Family · For the kids · Frugal Life · Frugal Living Challenge · Homemade · Parenting · Recipes

Light and Fluffy Pancake Recipe

I love to make my kids pancakes for breakfast!  They are easy to whip up, VERY cheap to make, and always a huge hit with everyone in my family.  The only problem is that I am extremely picky about my pancakes!

I have spent YEARS (seriously.) trying dozens and dozens of different pancake recipes.  Some have been to sweet, others have ingredients I don’t commonly have in my house.  A few of the recipes had pancakes turn out way to flat.

I came across this recipe about 8 years ago…and we haven’t looked back since!  The pancakes are easy to make, ingredients are always stocked in my cupboards, and they turn out light and fluffy every single time!  It is a winner!

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Light and Fluffy Pancake Recipe

Ingredients

2 cups flour

2 Tbsp. sugar

1/2 tsp. salt

4 tsp baking powder

2/3 cup oil

2 eggs

1 1/2 cup buttermilk (if you don’t have buttermilk you can use milk, but I recommend buttermilk)

Instructions

In a large bowl stir all of the dry ingredients together.  In a separate bowl mix the oil, eggs and milk.

Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir just until mixed.

Pour 1/4 cup batter on hot griddle.  Bake until bubbles appear.  turn.  Bake the other side until golden brown.

Enjoy!

These pancakes are also so easy to freeze!  Find out how here:  Stock Piling your Freezer: How to freeze Pancakes for a Quick Frugal Breakfast

You might also enjoy my overnight oats recipe:  Quick and Easy Overnight Oatmeal

 

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Stock Piling your Freezer: How to freeze Pancakes for a Quick Frugal Breakfast

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for all ages

I really think my mom was supermom.  Granted, I didn’t think that when I was growing up….but now that I have become a mom myself, I am able to look back and realize just how hard she worked for our family.

I feel fairly confident when I say that many of you are supermoms as well.  You wake up early, spend all day serving your family, and go to bed late worrying about your kids.  My goal is to be supermom!  I fail about everyday, but I continue to try!

One of the many “supermom” traits from my mom was her willingness to make us a hot breakfast every single morning before school.  I knew that when I walked upstairs after getting dressed the table would be set, and a fresh warm breakfast would be served.  I TRY to do the same with my kids….but I REALLY struggle some mornings to find the energy and motivation.

I’ve recently started batch cooking many breakfast items and stocking up my freezer for quick breakfasts for my kids before they head out the door for school.

Making large batches of pancakes not only saves me time in the morning…it is also a VERY frugal breakfast!  You can spend 30 minutes one afternoon each week making a large batch of pancakes for the freezer, or the next time you make pancakes for breakfast simply double the batch and freeze the extras!  Here’s how!

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Make your pancakes following your favorite pancake recipe.  Let them cool completely.

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Place pancakes on a cookie sheet in a single layer making sure the sides aren’t touching.

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While the pancakes are in the freezer you can prepare your freezer bags.  All this takes is writing what “pancakes” and the date on the bag.

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Put the cookie sheets in the freezer for 30 minutes.  Once frozen take the pancakes off of the cookie sheets and place them all in your freezer bag.  It can be full as large as you need to.  Because you pre-froze them, they should be easy to break apart when you need to use them.

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Stick the bag of pancakes in the freezer and you are done!  Yay!  Easy peasy!

When you are ready to use the pancakes, simply take out the number of pancakes you need and microwave them until they are warm.  I usually microwave them for about a minute.

These are also easy for the kids to get out of the freezer themselves!  If I’m busy getting ready in the morning I sometimes tell my oldest to get out a few pancakes for all of the kids.

You might be interested in my other INCREDIBLY easy and frugal breakfast recipe:  Quick and Easy Overnight Oatmeal.

 

 

 

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Christmas Hard Candy Recipe

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I was introduced to Christmas Hard Candy when I married my husband.  It is a Christmas staple in his family.  It’s also so easy to make, and even more fun to eat! 😉

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I made Cinnamon version.  But, you can also make a peppermint version (tinted green) which is equally as good!  It’s fun to make both and have both red and green candy to give to neighbors.

