook, stirring, 3 minutes. Remove pan from heat and whisk in milk mixture in a stream until smooth. Return pan to heat and simmer sauce, whisking occasionally, about 10 minutes, or until thick. Stir in squash and salt and pepper to taste. Sauce may be made 3 days ahead and chilled, its surface covered with plastic wrap.

Reduce temperature to 375°F. and butter a baking dish, 13 by 9 by 2 inches.

Pour 1 cup sauce into baking dish (sauce will not cover bottom completely) and cover with 3 lasagne sheets, making sure they do not touch each other. Spread half of remaining sauce over pasta and sprinkle with 1/2 cup Parmesan. Make 1 more layer in same manner, beginning and ending with pasta. In a bowl with an electric mixer beat cream with salt until it holds soft peaks and spread evenly over top pasta layer, making sure pasta is completely covered. Sprinkle remaining 1/3 cup Parmesan over cream. Cover dish tightly with foil, tenting slightly to prevent foil from touching top layer, and bake in middle of oven 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake lasagne 10 minutes more, or until top is bubbling and golden. Let lasagne stand 5 minutes. Serve and enjoy!

 

Linked to: RealFoodFriday 

 

When you compare the prices of cleaning products in the stores with the cost of making them at home you’d be surprised at how much you can really save! If you were to add up the toilet cleaner, kitchen cleaner, window cleaner etc. it seems the average clean household requires close to $150 worth of chemical supplies at all times. You can switch to the healthier alternatives sold in the stores but they are also expensive. The best choice for your budget and your health is to make them yourself.

One of the first products I began to make myself was a window cleaner. A good friend shared her recipe years ago and I’ve been using it ever since! With just several basic products you probably already have in your home you can make a window cleaner that really does get your windows clean! In researching various homemade window cleaners I found there are two main recipes; one uses vinegar and the other ammonia. I’ve been using the one with ammonia, I’ll have to make both and compare!

Window Cleaner #1: This can be made right in your spray bottle. Mix ½ tsp dish detergent, 3 Tbsp vinegar and 2 cups of water. Shake it up and use like any commercial variety.

Window Cleaner #2: This can also be made in your spray bottle. Combine 3 Tbsp ammonia, 1 Tbsp vinegar and fill the rest of the way up with water.

Let me know which one you think is better! Or do you have your own unique recipe?

A good all purpose cleaner:
16oz spray bottle
2 Tbsp distilled vinegar
1 tsp borax
water (if you have hard water this needs to be distilled or purified water, otherwise use tap water)
2 Tbsp mild liquid dish soap

Mix the vinegar and borax with 1 cup of hot water until dissolved. Let the mixture cool and then pour into your spray bottle. Add enough water to the bottle leaving just enough room for your dishwashing detergent. Then add the liquid soap.

Next  weeks frugal tip will be making your own laundry detergent! Stay tuned!

ammonium, vinegar, cleaners

Ingredients to make household cleaners!

This recipe has been in our family for years and years. Originally a neighbor shared it with my mom and she’s been making it ever since. When I left home it was one of my mom’s recipes that I brought with me! The recipe is very simple and you can make the basic recipe as is or add more ingredients if you want. Use any kind of nuts, I’ve made it with walnuts, pecans and sliced almonds. All are delicious. Once the granola is cooled completely you can also add a variety of dried fruits; cherries, cranberries and raisins. This recipe is easy, inexpensive, very flexible and tastes much better than anything you can find in the supermarket!

6 cups of quick or old fashioned oats, uncooked
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
3/4 cup wheat germ
1/2 cup flaked or shredded coconut
1/3 cup sesame seed
1 cup chopped nuts
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup honey
1-1/2 teaspoon vanilla (optional)

Heat oats in ungreased 9 x 13 pan in 350 degree oven for ten minutes.

Combine oats, wheat germ, coconut, sesame seed and chopped nuts and stir. Combine brown sugar, vegetable oil, honey and vanilla. Pour over dry ingredients and stir until coated.

Divide mixture in half. Bake half in ungreased 9 x 13 pan at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring often to brown evenly. Cool. Repeat for other half, don’t let it get too brown or it will burn!

Store in an airtight container.

Linked To: GooseberryPatch

I love homemade gifts! As the holidays approach I try to think of gifts that I can make myself that might bless others. One favorite idea is homemade gift jars. You can fill jars with all sorts of gift ideas – cookie mixes, brownie mixes, or soup mixes. One of my favorites is a Minestrone Soup Mix. It makes four gift packages and when presented in a jar with a cute tag makes a wonderful gift. Most of the ingredients you probably have on hand in your pantry.

Minestrone Soup Mix

Flavoring Mix;
½ cup dried onion flakes
½ cup dried celery flakes
¼ cup dried parsley flakes
2 Tbsp basil
1 Tbsp dried oregano
1 Tbsp dried marjoram
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp pepper

½ cup beef-flavored bouillon granules
1 pound dried navy beans
1 pound dried kidney beans
2 cups elbow macaroni, uncooked

Combine the first 8 ingredients and divide evenly into 4 gift packages. Add 2 Tbsp of the beef flavored bouillon granules to each package. Label and seal.  Combine navy beans and kidney beans and divide into 4 gift packages. Label and seal. Place ½ cup of macaroni into 4 gift packages. Label and seal

Present one package of herb mix, one package of bean mix and one package of macaroni with a copy of the recipe for Minestrone Soup. You can layer the ingredients  in a jar or decorate a brown bag and include the ingredients in the bag. To each jar or bag attach the following recipe:

Minestrone Soup

1 pkg of bean mix
3 quarts of water
1 pkg herb mix
1 carrot, chopped
2/3 (4oz) of chopped lean cooked ham
1 (14.5oz) can stewed tomatoes, undrained
1 pkg macaroni

Sort and wash beans; place in a Dutch oven and cover with water, two inches above the beans. Soak for 8 hours. Drain beans; add 3 quarts of water, herb mix, carrot and ham. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for two hours, stirring occasionally, until the beans are tender. Add tomatoes and macaroni, cook 20 minutes or until macaroni is tender. Serve hot.

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