Monday, August 27, 2012

Apple Crisp

We've been having a terrible drought here in Missouri.  Just awful.  And yesterday we got the smallest bit of rain, but we did get some good mist and clouds (just a break in the baking heat is enough to be thankful for).  And what does a little bit of "cozy weather" do to me?  Makes me want to cook something, of course!  It wasn't cool outside but inside I was lazy, laying around watching TV, crocheting.  Just looking outside at the mist made me crave fall food.  But, in my laziness I definitely didn't want to go to the store.  I was out of eggs so baking cookies or a cake was out of the question (although I actually could have made my eggless, Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake).  What could I make? 

I always have lots of oats on hand (for making my favorite Chocolate Chip Baked Oatmeal), and I had three apples in my fruit bowl starting to look a little puny, so Apple Crisp was on the menu!  I love finding ways to use what I have in my pantry.

I drug out my old trusty BETTY CROCKER'S COOKBOOK and found an easy recipe for making Apple Crisp.  It turned out great.  Chewy and sweet with yummy cinnamon.  Easy, and perfect for using the three apples I had in my fruit bowl.

Here's how I made Apple Crisp AT HOME MY WAY:

Apple Crisp
  •  4 cups sliced, peeled tart apples (3 large or 4 medium apples)
  • 2/3 to 3/4 cups brown sugar (I used closer to 3/4 but could have used less)
  • 1/2 cup flour (all purpose, unbleached is best)
  • 1/2 cup oats (quick or old fashioned would work here)
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (original recipe called for 3/4 teaspoon)
  • 1/3 cup margarine or butter, softened
Instructions:  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Arrange apples in sprayed square pan or pie plate (8 inch).  Mix remaining ingredients, adding margarine/butter last.  Cut in the margarine/butter with a fork until all crumbly.  Pour topping evenly over the apples. 
Bake 30 minutes.  Serve warm (with ice cream if you have it).
One of the things my mom taught me in all things frugal is never to waste a hot oven.  So... while the oven was hot, I also baked a loaf of homemade White Sandwich Bread.  Oh man!  It was delicious.  I have to confess that I usually save this loaf to cool and slice for sandwiches but my husband just had this puppy dog look on his face when he realized we weren't going to eat any.  Pitiful!  What is wrong with me?  You should never, ever, let a loaf of hot, fresh bread cool without sharing a couple of slices slathered in melted butter with the one you love! 
Here's what it looked like BEFORE we sliced it.  And it WAS delicious!  Job security, that's what I tell my husband.  He could never find another woman who would bake him fresh loaves of bread, right?  LOL!


Sunday, August 26, 2012

Sweet Pickle Relish - canning recipe

I have been completely astounded at the number of pins and comments on my Best Dill Pickles Ever - Just like Clausen post.  That is such a wonderful recipe, plus its easy and so impressive to share.   And it makes me especially happy that this recipe has been so well received.

I love canning.  I had forgotten the wealth of filled jars in my cabinets and recipes to go with (for posting on my blog).  I'll try to do better about posting some of those canning recipes!

One of my recent commenters asked for me to post my recipe for Sweet Pickle Relish.  Hey!  I can do that because I actually have a jar in my canning cabinet begging to be opened for this picture.  And hot dogs just don't taste as good without that little taste of summer.  (I'll try to get a pic posted soon of the relish itself slathered over a big ole' hot dog!)

This is the very best relish recipe!  I even make it with all of those sunburned cucumbers that you forgot were hiding on the vine.  The cucumbers get grated up so they don't have to be perfect little cucumbers.  A good friend shared this recipe with me when I first started canning.  She is well known for her pickles.  She makes everything from bread and butter pickles, garlic dills, cinnamon pickles, and of course this delicious sweet pickle relish.  Once you try this homemade version of sweet relish, you won't be going back to store bought.  (This recipe does have to be "canned" in a water bath canner and put in sterlized jars. 

Here's how I make Sweet Pickle Relish AT HOME MY WAY:

Sweet Pickle Relish

  • 4-6 large unpeeled cucumbers - grated (The seeds don't bother me but scoop out the seeds before grating if you wish.)
  • 1 1/2 cup grated carrots (I don't even peel them, just wash good)
  • 2 medium sized onions, grated
  • 2 Tablespoons salt
(A food precessor helps or the onion will kill your eyes LOL.)

Combine this mixture, stir, and let sit 3 hours. 


In a medium saucepan, combine and bring to boil:
  • 1 1/2 cup vinegar (white or cider)
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar (white, granulated)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon mustard seed
  • the cucumber mixture, drained, above
(no substitutions on this recipe - use the spices as listed.)

Stir well and occasionally while cooking -Simmer 20 minutes. 

Put in hot, sterilized jars.  Add lids and rings. 

Water bath for 10 minutes.

