Thursday, April 30, 2009

Cookies and flowers

All 3 of these recipes are based on cookie recipes from an online healthy eating - weight loss site. They are good, basic ingredient cookie recipes that make small batches.

I put some of the cookies in jars for snacks and desserts for the next week , froze half of the dough of one recipe and bagged up single serving size baggies of cookies to freeze for Jeff's lunch box.

Caramel Cookies
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 tsp table salt
1/2 tsp baking soda

Preheat oven to 400°F.
In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, cream butter, sugar, egg and vanilla extract. Add remaining ingredients and beat thoroughly.
Scrape dough out of bowl and onto a large piece of plastic wrap. Roll dough into a log, about 2 1/2-inches wide; completely wrap dough in plastic and refrigerate until firm, at least 20 minutes or up to overnight. (I made mine into 2 rolls, baked one after chilling and froze the other roll for later)
Cut dough into 1/8-inch-thick slices and arrange on several large ungreased cookies sheets about 1- to 1 1/2-inches apart. Bake until lightly browned around edges, about 8 to 10 minutes.
Allow cookies to cool on cookie sheet for about 1 minute and then remove to a wire rack to cool completely. Yields about 45 cookies

Chocolate Pecan Spice cookies This is a puffy cookie, it does not spread much while baking
pecan halves - 1 for each cookie, about 24-36
1/2 cup sugar
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp apple butter
1 large egg white
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Combine sugar and butters in a medium bowl. Beat on medium speed with an electric mixer until soft. Add egg white and vanilla; beat until combined, scraping mixture off sides of bowl as needed.
In a medium bowl, whisk together cocoa, flour and baking powder. Add to butter mixture; beat to combine.
Drop dough by even teaspoonfuls, about 1 inch apart, onto ungreased cookie sheets. Place 1 pecan half on top of each cookie. Bake for 12 minutes; remove from oven and allow to cool on pan for 5 minutes. Remove cookies with spatula to a rack to cool completely.

Yields about 24-36 cookies

Oatmeal Pecan Lace Cookies These spread a lot, leave room between each one on the baking sheets or you might end up with one giant cookie mess.

1 1/4 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup chopped pecans, finely chopped (or any nut you like)
1/8 tsp table salt
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 large egg - beaten
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350ºF and cover 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper or just grease them lightly..
Mix oats, sugar, baking powder, pecans and salt together in a medium bowl until mixed.
Add butter, egg and vanilla to oat mixture; mix well.
Drop teaspoonfuls of batter onto prepared cookie sheets and flatten each out, leaving at least 2-inches between each cookie.
Bake cookies until edges turn golden, about 8 to 12 minutes. Let cookies stand on cookie sheets for 2 minutes before removing from baking sheet.

Yield - about 2 dozen cookies

visit Gayle at the Grocery Cart Challenge for more low-cost recipes.

Changing the subject, here are pictures of my favorite plants that growing in our yard right now.

first iris to bloom this spring




Tuesday, April 28, 2009

what a difference $1 makes

I bought this nice denim bedskirt and 2 pillow covers at the $1 a bag rummage sale last month. I did not intend on using it on my bed but bought it because it was such nice denim fabric.

Yesterday, I saw that this star quilt has just a little blue in it so I thought I would try it on this bed and am really happy with it.
This bed skirt is such good quality that even the fabric part that goes under the mattress is the same nice denim, not that psuedo-interfacing material that is used for most skirts.

The sheets are red and white gingham. I was not really going for such a country, patriotic look but the room is really comfortable and looks more finished now.

One corner of the room has this quilt rack.

We put a chair in each of the corners by the window.

There are no dressers or chest of drawers in this room because our closet is big enough to hold our clothes. That leaves plenty of extra space in this room. I would really prefer this room was smaller but houses now just seem to be increasing the size of master bedrooms, not making them smaller.

Coupon Cartoon

This cartoon reminds me of my children when they were little. They did not shop with me very often but when they did, they knew I used lots of coupons and they even thought you had to have a coupon as well as money to buy something.

They were very sweet and they said please a lot too.

I look forward to my emails everyday from and
I like them so much, I've even made scrapbooks of the funniest ones.

