Basil Pesto

This year I had my first successful garden.  Yes…I have tried in the past and failed!  Birds ate my tomatoes, the sun burned my plants, and bugs attacked the leaves.  I was ready to give up before one of my amazing friends jumped in and saved the day.  She gave me tons of awesome advice and it worked!  In fact, I had more tomatoes than I could possibly eat.

I planted some basil because it is supposed to help keep some of the bugs away.  They don’t like the smell.  Who knew?

I began to wonder what I was going to do with all this basil.  I had no idea.  Then, I went to WhichWhich and had pesto on my sandwich.  It. Was. Delicious.  I had to make some.

A quick google search told me that basil was a main ingredient.  WHOOO HOOO.  I had TONS of basil.

Here is what you need:

2 cups fresh basil leaves

3 cloves garlic, peeled

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

1/4 cup walnuts

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup grated Romano cheese

20130818-191015.jpgRinse your pesto leaves and drain well.

 

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Transfer to a food processor and add all the ingredients. Pulse until completely combined.

 

20130818-191116.jpgI put it in an ice cube tray and froze it.  Now, when I make a sandwich I can just pull out one cube at a time.

This is also fantastic on pasta.  Give it a try 🙂

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Peanut Butter Striped Delight

This is the hubby’s two favorite things. Chocolate and peanut butter how in the world can I go wrong? If you’re looking for a quick, easy and no-bake dessert you’ve got to try this! It has a great balance between heavy and light and the layers on this dessert make it look so pretty. 20130824-214004.jpg

What You Need:
35 OREO Cookies, finely crushed (about 3 cups)
6 Tbsp. butter, melted
1 pkg. (8 oz.) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
3 cups plus 2 Tbsp. cold milk, divided
1 tub (8 oz.) COOL WHIP Whipped Topping, thawed, divided
2 pkg. (3.4 oz. each) JELL-O Vanilla Flavor Instant Pudding
1/3 cup PLANTERS Creamy Peanut butter

Mix cookie crumbs and butter; press onto bottom of 13×9-inch dish. Refrigerate 10 min. Meanwhile, beat cream cheese, sugar and 2 Tbsp. milk with mixer until blended. Add 1-1/4 cups COOL WHIP; mix well. Spread over crust. Beat pudding mixes and remaining milk in large bowl with whisk 2 min. Add peanut butter; mix well. Spread over cream cheese layer. Let stand 5 min. or until thickened. Cover with remaining COOL WHIP. Refrigerate 4 hours or until firm.

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Mmmm…Fabulously Good!!!

 

Refinishing Furniture

I have recently started remodeling and trying to decorate.  Frugal fashion has been my motto.  I want things to look really good and put the smallest dent possible in my pocketbook.

This time around I decided to refinish a dresser that my brother-in-law gave me.  This dresser is over 20 years old and had some wear.  The good thing is that it is solid wood.  It is hard to find furniture that is made like that today.  So I did a Google search and watched some YouTube videos and learned how to white wash.  It was incredibly easy and turned out great!

Here is the before picture:

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As you can see, there are some water spots on the top.  You have to make sure you sand them completely down.  Use a wood grade stand paper.  I am not going to whitewash this part so it needs an even sanding.

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Once the sanding is done, use a damp cloth to clean off any dust.  I used this Minwax Polyshades to refinish the tops.  I have used this before on my bathroom cabinets and it works great!  It has the stain and polyurethane in one easy step.

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Brush it on evenly and let dry completely.  Put on a second coat if necessary.  Doesn’t this look amazing?

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Now for the fun part…..whitewashing!  You need 2 parts paint to 1 part water.  For this I used 2 cups of paint and 1 cup of water.  I dumped it straight in the jar and shook it until it was well mixed.

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Before you start, do a very light sand on the surface you will paint.  You don’t need to sand it deep, use a fine grain paper and just brush it across the entire surface.  You are simply helping the surface accept the paint.

Put a very small amount of paint on the brush.  You can always add more, but it is hard to get it off if you use too much!

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Brush the paint on to the surface and swipe it until it is a light coat across the surface.

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That little amount of paint did  this entire bottom part of the mirror.  Just keep brushing until you get the look you want.  Continue until the entire piece of furniture is complete.

20130819-082642.jpg20130819-082651.jpgThis turned out great!  It looks even better in person. 🙂

Bite Size Strawberry Shortcakes

I made this for my daughter Kinley as a special dessert for making it through her first day of second grade today. Sniff…my sweet baby girl is growing up too fast. Dear time; please slow down, just a little. She had a great day and came out full of smiles. An extra month of summer would be great if it was up to me though.

