Tag: frugal recipe

Homemade Granola Bars

Most of you know that my oldest can’t eat foods with dyes or preservatives not to mention several other commonly occurring foods (like apple, citrus, and cinnamon. ) Yet she LOVES granola bars. She has two kinds she can eat both of which are VERY expensive.

We already have a favorite granola recipe and I finally found a granola bar recipe that the kids all like and which is adaptable (which is very important to someone like me who rarely measures and uses only what is on hand.)

I didn’t measure for this but it is easy to “eye”.

Ingredients:

Dry oatmeal or other dry grain (roughly 4 cups)

rice cereal-we use an organic one but you could use whatever crispy rice cereal you like or use nuts or more oatmeal instead (About 1 cup)

A tablespoon or so of oil–you can use margarine or butter instead

honey or maple syrup (about 1 cup–more to tast–the goal is to make the consistency right so if you like sweeter add more honey or maple syrup and less peanut butter)

Peanut (or almond or cashew or whatever nut butter you like, you can substitute date here) We used Almond butter–about 3 cups of raw.

Raisins (optional)

The goal is to make a glue-like substance to keep the dry stuck together. In our case the dry was about 6 cups and the wet/sticky was about 4 cups. I threw it all in the food processor until it all started to clump together–not a solid ball, just slightly. I would add slightly more wet next time as these were not as chewy as I would like. I think the consistancy you are looking for is about that of pie dough.

We then flattened it all into a pan, cut it into slices, then baked at 375 for about 15 minutes. The kids are VERY happy with it so I call it a hit. (They also loved it uncooked–which you can do by refrigerating the bars for a couple hours. We lost a whole rough due to nibblers.)

In the search I found several highly adaptable and more specific recipes to try–I was looking for recipes that did not include butter or corn syrup–I want HEALTHY. This website had the best list and if you are nervous about trying my halfway recipe I would suggest heading over there, these recipes are much more sure of themselves.

Our Favorite Breadmaker Bread

I posted this recipe in my original site: The Kitchen, and later on Graced by Christ. We still use this recipe often, in fact it is the recipe I use more than any other. My girls both know how to make it themselves and Issac is well on his way.

This recipe is our favorite breadmaker bread recipe. We use it for everything from the standard loaf to bagels to pizza dough.

My kids love to help measure for this, get out the ingredients, and watch the bread β€œdance” as my middle child calls it.

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Wordless Wednesday (or Sludge Pie)

Sludge pie: in our house when a kid asks “Mom, can you make me some pie?” they don’t mean a regular pie with a nice neat pie crust, they mean throw together some biscuit-y ingredients, put fruit in it, and throw it in the microwave for 10 minutes. Sludge pie is more of a tart type thing, or maybe a shortcake. Whatever it is is sure is messy to eat and the kids adore it.

To make it you can use your favorite biscuit mix or pie crust–whatever you have on hand, it doesn’t matter because the kids don’t notice. πŸ™‚ The point is to fill it with fruit with a little bit of sweetener and stick it in the microwave.For this particular one I mixed some about 5 parts flour, 1 part water, 1 part oil with a little bit of baking powder and sweetener. I used my fingers to shape it in the bowl then poured in frozen berries (or peaches and pears for Rachel) and a little bit of honey. The texture when microwaved is very similar to an apple dumpling. This is not a science–it is more of a fun project and mommy thing than a culinary delight (although it is “nummy.”)

A frugal recipe: Spring Rolls

When I wrote about our attempts to stay home instead of going out to eat several people requested some of our recipes. As I mentioned most of the quick stay at home recipes are really convenience foods that I have found are cheaper than making from scratch (like Aldi’s Asian Style frozen veggies with sauce) but some of the foods, though worth it to avoid going out to eat still are expensive and with our eldest’s food allergies VERY expensive to get versions she can eat. Spring Rolls are one of those foods.

Aldi’s egg/spring rolls are roughly $3.50 a package of four making them nearly the same price as those at the restaurant. Problem is that they are kind of tricky to make and if you buy the wrappers to make them yourself they are still fairly expensive. Enter the spring roll wrapper recipe. It takes some practice but Rachel LOVES making them and then you can fill them with whatever your heart desires. (These take a lot of strength to roll to the right thinness–we have yet to get them there which means they are a bit to thick–you really need a pasta roller to make them thin enough.)

We use this recipe for the wrappers although we found that you don’t really need to refrigerate it to make it work (we don’t, it is hard enough to roll as it is without having it cold.) Because we can’t get them thin enough we make a quadruple batch to make 10 egg rolls, if you can get them thinner you can make a smaller batch and make many more.

For the filling:

I had used ready made broth that Rachel can eat (Swanson organic–I think) to make some soup

because it had been yucky out. We threw a 1lb bag of regular carrots, two leeks, and an onion in the food processor to be sliced and threw that in the broth while it cooked. That was our filling. In the future I would throw in some sliced cabbage and some texturized soy protein (we don’t eat much meat but you could throw in some left over pork or chicken.)