You will need cinnamon oil or peppermint oil.  These are not usually found at a grocery store.  I buy mine at a craft store in the cake decorating section.  I also found them for you on Amazon.  Do not use cinnamon or peppermint extract, it won’t turn out as good!  (I promise, I tried!)

Christmas Hard Candy Recipe

3 1/2 cup sugar

1 cup light corn syrup

1 cup water

1/2 tsp cinnamon or peppermint oil

1 tsp red (for cinnamon) or green (for peppermint) food coloring

In a large heavy saucepan, combine sugar, corn syrup, and water.  Cook on medium to high heat until candy thermometer reads 300 degrees (hard crack stage), stirring occasionally.  Remove from the heat.  Stir in oil and food coloring, keeping face away from mixture as odor is very strong.  Immediately pour onto an oiled cookie sheet.  Cool and break into pieces.  Store in air tight container.

 

 

Let me know if you try it and like it!  It puts a big smile on my husbands face every year!

Check out my other Christmas Recipes:

Christmas Tree Cookie Recipe

Easy Hot Cocoa Mix Recipe

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Easy Hot Cocoa Mix Recipe

Hot cocoa is such a fun staple to have in your home during these cold winter months.  My kids will spend hours playing outside in the snow and the first thing they ask for when they come inside is some hot chocolate!

Back in my “spender” days I use to buy hot chocolate mix at the store like it was nobody’s business!  Once I started learning how to save and live a frugal life I learned how to make hot chocolate mix from scratch and I have never looked back!

Not only does making your own hot cocoa save you money, it is also so quick and easy to do.  It also tastes much better than what you will buy from the store!

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Hot Cocoa Mix Recipe

2 cups nonfat dry milk powder

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup cocoa

1/2 cup powdered creamer

1/8 tsp salt

Combine all ingredients and mix well.  Store in a tightly covered container.

To make hot chocolate:  Stir 1/4 cup mix with 3/4 cup boiling water.  Enjoy!

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We usually make this mix for our family to enjoy all winter, but it would also be a really frugal christmas gift for friends and neighbors.  Whip up a large batch, portion it into cute jars and tie a bow around it. Done!

 

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Christmas Tree Cookie Recipe

“We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.”

One of my favorite Christmas Traditions as a young girl was my mom making these delicious Christmas Tree Cookies!  I knew it was Christmastime when I came home to these delicious treats after school.

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My mom is no longer living, so I have continued on the tradition by making them for my kids.  They are SO easy and I love the hint of almond flavor!

One of the best parts of making Christmas Tree Cookies is getting to use this fun Wilton Cookie Press.  It’s really easy to use, and you can usually find one under $10!  It comes with a dozen different plates with fun shapes for cookies.  All you have to do is fill it with the cookie dough, turn it upside down and press the trigger!  Out comes a cute little tree.

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Christmas Tree Cookies

Ingredients

1 cup butter

3/4 cup sugar

1 egg

1 tsp almond extract

1/4 tsp salt

2 1/4 cups flour

1/4 tsp baking powder

green food coloring

Instructions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Cream the butter and sugar together in mixer.

Beat in egg and almond extract.

Mix dry ingredients together in a separate bowl.  Gradually add to mixer.

Add a few drops of green food coloring.  Mix well.

Fill Cookie Press with dough and insert the tree plate.

Use Cookie Press to make cookies on ungreased cookie sheet.

Sprinkle with red sprinkles.

Bake in hot oven for 8 minutes.

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They are so easy!  Your kids will look forward to them every year, I promise!

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How to Make Homemade Butter

I had a container of heavy whipping cream sitting in my fridge for a few weeks.  I kept looking at it, knowing I needed to do something with it, but never knowing exactly what!  My sister finally suggested to me that I should use the cream to make butter with my kids.

This actually turned out to be the best idea ever!  Making butter was so so easy, cheap, and my kids absolutely LOVED it!