Week 17 2009


1 loaf bread at Dollar Tree


pack of 20 small tortillas
egg roll wrappers (I used 6 and froze the rest)
2 12 ounce bacon
clementines, potatoes, frozen peas and corn
4 boxes crackers
1 Kraft dressing - I had 1 more $1.50 coupon
1 gallon skim milk

April 22
French Onion Salisbury steak with fresh spinach

April 23
Chicken breasts with dressing and oven roasted asparagus

April 24
Soft beef tacos

April 25
sandwiches for lunch
Asian veggies and chicken with rice and egg rolls for supper

April 26
cereal for breakfast
BLTs for lunch
baked turkey with gravy, mashed potatoes and big salad for supper

April 27
leftover chicken/rice from Sat. and big salad

April 28
Turkey shepherds pie with fresh spinach and green salad
for more menus and shopping totals, visit Gayle at Grocery Cart Challenge

Friday, April 24, 2009

Busy Baby

Grandson Gavin is 11 weeks old and he is already so busy. He loves to watch his mobile or lay on a play mat. And he kicks and waves his arms more than any baby I've ever seen.
This video is less than 30 seconds long and I promise it will make you smile.

Cookies for weekend snacking

I baked 3 small batches of cookies this morning to have for weekend desserts and snacking. Aren't the jars so cute? I got these from Nina's box of randomness.

This first recipe is from my friend Andrea. She is a magazine editor and has the best recipes and decorating ideas, but no, she does not blog.
One Bowl Macaroons - makes 12-15 cookies
1 1/3 C flaked coconut
1/3 C sugar
3 TBSP flour
1/8 t salt
2 egg whites
1/2 t almond or vanilla extract

heat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix together the coconut, sugar, flour and salt (Just use a spoon, no need for a mixer)
Mix the egg whites and extract, just till the egg white is broken up and a little frothy.
Combine both mixtures.
Drop by teaspoon on lightly greased baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes.
If you want a fancier cookie, you can dip them in chocolate.

Chocolate Meringues - makes about 15
2 egg whites
1/2 C sugar
1 heaping T baking cocoa -sifted (I just sift it over the bowl)
1/4 t vanilla
a scant 1/2 c mini chocolate chips / about 3 ounces
preheat oven to 275 degrees
beat egg whites with mixer on high speed until frothy and soft peaks form.
With mixer running, slowly add the sugar and continue to beat until still and glossy peaks form.
With a rubber spatula, gently fold in vanilla, then cocoa and choc. chips. Some streaks may remain, don't over mix.
Drop batter by tablespoon onto parchment lined sheet.
Bake for 35-45 minutes - until the cookies feel dry all the way through and hard.
Store in an airtight container.

The chocolate chip cookie recipe is a family favorite and you can see it here.

for more frugal recipes, visit Gayle at the grocery cart challenge Friday recipe swap.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Free Mulch

There are 2 places in my town that I know of to get free mulch. One is from the city recycling center that is run by the sanitation department. They chip up the tree branches that the sanitation trucks pick up.
The other is at our fairgrounds. They move the bedding from the animal stalls out to the back field and it is free for the taking.
Jeff went out this morning and got a big load of that free mulch. Last week, it was bedding for the show horses. This week, it is mulching my flowerbeds.
Anyone can get this free mulch, but it is best if you have a pick-up truck and a husband willing to do that work.

After - part of the flower bed by the front sidewalk.

This flower bed is in the corner of the front yard.
The pink flowers are Dianthus - really hardy perennials that come back bigger every year.
And if you look close, you will see lots of buds on the irises. They should bloom very soon.

Thanks, Jeff!

Monday, April 20, 2009

week # 16 -2009

What I bought
trash bags
8 pack paper towels
2 cases Dasani water
Dollar Tree
4 loaves high fiber bread
flour, yeast, coconut, sugar, brown sugar, chocolate chips
squeeze mustard, red wine vinegar, barbecue sauce
1 pound butter, 1 dozen eggs, 2 gallons milk, sour cream, whipped topping,
cheese slices, 2 pounds sharp cheddar
bacon and sausage
jalapenos, strawberries, red grapes

Aldis Some of these are repeats I already bought but Jeff ended up where he could shop at Aldis so I had him stock up on things that were a good price
2 spinach, romaine hearts, asparagus, bell peppers, 2 iceberg lettuce
mushrooms, red onions, roma tomatoes, grape tomatoes
2 saltines and 1 can cashews
2 choc. chips, 2 flour, brown and powdered sugar, baking cocoa, quick oatmeal

Meals served
April 15
last of the Easter ham with potatoes and green beans

April 16
Taco Rice Salad

April 17
Mexican Pasta skillet with a big salad

April 18
eggs, sausage and biscuits and OJ for breakfast
Hideaway pizza for supper

