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Friday, September 27, 2013

Frugal Me Fridays- Freezing Fruit

If you find yourself with an abundance of fruit, freeze it for later.

Sometimes there are discounted or free bananas because they are over-ripe.
Grab them!

If you are given fruit, take it.

Fruit is so simple to freeze.

Peel and cut if needed.
Or just wash.
Freeze.

If you want to make sure the pieces don't stick together, freeze in a single layer on a baking sheet for a couple hours.
Take out of the freezer and put into containers or freezer bags.

Bananas are super simple.
You can freeze them for a frozen treat or for baking.

For treats, you will want to peel and either leave whole or mash.
My daughter likes them left whole, but you can mash them until smooth and than scoop out like ice cream.
If you are planning to bake with them, you can peel and mash or you can just stick the whole banana in the freezer.

My mom peels and mashes. She measures and than freezes.

I just stick the unpeeled banana in a bag and into the freezer it goes.
To use, thaw out and snip off one end of the banana and squish out the banana.
What I like about doing it this way, is that the mashing is virtually unnecessary.

I have heard frozen grapes are good treats too.
I have not tried it, but it's an idea worth trying.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Spaghetti Squash

 This is a spaghetti squash. A squash this size will feed a family of four or five. It is called spaghetti squash because you rake the flesh out with a fork and it comes out in strands somewhat like spaghetti.
You serve it like you would pasta. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper and maybe a little Parmesan cheese. You can also top it with a sauce like Alfredo or marinara.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit/190 Celsius.
You will need a pan large enough to lay the squash in.
You will also need a knife, a large spoon, and a fork.
A towel is nice, but not necessary. 

Ingredients:
1 spaghetti squash

Wash your squash off and pierce the hard skin a few times with a knife.
Lay in the pan and put in the oven.
Bake for one hour and poke with knife to see if it is tender. If the knife goes in fairly easy, it is ready. 

Take out and let it rest a few minutes.
With the knife, slice it in half lengthwise.
With the spoon, scoop out the seeds and spongy stuff.
You might want to hold a towel against outside of the squash so it's not so hot.
Rake the fork down the pulp and it will come out in strands.

Serve with sauce of your choosing.

The seeds can be roasted like pumpkin seeds or dried and saved for future planting.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Crockpot Hungarian Goulash

This is a great, simple meal that just screams comfort. Hungarian goulash is different from the tomato sauce/hamburger/macaroni version that most Americans are used to.

Serve this over rice or noodles and you have quite a meal.

This serves 4-6 people.

You will need a 4 to 6 quart size crockpot.

Ingredients:

2 lbs. cubed beef roast
1/2 cup ketchup
2 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1-1/4 cups water, divided
1/4 cup flour

Cut up the meat and put it in the crockpot.
Combine the ketchup,Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, salt, paprika, dry mustard, and 1 cup of the water.
Pour and over the meat and stir everything together.
Cover and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours until the meat is tender.
Combine the rest of the water and the flour.
Stir that into the beef mixture and turn on high for 10 to 15 minutes until the sauce thickens.

While the sauce thickens, cook your rice or noodles.

The cut of roast can determine how long to cook it. Chuck roast is tougher so it may take the full 10 hours, whereas a loin roast may be tender at 8 hours or less.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Frugal Me Fridays- Preserving



Preserving comes in many forms.

You can can.
You can pickle.
You can freeze.
You can make jams, jellies, preserves, or butters.
You can dry.

It's always great if you have your own garden or fruit trees, but you can save money preserving by getting stuff from friends, farmer's markets, or even the plain old grocery store.

One year, before I started growing my own pumpkins. I bought one at the store.
I cooked it up and pureed it and froze it.
You get the seeds as a bonus.
You can roast the seeds as a snack, bake with them, or just dry them and save to plant later on.

Frozen fruit can be used for making jam.
Buy some when it's on sale.
Tastes better and you'll save over buying it already made.

You can make jelly with bottled juice.
It works great.
Just buy some sugar, some juice, and pectin.
You are good to go.

You can dry your own herbs with a dehydrator or by letting them air dry.

So, if you ever find yourself a really good deal or have too much...
remember, there is always a way to save it for later.

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Have a great Friday!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Stuffed Peppers


Bell peppers are just made to stuff. These are a family favorite when the bells are in season. Yes, you can buy them year round, but it can be hard to find some good fresh ones.