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My kids loved shaking their jars and checking every 5 minutes to see if the butter had formed.  My daughter even said, “Wow!  They use to have to work hard in the olden days!  I can’t imagine doing this every time we needed butter.”  This led into such a great discussion about the conveniences we have now and how hard our ancestors had to work in order to survive.

You can make your very own butter; all you need is a mason jar and heavy whipping cream.

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Pour some whipping cream into the jar.  I filled our jars about half full, but if you are doing this with your kids I would recommend only filling it about 1/4 full.  I think it would’ve been easier and quicker for the kids if the jar had less cream in it.

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Now, you shake it!  Shake, shake and shake!  This took us about 45 minutes of hard shaking.  If I had done less cream I’m sure it would’ve been much quicker.

We turned on some music and danced while shaking our jars.

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The cream will slowly become thicker.  You will eventually notice the butter separating from the cream. The butter will form together in a nice solid ball.  Once this happens, you are done!  See, so easy!

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Drain the leftover cream, rinse your butter, and then transfer it to a plate.  Wah-lah!  You have made butter!

Now is the fun part!  Enjoy your butter on some fresh bread or rolls.  It really is delicious!

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What to do with your bulk chicken; including 6 Freezer Chicken Recipes

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I will receive compensation from purchases made through links in this post.  Thank you!

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I just tried out Savory Butcher for the first time, and I was SO impressed!  The customer service was incredible!  The meat was high quality and delicious!  And the price is right!

I bought the 40 lb case of chicken for $1.99 lb, which is an awesome deal.  Their chicken comes fresh from the farm, already trimmed, and no added hormones, anti-biotics, or preservatives.  Savory Butcher also offers high quality bacon and ground beef.

Savory Butcher has limited delivery locations, so check to see if they will be delivering near you.  Currently they deliver to areas in Washington, Oregon, Utah and Idaho.  If you live in one of these areas, look into when they will be delivering near you.

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I just spent a couple of hours prepping my bulk chicken.  I love stocking my freezer full of chicken for quick, easy dinners.  I prepped 8 ready to cook dinners; and 6 bags of plain chicken.  It does take a little bit of effort to prepare your bulk chicken, but the amount of money you save is SO worth it!

 

Freezing Your Bulk Chicken

When preparing chicken for the freezer I highly recommend using a vacuum sealer.  The vacuum sealer will make the process simple and helps prevent any freezer burn.  My sealer was not working (resulting in quite a bit of frustration on my part!).  I decided to freeze my chicken in freezer bags instead.  The freezer bags will work, just not as well as the vacuum sealer!

Separate your chicken into dinner sized portions, this resulted in about 2-3 chicken breasts per bag for my family.  Place each portioned chicken into freezer bag, remove all of the air and seal tightly.

These will store well in your freezer for 6 months.

 

Freezer Chicken Recipes

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Slow Cooker Honey Chicken

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2 lbs. chicken breasts

Salt and Pepper

1 cup honey

1/2 cup soy sauce

4 Tbsp diced onion

4 Tbsp ketchup

2 tsp garlic powder

4 tsp cornstarch

6 Tbsp water

 

Combine chicken, salt, pepper, honey, soy sauce, onion, ketchup and garlic powder in a freezer bag.

Let all air out of bag.  Seal tight and freeze.

When ready to prepare take it out of freezer and allow to thaw.

Dump entire bag of chicken and sauce into slow cooker.  Cook on low for 3-4 hours.

When finished cooking take chicken out of slow cooker and leave the sauce.

Combine cornstarch with water, stir well.

Add it into slow cooker with sauce.  Cook sauce on high until it begins to thicken (5-10 minutes).

Slice chicken into small chunks.  Return to slow cooker and stir with sauce.

Serve over rice.

Barbecue Chicken

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2 lbs. chicken breasts

1 container of barbecue sauce

 

Put chicken in a freezer bag.  Pour entire container of barbecue sauce on top.

Let all air out of bag.  Seal tight and freeze.

When ready to prepare take it out of freezer and allow to thaw.

Cook on grill.  Top with barbecue sauce to serve.