This year I tried to embrace all I love about summer…ONE thing for sure, I just can’t get enough fruit! If you haven’t noticed, I am a little obsessed with desserts lately:)  Strawberry shortcake is, of course, an absolute classic, but I love that these are bite-size.  They’re easy to serve and eat, and how can you refuse something that looks so darn cute? Thanks Baking Bites for sharing such a yummy recipe!

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1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon  salt
3 large egg whites, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoon lemon zest (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup milk
approximately  1 cup finely chopped, fresh strawberries
approximately 1 cup whipped cream

Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 24 cup mini muffin pan.  In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.  In a large bowl, beat together egg whites and sugar until thick, fluffy and almost doubled in volume, about 2-3 minutes. Blend in vegetable oil, lemon zest and vanilla extract. Stir in half of the flour mixture, followed by the milk. Stir in remaining flour mixture and mix just until no streaks of dry ingredients remain.

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Divide batter evenly into prepared pan – making approximately 24 mini muffins. Bake for 11-13 minutes, until the cakes spring back when lightly pressed.  Turn cakes out of their pans and allow them to cool completely on a wire rack.

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Pop the whole darn cake in your mouth and enjoy!!

Soft Hamburger and Hot Dog Buns

Learning to make hamburger or hot dog buns has been a challenge for me.  I have tried several recipes and they never come out right.  I want them to be ultra soft like the ones I buy in a bag.  These hit the mark!

Here is what you need:

1 cup of water

2 1/4 teaspoons yeast

3 1/2 cups flour

1 egg

3 Tablespoons butter

1 tsp salt

3 tablespoons sugar

Dump all the ingredients into your bread machine on the dough cycle.  If you don’t have one, just mix up the ingredients and knead for 15 minutes.  Set in a draft free place to rise for about an hour.

20130819-185304.jpgWhen your dough comes out you are ready to start forming your buns.

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For Hot Dog’s you need long skinny loaves.  Roll them out and then tuck the ends under.  This will keep your bread from being short on the ends and thick in the middle.  Turn them over and lay all your buns side by side.

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for Hamburger buns, tuck all the seams together and set them down on a cookie sheet.

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Like this.

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Flatten them out a little.

20130819-185342.jpgSet them in a draft free place to rise for about an hour.  Once they are fluffy like these, place them in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes.

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As soon as they come out of the oven rub your stick of butter lightly over the top.

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YUM!!!

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Budget Saving Strategies for Buying Meat

Two Frugal Gals

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When I’m planning my menu for the week I normally plan around which meat, poultry, pork, or seafood item I’m going to be serving as an entrée.  Because meat generally serves as the “main event” at dinnertime, it can represent a significant slice of my grocery budget.   I realized cutting what I spend on meat can have a major impact on my spending overall.  Below are a few simple tricks of the trade when buying meat that I’ve learned.Weekly Ad

  • I time my purchases to coincide with sales, so that despite price fluctuations at the store, the price you pay remains consistently low.   Get familiar with the sales cycles in your area; you’ll eventually know when it’s time to load your cart, and your freezer.
  • I Start by reading the supermarket sales selections in the newspaper (the weekly sales cycle happens every Wednesday).  At least one type of main-dish ingredient is the featured front-page…

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Cheap Diapers on Amazon!!!

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I have posted about Amazon in the past.  It is one of my favorite ways to shop….I don’t even have to leave the house!

My babies are no longer in diapers…….YEEEEE HAW!!  About a year before the last time I had to change one, I learned about Amazon Mom.  It is free to join and it saves you 20% on diapers when you “subscribe and save.”  You simply sign up for them to send you a shipment on a regular basis.  (every two weeks, monthly, bi-montly, etc…)  The best part is that before a shipment goes out, they send you a confirmation email letting you know.  If you don’t want the shipment you can just skip it and it doesn’t cost you anything.  You are never obligated to buy any of the diapers.  And the best part……you get free 2 day shipping on diapers and wipes.  No more Wal-Mart runs for diapers 🙂

I found that this was the cheapest way to buy diapers.

This gets even sweeter!  Right now they have a promotion going where you get an extra $25 credit when you purchase certain diapers.  This could mean some FREE diapers for you.  And……if you are going to have to change stinky diapers, free ones are always better!

Here is the link for the promotion:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/mom/signup/info?ie=UTF8&refcust=6IPFLTSND473OEEKB46NAL7AWU&ref_type=generic

Happy Wiping 🙂

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