April 19
Biscuits and gravy with eggs, sausage, bacon and OJ for breakfast
pork loin sandwiches with potatoes for lunch
leftover pizza with a big salad for supper

April 20
big green salad, chicken tenders and strawberry shortcake
I used these 2 Martha Stewart recipes and both are keepers.
chicken tenders we made our own sauce from dijon and horseradish

April 21
big green salad with onion salisbury steak and the rest of the strawberry shortcake
For more grocery cart and meal ideas, visit

what I'm doing today

Taking care of baby Gavin - check out his socks, they look like Converse high tops but are just socks. Gavin is 11 weeks old today.
I got this gold R at a rummage sale for 10 cents - sorry my pictures are out of order but look below to see it's makeover.

My daughter gives me boxes of randomness every so often - it is her no longer needed or wanted junk but I usually find very nice and useful stuff in her junk. I got this assortment from here last year.
Today I will be going through this current batch. Some of it is really junk but I 've washed the 3 glass jars, they will look great in my pantry. The pink Maggie B makeup bag and glasses case will be going in my purse. I think the napkin holder will be great in the breakfast nook.

The R after it's makeover.
I spray painted it black, cut an R from a sheet of damask print scrapbook paper and adhered it with Mod Podge.

Laundry drying on my new clothesline. I've been wanting one for quite a while. My lawyer-to-be son asked if I had the checked with the restrictions of our homeowners association, and, No, I have not, but I don't think it will be a problem. It is in the backyard inside a privacy fence.

I probably won't dry all our laundry outside but according to Gayle, you can really reduce your energy bills if you switch to line drying.

Update - Valerie asked where I got my clothesline. I could not find one sold locally so I ordered this one from Amazon. Jeff installed it with one bag of cement. I'm very happy with its quality and design.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Week #15 - 2009

4 spices on sale at May's
2 whole turkeys
3 whole pork loins - Jeff smoked these, then we sliced them and put them in the freezer in meal sized portions
3 2 liter soda
11 more salad dressings - used $1.50 coupon on each one
3 cans biscuits
yellow onions, red onions, carrots, romaine hearts, roma tomatoes, spring mix and frozen broccoli
dry mustard
wide foil
3 boxes jello
bag of sweetener
2 bags chips
2 Vitamin water - free after coupons

Meals served

sliders on homemade buns with browned potatoes

porcupine meatballs with a big salad

supper out

sausage biscuits and eggs for breakfast
smoked pork loin and salad for late lunch/early supper

sausage, biscuits and eggs for breakfast
Easter meal of spiral ham, scalloped and baked potatoes, garlic cheese biscuits, big salad, deviled eggs, pound cake, cupcakes and banana bread

Easter leftovers

smoked pork on buns, salad, fresh fruit and chips

For more real shopping trips and meals, visit Gayle at Grocery Cart Challenge

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter Plumbing

We had a little hitch in the middle of cooking for today's Easter meal. We've had a few problems with a leak under the kitchen sink and Jeff has worked on it twice and we thought it was fixed. But while I cooking, Jimmy was walking in the living room and discovered that carpet was wet.
The leak was worse than we thought. Jeff started taking the plumbing apart and discovered our faucet was bad.
This could not have happened at a much worse time. See all the dirty dishes waiting-- and the kitchen plumbing not working!
the dirty dishes from making a big salad, deviled eggs, banana bread and a pantry pound cake.

We headed to Lowes and took the coupons that were in today's paper. Our old faucet was a Moen and since it did not seem to last too long, we wanted to try a different brand. We got this AquaSource one.
The old one came off pretty quick and went right in the trash.

Jimmy and Jeff both worked on the plumbing.

and Bobby worked on the new faucet.

After about 3 hours total, the new faucet was installed and working perfectly, no leaks!
The dishes all got washed and our meal, though modified a bit, was served on time.
The instructions on the new faucet said it should take about 12 minutes to install, but don't believe it - I'm afraid that is wrong!
I'm very thankful for my handy guys! They don't like to plumb but they got the job done.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Easters Past

I don't know if anyone but my family will be interested in these old pictures but they all have fond memories for me. So just skip this post if you don't want to see a bunch of old pictures with eggs and baskets.

The picture may have Aug 1963 printed on it but it was taken Easter. The 2 boys are my brothers and I am the first girl with curls. The other 2 girls lived near-by.
Look how tiny the houses in the background seem. Back then, everyone we knew lived in a similar tiny house.