Lemon Garlic Chicken

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2 lb. chicken breasts sliced thin

1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 cup lemon juice

2 tsp garlic powder

salt and pepper to taste

 

Combine chicken, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic powder, salt and pepper in freezer bag.

Put chicken in a freezer bag.  Pour entire container of barbecue sauce on top.

Let all air out of bag.  Seal tight and freeze.

When ready to prepare take it out of freezer and allow to thaw.

Cook chicken on grill.

Serve with rice and veggies.

Balsamic Chicken

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This balsamic chicken recipe is available as part of my Free 14 Day Frugal Living Challenge.  You can sign up using this link and my 15 favorite frugal recipes will be e-mailed to you on Day 3 of the challenge.

Sweet and Spicy Chicken Tacos

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2 lb. chicken breasts

1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes

1/3 cup brown sugar

1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

 

Combine chicken, tomatoes, brown sugar and red pepper flakes in freezer bag.

Let all air out of bag.  Seal tight and freeze.

When ready to prepare take it out of freezer and allow to thaw.

Pour chicken and sauce into slow cooker.

Cook in slow cooker on high for 5 hours.

When done cooking shred chicken in sauce.

Serve in flour tortillas with your favorite toppings.

Grilled (or baked!) Island Chicken

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This grilled island chicken recipe is available as part of my Free 14 Day Frugal Living Challenge.  You can sign up using this link and my 15 favorite frugal recipes will be e-mailed to you on Day 3 of the challenge.

Favorite Baked Chicken

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2 lb. chicken breasts

3/4 cup olive oil

1/2 cup soy sauce

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

2 tsp garlic powder

 

Combine all ingredients in freezer bag.

Let all air out of bag.  Seal tight and freeze.

When ready to prepare take it out of freezer and allow to thaw.

Bake in 375 degree oven for 30 minutes.

Serve with baked potatoes and veggies.

Honey Lime Enchiladas

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1 lb. chicken

6 Tbsp honey

4.5 Tbsp lime juice

1 Tbsp chili powder

1/2 tsp garlic powder

10 oz. can green enchilada sauce

flour tortillas

shredded monterey jack cheese

 

Combine chicken, honey, lime juice, chili powder, and garlic powder in freezer bag.

Let all air out of bag.  Seal tight and freeze.

When ready to prepare take it out of freezer and allow to thaw.

Pour chicken and sauce into slow cooker.

Cook on low for 8 hours.

Shred chicken in sauce.

Pour a small amount of green enchilada sauce on the bottom of a 9×13 pan.

Fill tortillas with shredded chicken and cheese.  Place in pan.

Pour the rest of the green enchilada sauce over the tortillas.  Sprinkle with cheese.

Bake uncovered in 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.

 

 

 

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A Month of After School Snacks

I try to have an after school snack ready for my kids each day when they get home from school each day.  I’m not perfect at this, but I try!

The after school snack is a time for my kids to sit down, refill their bellies, and talk to ME!  😉

I will admit, a big reason I make the after school snack a priority is for selfish reasons.  My goal is that as they eat their snack they will tell me all the highs and lows of their day.  It doesn’t always happen this way, but sometimes I see success.  There have been amazing days when they have sat down and poured their hearts out to me over the snack.  And those days make it all worthwhile!

The after school snack is a slightly chaotic time in our household, but one I have come to cherish and look forward to.

I spent the past month taking a daily picture of our after school snacks.  I am NO “pinterest mom.”   My parenting thrives on simple and cheap.  If you are looking for the healthiest, fanciest snacks…..this is NOT that type of blog.  If you are looking for a few easy snack ideas, keep reading, you might find one here!