You can stuff them by cutting them in half, taking out the membrane and seeds and stuffing. This is for those times when the bells are more pointy ended.
If you have bells that stand up well, you can just cut off the tops, remove the membrane and seeds and stuff.
They are tasty either way. It just depends on how you want them to look.

This recipe will make 3 to 6 stuffed peppers. If your peppers are really large, you will have enough filling for 3. If they are more normal, medium size, you will get 6.

You will need a pan of boiling water for the peppers.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit/175 Celsius.
You will need a baking pan large enough to hold the peppers.
You will also need a large skillet.

Ingredients:
6 medium bell peppers OR 3 extra large peppers
salt-opt.
1 lb ground beef or turkey
small chopped onion-1/4 to 1/3 cup
2 cups chopped tomatoes OR a 16 oz. can
1/4 cup white rice
1/2 cup water
2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper to season
1 cup shredded cheddar OR cheddar/jack cheese plus a little for sprinkling

Cut the peppers in half lengthwise OR cut the tops off and remove the seeds and white parts. 
Bring a pan of water- large enough to hold all the peppers- to a boil.
Immerse the peppers and cook for 5 minutes.
Drain.
Sprinkle with salt, if you'd like.
While you are doing that, add the 1/2 cup water and rice to a small pan with a tight fitting lid. Bring to a boil and then turn down to a simmer.
Cover the pan and cook for 15 minutes or until water is absorbed. You should end up with approximately 3/4 cups rice.
Set the rice to the side.
In a large skillet cook the meat and onion.
When the meat has browned, add the tomatoes, rice, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper.
Mix and simmer about 5 minutes.
Add the cheese.
Stuff the peppers.
Put in baking pan and bake for 25 minutes.  Sprinkle with more cheese.

Serve.

One time I made these and halved the recipe. Except, I forgot to cut the amount of cheese in half. It was excellent.
So, if you love cheese, go ahead and add some more!

Thanks, Lynn, for reminding me to post this recipe!



Monday, September 9, 2013

The Ripening

My bell peppers are starting to ripen. I love having red peppers as well as the green.

What I hate, is the waiting. They stay green for so long before they start to turn red, yellow, orange, purple, or whatever color you have.

My daughter prefers the green for snacking. But, the sweetness of the fully ripe pepper is great in cooked dishes.

The white powder on my plant is Diatomaceous Earth. It's organic and tomato horn worms and grasshoppers have been my enemy in the garden this year.

So, if you want ripe peppers and think they will never turn, just wait and wait.
And wait a little more.
They will get there.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Zucchini Cupcakes with Caramel Frosting


These are really tasty. They are also a great way to use any zucchini, should you find yourself with an abundance of it.

This recipe is wheat free. Instead of wheat flour, oat flour and a small amount of ground flax seed is used.


Oat flour can be bought. You can also make it by grinding it finely in blender, food processor, or spice grinder.

You will need muffin tins and cupcake liners for 18 regular size cupcakes.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit/ 175 Celsius.


CUPCAKES-

Ingredients:
3 eggs
1-1/3 cups sugar
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup orange juice
1 teaspoon almond extract
2-1/2 cups oat flour
1/3 cup ground flax seed, also known as flax meal
2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt, optional
2 teaspoons cinnamon
heaping 1/4 teaspoon allspice
1-1/2 cups shredded zucchini

In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugar, oil, orange juice, and almond extract.
In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients. 
Add the dry ingredients to the sugar mixture and mix well.
Add the zucchini and blend that.
Divide the batter evenly between the cupcake liners. They will be about 2/3 full.
Bake 18-20 minutes or until the cupcakes test done when using the toothpick test in one.
Take out of the oven, but leave in the pan for 10 minutes.
After 10 minutes, remove from pan to a wire rack to finish cooling.
Frost.

CARAMEL FROSTING-

Ingredients:
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/2 to 2 cup powdered sugar

In a medium size saucepan, melt the butter, brown sugar, and milk together.
Bring to a boil and stir for two minutes.
Take off the stove and stir in the vanilla extract.
Let it cool to just warm.
Stir in the powdered sugar a half cup at a time until you reach a frosting like consistency.
Frost each cupcake.
As the frosting cools all the way, it will get thicker.
So, either use a little less powdered sugar and frost when totally cool OR frost before the frosting is completely cool.
I frosting mine with the frosting slightly warm.

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You may use all-purpose wheat flour. Instead of the oat flour, use wheat all purpose flour and don't use the flax meal.
Also lower the baking powder to just 2 teaspoons.