I'm in the white peasant top. I was decorating eggs that evening. My brother and his girlfriend had a date that night but they stayed and decorated eggs for awhile. Do teens still get that dressed up for a plain old Saturday night date?

Bobby, Nina and Jimmy with a big basket of eggs.

Jimmy, Nina and Bobby after church in the church parking lot. We lived aboard Camp Pendleton and went to church in San Clemente. Our church was on a hillside and isn't that a great view? I think San Clemente is one of the prettiest towns.

Nina and I in front of our Camp Pendleton home.

Clint, Bobby, Jimmy and Nina
we were living in Jeff's grandparents farmhouse in OK this year.
Can you see the boy's boots? They all had matching faux snakeskin cowboy boots.

this was our front yard when we lived in the house we built in the country.
so however you celebrate Easter tomorrow, take some pictures! In years to come, you will be glad you did.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Week #14 - 2009

Groceries purchased
2 huge boxes of Gain at Dollar General, used their $5 store coupon and manufact. coupons. ( I won't need detergent for months!)
3 boxes Lipton tea, on sale at Walgreens
2 loaves bread at Dollar Tree
4 gallons OJ (yes, it was on sale)
14 pounds 90% lean ground beef
3 whole chickens
spiral ham for Easter
turkey lunchmeat
6 1/2 pounds assorted cheddar and mozzarella
2 pounds Velveeta
2 gallons milk
18 eggs
22 bottles Kraft salad dressing - on rollback at Walmart for $1.58, used $1.50 coupons on each one (yes, we really do eat a lot of salad and I got the extra coupons on Ebay)
20 pounds potatoes
romaine hearts
red grapes
red onions
yellow onions
roma tomatoes
24 pack sodas
3 boxes jello
bowtie pasta
3 boxes drink mix - used a B2G1F coupon
brown sugar
Pam-type spray
2 bags chips
2 Cascade used $3 coupons on each

Meals served
April 1
chicken and noodles, green salad, cookies
April 2
Pork loin baked with sauer kraut, fried potatoes and salad
April 3
roast beef baked with carrots and potatoes, gravy, green beans with onions, homemade rolls
April 4
biscuits, bacon and eggs for breakfast
sandwiches and chips for lunch
turkey breast with mashed potatoes and gravy, cole slaw and homemade rolls for supper
April 5
struesel puffs for breakfast
lunch at Nina and John's
Chicken chili for supper
April 6
"Oliver Spaghetti" - marinara sauce over pasta topped with shredded sharp cheddar
April 7
Chicken Rice Pilaf
for more real meals and shopping trips, visit Gayle at the Shopping Cart Challenge

Rummage sale finds

We went to 2 church rummage sales on Friday and one neighborhood garage sale on Saturday. We found lots of goodies. Gavin got several thing. Isn't the little denim jacket so cute? I found it at the $1 a bag church sale. The staff passes out big paper grocery sacks and then you just fill your bags with as much as you can.
The other toys were a quarter each. The ducky is still in the package and monkey that plays music and lights up still has it's original tag.
I was hoping to find a good deal on a stroller for Gavin and we came home with 2 and only spent $5 for both. When our weather gets better, I will take him for a stroll and see which one rolls better and pass on our least favorite one to someone else.

Here's a very close-up of Gavin, he did not go shopping, not yet anyway!

A bunch of vintage sewing supplies from the $1 a bag sale.

I love this iron birdie rack! It was $1. It is heavy and came with a set of anchors. So I will have to find a good spot for it where it can stay. I may paint it black, what do you think?

8 pieces of milkglass - white glass, would you believe they were 50 cents each? A young lady had a long table full of nothing but this white glass. I'm guessing one of her older relatives spent a long time collecting it.
I'm very happy with the ones I got. Jimmy got 2 modern looking vases from that set.

2 lamps were $3 total
a stack of old magazines and cook books from the $1 a bag rummage sale.
I think yard sale season may be my favorite time of year, and it is just getting started!

Easter Wreath

My brother, the professor, surprised me with a handmade Easter wreath. He's made wreaths for the last 2 Christmases and for the last Thanksgiving.
Mine has a lamb in the center. He also made wreaths for my mom and Nina. My mom's has a bunny and Nina's has a baby duck. All 3 are so pretty!
Thank you, Dr. Bert!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

1 nice contest and 1 nice giveaway

You Can Make This! Blog

Wouldn't you like to win a new sewing machine? I sew often and could never do all the thrifty or creative things I like to do without a sewing machine.
Register here

And My friend Dawn at A Home in the Country is giving a way a magazine subscription.