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Week 1

Day 1:  Peanut butter cookie, raisins

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Day 2:  Cinnamon sugar tortilla, grapes

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Day 3:  Whole wheat banana chocolate chip muffin, strawberries

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Day 4:  Bagel with cream cheese, strawberries

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Day 5:  Applesauce

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Week 2

Day 1:  Peanut butter cookie, dried apples

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Day 2:  Peanut butter crackers for running errands

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Day 3:  String cheese, orange

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Day 4:  Animal crackers, celery with peanut butter

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Day 5:  Fruit leather and dried apples

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Week 3

Day 1:  Animal crackers, grapes for running errands

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Day 2:  Homemade Graham Crackers, grapes

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Day 3:  Apple slices with peanut butter and chocolate chips (I use this mandoline slicer for the apples)

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Day 4:  Monster Rice Krispie Treats

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Day 5:  Frozen Blueberries

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Week 4

Day 1:  Oil popped popcorn

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Day 2:  Muffin Tin Snack of carrots, animal crackers, cheerios, raisins and string cheese

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Day 3:  Pumpkin muffin and raisins

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Day 4:  String cheese and carrots

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Day 5:  Cheerios and raisins

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It was actually so fun to look back and see all of the different snacks we had over the past month!  I hope that you found them helpful!

What are some of your favorite after school snacks?  Share with me in the comments, I’m always needing new ideas!

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Monster Rice Krispie Treats

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When I saw these darling Monster Rice Krispie Treats over at One Little Project at a Time I immediately fell in love with how cute and simple they were to make!  I decided they would be the PERFECT item for the Bake Sale at my kids Halloween Carnival.

Happily, these Rice Krispie Monsters turned out just as darling and easy as I had imagined.

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First, make your rice krispie treats according to the package directions.

Cut them into rectangles.  I cut mine slightly to big, next time I will be sure to cut smaller pieces.  (I must have been hungry 😉 )

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Next, prepare your chocolate.

I found these candy melts from Walmart.  You can order them off of Amazon, but they were cheaper at Walmart.  They were easy to melt and only took about 3 minutes, and no stress!

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Now, you dip your rice krispie rectangles into the chocolate.  You will want to be slightly quick with this.  As the chocolate cools it will be harder to dip.

All that’s left is to add on the candy eyes.  I also bought these at Walmart, but they are available on Amazon as well.  It was so fun adding the eyes and making the fun monster faces.  My kids loved helping with this part, and actually had some good ideas!

Let your cute monster rice krispie treats cool, and the chocolate harden.  And that is it!  All done.  Now, feed your monster treats to your little monster darlings.  😉

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How to Make the Perfect Zoodles

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My zucchini plants have been generous this year, and I have loved cooking with this delicious vegetable!  Zucchini is one of my favorite veggies because, it’s the vegetable that just keeeeeps on giving, and it is also so versatile!  We have been enjoying zucchini in bread, cookies, on the grill, fried, etc.

One of my very favorite ways to cook zucchini is to turn it into zoodles!  Zoodles is a great, healthier alternative to noodles. (and if you pick the zucchini from your garden….it’s also FREE!)  I will usually serve it under marinara or alfredo sauce, but any of your fave pasta sauces will work great!  If cooked correctly, the zoodles are really not a lot different from regular noodles.  They are also much more filling, with much less calories!  Sometimes my kids don’t even realize what they are eating……emphasis on the sometimes.

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Homemade Zoodles Tutorial

A vegetable spiralizer is my best friend when it comes to homemade zoodles.  I couldn’t find the exact one that I use, but this spiralizer on Amazon is very similar in price and design.  It is also only $15.99, great deal!

First things first, if your zucchini is long, you will want to cut it down into smaller chunks.

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Next, you will need to prep your vegetable spiralizer.  I use the Thin Spiral for my zoodles.  Put your thin spiral attachment in the spiralizer and then stick one of the zuchinni chunks into the middle, in between the handle and the blade.

Now, all you need to do is twist!  This part is so simple (and…kindof fun….really!).  The zucchini will spiral through the blade, be sure to have a plate to catch all the spirals!

You can eat the zoodles raw or cook them over the stove.  I prefer cooking them for a few minutes (don’t worry it is quick!).

Heat up 1 or 2 tablespoons of oil in a sauce pan.  Once the oil is hot, add the zoodles.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss in oil.  Continue to gently toss the zoodles while they cook.  Cook for 2-5 minutes.  I like them to be soft, but also slightly firm.

Serve with your favorite pasta sauce.  ENJOY!!!