Once everyone was done eating soup I put a strainer over a bowl and let the liquid drain out of the veggies.

We then followed the recipe for the spring roll wrappers, quadrupaling the recipe.

First we put the eggs, flour, and water in the food processor (I LOVE my Bosch), putting it on high for about 12 minutes–you want the gluten to do its work and the dough should be hard to the touch but very elastic. Once it prepared you will want to separate it into 1-2 inch balls. If you can roll it super thin or have a dough press/noodle press then go with the smaller balls. We were hand rolling and it took a lot to get them as thin as we did.

Grab a ball of dough (cover the rest because otherwise they dry out pretty quick) and smash it as flat as you can with your hands (this was Issac’s job.) I use a silicone baking mat for all rolling–it is one of the few things I have found that doesn’t make a sticky mess and require tons of flour. Once flattened roll dough out as thin as you can, flipping and rotating every few minutes. This is a great job for kids who love rolling dough–the dough is not sticky and doesn’t require tons of flour. Hold it up to the light every so often to find thicker areas. Ours were too thick –you want them to be only a little over a millimeter thick, if that.

Once you have it as thin as you want moisten the top of the wrapper then add the filling (make sure the filling is relatively dry). Cover the filling with the side closest to you, pull wrapping it tightly then fold the sides in (very similar to making a burrito) then roll it over itself until the whole thing is wrapped. It is best to have it super thin and have several layers although ours only had one layer–this makes for a thicker shell though the kids liked it as well.


Finally, fry the rolls until golden brown. It is better to deep fry them though if you rubbed oil over them you can put them in the oven. This is where a thin wrapper is best as frying a thicker wrapper means you have to cook it longer to get the inner wrapper cooked through.

Yeah it is more work to start but if you get the kids involved it is fun. Plus you can freeze a whole bunch and warm them when you are in the mood for a quick meal. We also make all kinds of perogie/calzone style dumplings along this same lines–I make a biscuit or pizza like crust (usually I just make extra dough when I am making biscuits/pie/pizza and freeze it for when I have filling ready) then add similar fillings, boil or fry them then freeze for a quick, easy to heat, and VERY filling meal.

It saves us a lot of money and if the kids are involved they learn a lot about how their favorite foods are made, not to mention how to prepare healthy alternatives to ready made junk food.

Krispy Kreme imitation recipe

I had several email requests for this so am just going to post it here. πŸ™‚ I found this several years ago and I have no clue where but it is a favorite of ours and has saved us quite a bit of money (especially since we have a place that sells Krispy Kremes within walking distance. ) It is some work to do but the kids think it is fun and with our food allergies I have found ways to substitute things the kids CAN eat for those they can’t–though they aren’t quite as good that way. πŸ™‚ I have also been known to use Splenda instead of the sugar which worked all right. πŸ™‚ For doughnuts that REALLY taste like Krispy Kremes you have to follow the recipe and use what it says–just saying.m Oh, and having a doughnut cutter REALLY makes a difference.

 

Ingredients:

 

  • DOUGHNUTS:
  • 2 pkgs. yeast
  • 1/4 cup water (105-115 degrees)
  • 1-1/2 cups lukewarm milk (scalded, then cooled)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup shortening
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • vegetable oil
  • CREAMY GLAZE:
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1-1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 4–6 tbl. hot water
  • CHOCOLATE FROSTING:
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1-1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 4–6 tbl. hot water
  • 4 ounces milk chocolate chips or semisweet chocolate chips

Preparation

Dissolve yeast in warm water in 2-1/2-quart bowl. Add milk,salt,eggs, shortening and 2 cups flour. Beat on low for 30 seconds, scraping bowl constantly. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally. Stir in remaining flour until smooth. Cover and let rise until double, 50-60 minutes. (Dough is ready when indentation remains when touched.) Turn dough onto floured surface; roll around lightly to coat with flour.

Gently roll dough 1/2-inch thick with floured rolling pin. Cut with floured doughnut cutter. Cover and let rise until double, 30-40 minutes.

Heat vegetable oil in deep fryer to 350 degrees. Slide doughnuts into hot oil with wide spatula. Turn doughnuts as they rise to the surface.
Fry until golden brown, about 1 minute on each side.
Remove carefully from oil (do not prick surface); drain.

Dip the doughnuts into creamy glaze set on rack; when slightly cooled spread chocolate frosting on top.

CREAMY GLAZE:
Heat butter until melted. Remove from heat. Stir in powdered sugar and vanilla until smooth. Stir in water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until desired consistency.

CHOCOLATE FROSTING: Heat butter and chocolate over low heat until chocolate is melted. Remove from heat. Stir in powdered sugar and vanilla until smooth. Stir in water 1 tablespoon at a time, until desired consistency.