Seven Layer Dip

If you’re looking for a fun Mexican cuisine for a small crowd, check out this delicious dip my sister-in-law shared with us.  We devoured every last scoop!  The nacho chips kept breaking when they were dipped in so it might be a good idea to keep a spoon handy!  Check out our homemade taco seasoning to mix with your beans!

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(16 ounce) can refried beans

1 package taco seasoning

4 cups shredded Cheddar-Monterey Jack cheese blend

1 (8 ounce) container sour cream

1 cup salsa

1 (2.25 ounce) can black olives, chopped.

1 ½ cup chopped tomatoes

½ cup chopped lettuce

Mix package of taco seasoning with beans and spread the beans into the bottom of a 9×13 inch serving tray that is about 1 1/2 inches deep. Sprinkle 2 cups of shredded cheese on top of beans. Spread sour cream very slowly on top of cheese. Pour salsa over sour cream and spread evenly. Sprinkle remaining shredded cheese. Sprinkle lettuce, black olives, and tomatoes on top.

Cake Flour Substitution

A few months ago I posted about substitutions in recipes when you realize you are missing an ingredient.  This little chart is very helpful!

I have a new one for you today…. Cake Flour.  Cake Flour makes a big difference when you are baking cakes.  The problem is, I don’t like having to keep several different types of flour on hand.  Wheat flour, all-purpose flour, bread flour, cake flour, 100% White whole wheat flour.  SERIOUSLY…. That is way too many bags of flour!

Today you can reduce that count by 1.

Here is what you need:

2 cups of all-purpose flour minus 2 Tablespoons

2 Tablespoons cornstarch

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Dump your 2 cups of flour into a sifter over a bowl.  (OK, Okay…I realize that this is NOT a sifter.   I don’t own one so I always just use a colander!)

20130818-191209.jpgAdd your cornstarch.

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Use a fork to mix in the corn starch.

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Shake your sifter over a bowl until it is empty.  Do this at least twice.

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Ta Da!!!  Cake flour!  Now go make an awesome, delicious cake. 🙂

Peach Crisp with Cream Sauce

This came out sooo good!  Kroger had their peaches on sale this week for .99 cents a pound.  I couldn’t resist finding a recipe to go with this great summer deal!  This recipe can be found in the Pioneer Woman cookbook one of my favorite cooks.  (TIP: boil a pot of water and stick the peaches in for about 20 seconds and then drop in ice water.  The skins will peal right off.)  After serving, my family didn’t speak again until the bowls were licked clean:) Success!!

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Maple Cream Sauce:

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

5 tablespoons pure maple syrup

3 tablespoons light corn syrup

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Begin by making the Maple Cream Sauce.  It needs to chill before serving.  Pour the cream into a heavy saucepan.  Add the maple syrup and corn syrup.  Cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly, until the sauce is thickened and reduced by a third, about 20 minutes.  Chill for at least an hour before serving over warm peach crisp.

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Peach Crisp:

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

dash of nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 pound (1 stick) cold butter

5 or 6 cups peeled and sliced fresh peaches (about 6 peaches should do the trick)

Grated zest and juice of 1/2 lemon

2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

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To prepare the peach crisp, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Start with the crumb mixture. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.

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 Cut the cold butter into pieces.

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add the butter to the bowl and use a fork or pastry blender to cut it into the flour mixture.

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The mixture should resemble a moist, coarse meal.

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Place the peaches in a bowl.  Add the lemon zest to the peaches.  Mix in the lemon juice and maple syrup and gently stir the peaches to combine.

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Pour the peaches into a 9-inch square or 8X12-inch baking dish.

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Top with the crumb mixture, evening out the surface with a fork.  Cover tightly with foil and bake for about 15 minutes.

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Remove the foil and bake for 30 minutes more, or until the topping is crisp and golden brown.

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Spoon the warm crisp into a bowl, and drop a few scoops of vanilla bean ice-cream on top and drizzle the chilled maple cream sauce over the top.  I pronounce this as a “dangerous” dessert!

Frozen Fruit Smoothies

This frozen fruit smoothie is a regular in our house. It’s yummy and super easy to make.  Of course their are so many variations you can try I originally found this recipe on the Food Network site and adjusted slightly .  I’ve found this one is a favorite among my three kiddos.  We tend to drink more of these during the summer because fresh fruit  is abundant and prices are great.  I slice my bananas and place them on a cookie sheet, freeze them and bag them up (if you use frozen fruits, their is no need to add ice).  If your looking for a great way to freeze your berries check out our recent post on Extending the life of Summer fruits .