NOTE-If you want the relish to look a little more green, add a few drops of green food color.  I'm pretty sure I did that when I made this batch of relish.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Microwave Brownie in a Mug - single serving size

Microwave Brownie in a Mug

Last night my older daughter came over for supper.  I made homemade spaghetti for us (cooked on top of the stove but similar to this recipe).  It was great!  We were browsing Pinterest and dreaming up more things to cook.  But also having a serious "hankering" for something sweet!  What to have?  My daughter mentioned that she wished we had some brownies and knowing like I do that she and her Iphone are best buds, I told her to search for a recipe for "brownie in a mug" to see what she could find. 

Boing!  There it was!  So we tried this recipe and it was delicious, warm, gooey, chocolate?  Need I say more?

Here's how we made Microwavae Brownies in a Mug AT HOME MY WAY:

Microwave Brownie in a Mug

·         2 Tablespoons Oil (I used canola)

·         2 Tablespoons Water

·         ¼ teaspoon Vanilla

·         Dash Salt

·         4 Tablespoons Sugar (white, granulated)

·         2 Tablespoons Cocoa powder (unsweetened)

·         4 Tablespoons Flour (all purpose)

Instructions:  Add the ingredients to a 12 ounce microwave proof mug (I swirled the oil around the sides a little bit) in the order listed, stirring well after each addition.  Microwave on high 60-90 seconds (Ours took 70 seconds.)  It should look slightly molten in the middle when finished.  We just stuck in a spoon to see that it was just right!  (It didn't swell much so you don't have to allow a lot of room for it to rise when cooking.) Be careful!  Very hot and so delicious you will want to drive right in.

This is how much we liked our dessert!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Sweet Tea Please!

I grew up in central Florida.  I don't remember drinking much of anything EXCEPT sweet tea and the water from the hose outside!  Well,... maybe some Florida orange juice (ha-ha).  Sweet tea was  just one of those things that we always had in the fridge.  And we had NEVER heard of drinking it hot for heaven's sake!  Nor with lemon in it (ick!).

Sweet Tea is also the "dish" I have to take to every family dinner.  People sometimes ask, "What are ya famous for at family dinners?"  Well... that would be the sweet tea for me!  How easy is that?  And I never bring home any empty containers so I must be doing something right. 

This is how I make Sweet Tea AT HOME MY WAY:

Sweet Tea

  • 2 family-size tea bags (I use decaff-generic)
  • 4 cups of hot water
  • A medium sized pot (you will need a lid)
  • 3/4 to 1 cup of granulated white sugar  (Personally, I use just a little more than 3/4 cup - because as it sits, it gets sweeter.)
  • More water 
  • One gallon tea pitcher

1.  Put the tea bags in a medium pot.  Pour on 4 cups of hot water.

2.  Heat the water/tea bags until boiling.  Turn off the burner and remove the pot from the burner.  Cover with a lid and let this steep for an hour.

3.  Put 3/4 to 1 cup of sugar in the bottom of your gallon-sized tea pitcher.  Pour the hot tea in the pitcher, using a spoon to squeeze the last bit of delicious tea from the tea bags in the pot.  Compost the tea bags.

4.  Fill the remainder of your gallon pitcher with cool water.  You only want a gallon total of water.  Don't fill the pitcher to the brim. 

5.  Stir with a long spoon to reach the sugar on the bottom.

6.  Refrigerate. 

The tea gets sweeter and stronger as it sits.  I make mine in the morning and refrigerate for using for supper. 

My husband recently gave up soda as his only form of a diet (they had weight loss contest at work).  He lost 10 pounds in 3 months JUST from not drinking soda.  And yes!  He still drank lots of sweet tea.  Let's just say there is lots more sugar in soda than in this pitcher of sweet tea!  Enjoy!

Trying out a recipe card feature here:

I am sharing this recipe here:

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

How Do You Like Your Oatmeal?

We're talking super cheap breakfast here!  Oatmeal! 

After weeks of 100+ weather here in Missouri, this week we have had the most wonderful weather!  Yesterday it only got up to 74 degrees!  Loved that!  And after lots of heat and no rain, a cool, cloudy morning rejuvenated my craving for oatmeal.

And there's absolutely NO REASON to buy those little packets.  Truly, oatmeal is easy and quick without little packets.

You just don't get much cheaper than oatmeal.  A huge container of oats costs about $1.50.  I make mine with one-half milk; one-half water, a little cinnamon, and whatever fruit I have on hand, in the freezer or maybe none at all.  I'm guessing this breakfast only costs pennies!  Mine cooks while I'm packing my lunch and getting ready for work.  I would say its almost as fast as pouring a bowl of cereal.  (One tiny hint:  I keep a 1/4 cup measuring cup in my oatmeal container.)

Here's how I make oatmeal - AT HOME MY WAY:

Old Fashioned Oatmeal
(one serving)
  • 1/2 cup of milk
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 1/2 cup of old fashioned oats
  • 2 teaspoons of brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (I just give it a few shakes.)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (don't forget this!)
Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan.  Simmer 5 minutes stirring occasionally. (If you use quick oats, it will take less time... just read the oatmeal container to find out how long.)  Top with fruit, applesauce, nuts, granola, and grab a spoon!  (I prefer a big dallop of homemade applesauce!)

