Friday, October 23, 2009


I so am not a fan of grocery store cereal. It's so bad that my kids get cereal for their birthday and think it's the most special gift in the world. So recently I've been striving to keep homemade granola on hand for those who just can't stomach one more bowl of oatmeal. They like it so much, that I've had to put a measuring cup in the container. In reality, if we all ate this it would probably last us two days if we ate the right portion size. This stuff is packed full of good calories, but too much of a good thing in the end is not a good thing- if you know what I mean.

Homemade Granola

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 60 minutes
Servings: 24
Cost: Approx. $2.50

6 cups old fashioned oats ($.25)
1 cup oat bran cereal ($.75)
1/4 cup flax seeds ($.50)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped almonds ($.75 if bought in bulk)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil or unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup honey ($.50)
1/2 cup water
1 tsp vanilla

Mix oats, bran, seeds, cinnamon, almonds and brown sugar. In a sauce pan combine oil/applesauce, honey water and vanilla over low heat until well incorporated. Pour liquid over dry ingredients and mix well.

Spread on cookie sheet or jelly roll pan. Bake at 300 for 60 minutes stirring every 15.

Let cool completely and store in air tight container.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Preserving: Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Well, I couldn't let all those seeds go to waste, so roasting the seeds was the best option. Those two pumpkin produced 2 cups of seeds. Apart from getting them separated from the pulp, the rest was easy.

1 cup pumpkin seeds
1 Tbsp butter melted
salt to taste

Coat seeds well in butter and salt. Place on cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes stirring occasionally. Enjoy!

I got distracted so about half of ours burned. Next time I'll be more diligent. But according to Joseph, "The dark brown ones are the best!"

Note: 1 cup of seeds prepared this way is 1000 calories. Great snack if you are hiking in the wilderness. For the rest of us moderation is the key.

Preserving: Pumpkin

Join in on The Grocery Cart Challenge Recipe Swap to see this recipe and many others!

I purchase 2 organic pie pumpkins at the local Farmer's Market for just under $7 with the hopes of preparing some fresh pumpkin pulp. I love pumpkin flavored everything and heard a wild rumor that it's going to be hard to find this fall. So as not to be left empty handed and to hopefully save some money, I tried my hand at it.

Here's what I did:

Cut the pumpkins in half, removing pulp and seeds.
Cut the pumpkin into wedges.
Place the wedges face down in my roaster oven with about 1 cup of water
Cooked them for 3 hours at 350.
When cooled, removed the skin.
Mashed the pulp with a potato masher (my blender suddenly broke)
Measured out 15 ounce (same as a small can of pumpkin) bags to store in the freezer.

I ended up getting 6 15 oz servings- about equivalent to $1 a can. From what I've researched a can of organic pumpkin sells for between $2-3. Not bad.

Two things that surprised me were how utterly hard it was to cut a pumpkin and how much lighter in color the pulp was than what I envisioned.
Any thoughts?

I have yet to use it, but have plans on making a Pumpkin Meringue Pie someday soon.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Apple Butter Cake

As promised, I've begun using our apple butter to trial some new recipes. This cake was SO delicious! The icing wasn't quite what I expected. It turned out to be more like a glaze, but it did not lack in flavor. I made it a two layer round cake. Next time I think it will be bundt. Sorry, no picture for this one. It was gone before I had a chance.

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Serves: 16
Cost: Approx. $2.50

1/2 cup butter ($.75)
1 cup sugar
4 beaten eggs ($.25)
2 1/2 cups flour ($.25)
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup milk
1 cup apple butter ($1.00)

Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs. Add sifted dry ingredients alternating with milk. Mix well. Blend in apple butter. Pour into greased baking pan. Bake at 350 for 45-50 minutes.

Quick Caramel Icing

1 cup brown sugar ($.25)
1/2 cup cream/milk
1 1/2 Tbsp butter
1/2 tsp vanilla

Combine sugar and milk in a saucepan and cook covered for several minutes. Remove lid, bring to a boil. Allow to boil for a few minutes stirring occasionally. Add butter. Remove from heat and cool to lukewarm. Add vanilla and beat until thick and creamy. (Mine never reached this consistency.) Spread on warm cake.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Apple Butter

You can find this recipe and many others for your kitchen at the Recipe Swap at the Grocery Cart Challenge.

What to do with
30 pounds of apples? (I can't resist a sale.) Make A LOT of apple butter. It was a bit of work, I'll admit, but my helpers were eager to mash and strain. And the cost savings is significant. A 12 oz jar of apple butter can be between $4-5. Our cost was around $1.75 for 12 oz. With this apple butter I plan on trying a few new recipes: Apple Butter Pie, Apple Butter Pancakes, Apple Butter Cake with Caramel Icing, and Apple Bread Pudding. Any requests on which one I should make first?

Prep Time: 10 minutes (using and apple corer)
Cook Time: 3 hours
More Prep Time: 1 hour (w/o food mill:(
Yield: 16 cups
Cost: Approx. $6.00

15 pounds apples cored and sliced ($6.00)
2-3 cups sugar
4-5 cups apple cider ($2.00)
Cinnamon to taste

Place apples in large pan or roaster. Cover with cider and desired cinnamon. Bake at 300 for 3-4 hours or until apples are soft and falling apart. Mash through a medium strainer (or food mill if you have one). Store in airtight container. Freeze or refrigerate immediately.

Creamy Stewed Apples

Last weekend I picked up a small cookbook entitled, "Old-Fashioned Apple Recipes". Knowing that I had 30 pounds of apples at home waiting for me was quite the motivating factor. I just couldn't pass up a 5lb bag of gala apples for $1.89 each. Here's one simple way to cook apples that is beyond delicious.

Prep Time: less than 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15-20 minutes
Serves: 8
Cost: Approx. $1.00

4 apples cored and sliced
bacon grease or 2 Tbsp butter
2/3 c brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 Tbs flour
1/2 cup cream or milk

Cook apples in bacon grease or butter for about 2 minutes stirring constantly. Mix brown sugar, salt and flour into the cream/milk to form a smooth paste. Add to apples. Cook at medium heat until mixture thickens. Sprinkle with cinnamon before serving.

This would make a great side dish, but we enjoyed our served over cinnamon french toast. It made for a perfect accompaniment to spinach/bacon/cheese crustless quiche. Pretty good for a meal made from what was already on hand.