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1 frozen banana, peeled and sliced

2 cups frozen strawberries or raspberries

1 cup milk

1/2 cup plain or vanilla yogurt

1/2 cup freshly squeezed or minute made orange juice

2 to 3 tablespoons honey or to taste or 2 tsp. of sugar or splenda.

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Put all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth.  Pour into glasses and serve!  This makes for a great hot summer night treat!

English Muffins

English muffins are one of those foods that I never considered making.  I just always thought you had to buy them in a bag.  But in my quest to discover how to make everything I found these.  One of my friends, who is a master at all yeast breads, shared her recipe with me.  I love the chewy texture and crevices for honey butter!  YUM….my mouth is watering.

Here is what you need:

1/2 Cup milk

3 Cups All-purpose flour

2 TBS sugar

1/2 tsp salt

2 1/4 tsp yeast

1/2 cup warm water

4 TBS melted butter

Toss your ingredients into your bread machine on the dough cycle.  (If you don’t have one, mix the ingredients and knead for about 15 minutes.  Cover and let rise for an hour.)

20130717-222425.jpgWhen your dough is ready it should be a soft ball.

20130717-222438.jpgTear your ball into about a dozen pieces.  Form each one into a ball.  Let rise for about 30 minutes.

20130717-222448.jpgPlace your risen dough into a skillet on medium heat.  Cook for about 5 minutes.

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Flip them over and cook the other side for an additional 5 minutes.  Place them on a baking sheet and cook in the oven on 350 degrees for about 8-10 minutes.

20130717-222539.jpgLet cool and ENJOY!

20130717-222530.jpgOr you can do what my mom did and make Mama McMuffins! 🙂

Pretzel Buns

Pretzel buns are the new craze these days, and I must admit I LOVE them!  I have always been a fan of giant soft pretzels and pairing it with a burger, sandwich, or hot dog is amazing!  These are a little more difficult that your regular buns, but well worth it!!!

Here is what you need:

For the dough:

4 cups flour
3/4 cup milk
3/4 cup water
3 TBS brown sugar
2TBS oil
1tsp salt
2 1/4 tsp yeast

Boiling solution

3 quarts water
3/4 cup baking soda

Egg wash:
1 egg
1TBS water

Toss all your dough ingredients into a bread machine on the dough cycle.  (If you don’t have a bread machine you can hand mix the dough.  Just let it rise for an hour after you have kneaded it for about 15 minutes.)

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Once your dough is ready, form it into small loves for hot dog buns, or small circles for buns.

20130801-175640.jpgPour your water and baking soda into a large pan and mix well.  Bring the solution to a boil.

20130801-175648.jpgOnce the water is boiling, drop your dough into the solution.  Let boil for one minute.  Turn them over and boil for an additional minute.  Use a slotted spoon and place on a baking sheet.

20130801-175713.jpgMix the water and egg for your egg wash.  Use a brush to spread the wash over the top of your buns.

20130801-175721.jpgUse a serrated knife to cut  across your bun.

20130801-175737.jpgBake your buns for about 20 minutes.  Slice and enjoy!!!

How to Save Money

There is definitely a sense of satisfaction from going to the store with nothing but a few dollars and a handful of coupons and coming home with a sack full of stuff:)   Sometimes I even have more coupons than groceries!  Playing the “coupon game” is a fun challenge with some great benefits.  For Russell and I it’s allowed us a little more freedom in our budget to do fun activities with the kiddos.  It’s also allowed us to share our savings and blessing with others.  We’ve been able to take some of our savings and donate to our local food bank.  The great thing about using the couponing technique is we can give so much more.  It’s a great feeling.  If your interested in learning how to save on your shopping experience, check out our links below and give it a try!   Who knows…you might look this excited the next time you grocery shop:) DSC_0168_edited-1

Kroger mega event savings
Budget strategies for saving meat
Amazon Prime is it worth it?
Grocery Sale Cycle
Shopping like a pro at Target
Frugal club bargains
How to save money when eating out
Bidding on Hotels and Priceline
Frugal Family Fun
How to Save 50% on Groceries
Photo Deals
Free Books!!!
Cheap Airfare
A Word about Thrift Shops
27 ways to make your Groceries last as long as possible
Remodeling on a Budget
Strategic Shopping
Diaper Deals
Online Coupon Codes
Groupon Deals and Savings
Kohl’s Rewards

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