Personally, I don't like making oatmeal in the microwave because it is uncontrollable in there.  It swells up out of the container when cooked in the microwave (not on the stove though) until it makes a huge mess. So, just get out a small pot and do it the old fashioned way.

I scoop my cooked oatmeal into a to-go container, top with applesauce, and snap on a lid and I'm ready to go.  I usually eat mine on the ride to work (my hubby drives) or I eat it after I get to the office.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Homemade Manwich

This weekend we went to a local butcher shop to buy meat.  Its called Jennings Premium Meats and all they sell is meat.  Well..they also sell. a little cheese and jerky, pickles, stuff like that but mostly meat.  The men in there were just going crazy buying stuff and my husband was just like all the others in there.  When we got to the counter I commented to the owner that his shop was was like Victoria Secret for men!  The other wife in line agreed with me and we both got a good laugh!

Saturday night we put delicous pork chops on the grill.  I have to admit, they were awesome!  And much better than the meat I get at the most famous big box store.  Sunday my hubby wanted a big huge hamburger.  Well... I'm not a fan of "big huge hamburgers".  A little meat goes a long way with me so I decided to try to find a recipe for homemade Manwich. 

I already make Sloppy Joes and those are delicious! But that's a different taste than Manwich.  My Sloppy Joes are sweet like baked beans.  But Manwich is tangy and chunky and I knew I could use some of my garden veges if I could just find a similar recipe.  I love the stuff.

Gotta love the internet.  I found a copycat version of Manwich, tweaked it a little bit to use what I had on hand and this turned out PERFECT!

I agree that just dumping a can of Manwich in the skillet would probably be easier, but you know me... I like to make things AT HOME MY WAY.  This is how I made Homemade Manwich AT HOME MY WAY:

Homemade Manwich

  • 1 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 onion, chopped small 
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 to 1 whole green pepper, chopped small
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon mustard (prepared, the yellow stuff) 
  • Optional:  (I added 2 peeled, chopped garden fresh tomatoes, because I had them)

  1. Brown the beef, onion, and green pepper until veges are softened. Drain any fat.
  2. Add remaining ingredients to the skillet (tomatos, if using) and bring to a boil.
  3. Lower heat and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Serve on buns.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Sunday Cooking

I spent yesterday cooking lots of recipes that I already have posted.  But they bear repeating because they are delicious. 

I like to have some homemade bread for my sandwiches (I say MY because my husband prefers the store bread that is as soft as cake (ick) and I wanted something a little more toothy for my garden tomato sandwiches ha!) so I made a wheat/molasses version of my Homemade Sandwich Bread.  (I used 2 cups all-purpose non-bleached white flour with 1 cup of whole wheat flour and substituted molasses for the sugar in the loaf I made.  This picture is not the loaf I made yesterday.)

We were barbequing one piece of steak and a few chicken tenders I found in my freezer for supper so I also made a loaf of Crusty French Bread.  It turns out just perfect!  I'm thinking I might put a few loaves of this in my freezer for using to make garlic bread (instead of buying those premade loaves of french bread at the grocery store).

Also, for my breakfasts for the week I made Tin Can Banana Bread (although I baked mine in the oven since I already had the oven on baking the other loaves of bread). 

One more thing I made that I hadn't made before was a recipe from Lynn's Kitchen Adventures.  I made Lynn's recipe for Homemade Lemon Pudding.  I have a confession though... I just could not bring myself to use three egg yolks in this pudding.  I'm not a fan of eggs.  The thought of all of that cholesterol would not let me use three although some of you may not worry about that at all.  Its just a weird thing with me.  I can happily report that this pudding turned out PERFECT using one egg.  I did add a little bit of yellow food coloring to make my pudding LOOK like lemon pudding.  Its really delicious!  I will be making more homemade puddings.  I put my pudding in small canning jars and plastic containers for individual servings.  I can't wait to try coconut pudding next time!  (I'll try to snap a picture of my containers of pudding to add to this post later on.)  I'm having some trouble getting Lynn's site to load, so I'll include the pudding recipe.  She does use three egg yolks in her recipe and I only used one. 

Lemon Pudding


  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 2 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice (freshly squeezed would be best but I used bottled)
  • 2 tablespoons margarine (room temperature)
  • 1 tiny dot of yellow food coloring


Whisk the sugar and the cornstarch together in a medium saucepan. Add the milk and whisk until smooth. Cook over medium heat until thick.  Remove 1/2 cup or so of thickened milk/sugar/cornstart and add to the egg yolk.  Stir to blend.  Add back to the pot (tempering the egg).  Cook, stirring constantly over medium heat until thick.

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the lemon juice and butter.  After blended well, add a tiny dot/drop of yellow food coloring and stir well to blend.

Pour into serving dish or individual containers.

Let cool to room temperature.

Refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 3 days, or until set and thoroughly chilled. Serve chilled.

Over all, waking up this Monday morning I felt pretty inspired by my cooking yesterday.  I love to cook and I love having homemade things to eat.  It made leaving for work on Monday a whole lot easier knowing I was a little more prepared for breakfasts, lunches and even some dessert!

Have a good week!



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