Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

We made it thru Christmas! We had planned on making a ham for Christmas dinner but our other obligations ran over and I guess we will be enjoying that ham this evening.

We made some great little breakfast treats yesterday that I thought i would share:

Egg muffins:

brown some sausage in a skillet. I'm guessing about a half a tube of the breakfast sausage will do. We added onions, red pepper, and jalapenos as well. Drain this and let it cool. Add about 6 eggs and 1 cup of cheese to the sausage and mix. everything should be nicely coated with egg, plus a little extra runniness.

In muffin cups, press out a tube of canned biscuits like your making a shell. Add the egg mixture to the center of the muffin cup and bake at 350 until the center is firm.

I don't have exact measurements on anything because we just heard about this and were trying it ourselves for the first time. I will play more with it because they were a big hit and post a recipe in a few months with measurements.

They were great for Christmas morning!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

A weekend of cooking

I did alot of cooking this weekend. We had gotten a ton of sweet potatos and yes, we like them baked, fried like frenchfries and many other ways but this weekend I baked sweet potato pies. Here is a link to the recipe:

Sweet Potato Pie

We also made corn cassarole. This dish we use alot when we have to make a meal streach! When we are cooking for 12 we make it with 4 cans of corn... so you may want to make less!

Corn Cassarole

I baked more bread as well. A friend of lydias was making plates for shut ins this weekend so we donated all of these dishes.

We did buy a ham and ate on that most the weekend. We had also gotten potatos given to us so we used those for potatos au gratin. The hambone of course made beans this evening.

Sunday, December 9, 2007


One of the most popular kitchen tools I have is my bread machine. I use it to bake bread, dinner rolls, italian loafs, cinnamon rolls... i just love the thing. Mine is a 7 year old Oster bread machine, nothing fancy. I have decided with the increase in people I am going to get another one so that I can make two batches at one time. I found one at a thrift store for 7 dollars and Im going to go back and get it!

It did take practice with the bread machine to get good loaves all the time, but with practice you can do it. Do not buy the "bread machine mixes", usually the yeast is stale and they dont work! Also... don't buy the "bread machine yeast" that is expensive. Every recipe I have works with one envelope of normal quick rising yeast!

Today we are making french bread and we are having meatball subs for supper. We are feeding twelve again so I had to make 2 batches of bread. I can hand make bread, but the bread machine just takes most of the work out of it. I do only use the dough cycle, so that means it mixes, kneads it, lets it rise and kneads it again. I then shape it, let it rise and bake it. The bread machine part takes 1 hr 30 minutes, the shaping and rising usually takes 1 hour and 30 minutes... so if I have to run it twice, thats just alot of time!

People are on the low carb kick and it kinda irritates me. Bread, rice, potatos and pasta are cheap ways to streatch a meal and we have one of those with every meal we serve. Our ancestors have been eating some form of bread since, well, since back in the bible days. Obesity is just a recent problem... so im willing to bet the bread isn't the only culprit and if we all (myself included) would get off our buts more often... it wouldn't be a problem today. Our obesity problem is from sedintary lives! So... im just gonna go on baking bread!

Is it cheaper to make your own bread. Depends on what your making but most of the time yes. You really can't beat the price of the 1.00 loaf of bread in the grocery and we still buy that but when you want warm fresh bread special breads... its alot cheaper. I figure that todays bread cost less than 1.00 to bake 4 loaves of french bread!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

A weekend of eating

Last weekend we ended up feeding 13 all weekend long. We did splurge a little on the meals as it was a celebration of Jess coming home.

Saturday morning they called and suggested I pick up some breakfast food and come out there. We ended up feeding the crew 2 packages of bacon, 1 lb of sausage, a big skillet full of fried potatoes, 3 cans of biscuits, 18 eggs scrambled and I made gravy. There was not a bite left on a plate. At that point, Ralph Lydia and I looked at each other and said... we need more groceries.

We made spaghetti (6 qts of sauce) that evening and there was enough for left overs for lunch the next day. We used 2 lbs of hamburger and did splurge on a bunch of mushrooms. Green peppers were on sale. We also found a big bag of pre-made salad for a dollar in the bargain bin and 2 loaves of french bread for 2.50

The next breakfast was 2 boxes of pancake mix (4.00) and 2 lbs of sausage (5.00) and feed the 13 again. (that was much more economical than the previous morning!)

Sunday supper was steak, baked potatoes, salad, my homemade dinner rolls, and two desserts (I made vinegar pie and Lydia made a lemon bundt cake) I have no idea how much we spent. The meat was from Ralph's horseshoeing, he has a customer who can order from cisco and that is what they get to pay him.

After the weekend... we decided:

1. we need to be buying about 3-4 dozen fresh eggs a week. Right now a friend is giving us about 1 dozen but if we could buy 4 we wouldn't have to spend money on store eggs. Luckily here we can get yard eggs from small farmers and they are averaging 1.00 per dozen but in the stores I am paying 1.85. Fresh eggs tend to have a more Orange color to them, but that is because the chickens were fed corn instead of hormones! lol... ill take the orange color. They also tend to not be as uniform in sizes, but we can live with that.

2. the cheapest place to buy meat in East Texas is actually across in Louisiana. The big star in Many has deals on 10 lbs of meat and they really are considerable. Hamburger for around 2.00 per lb (for 80/20) and were paying 2.85 here in San Augustine. The problem for us is having enough cash flow to buy 10 lbs at one time but I think Ralph is going to start on days he horseshoes over there.

3. We need someone who works for Tyson to start buying from the company store. Although most of whats for sale are the prepackaged already cooked and seasoned foods, the kids do like chicken patties and those things for lunch. If we spent 50.00 a month, we would have a couple suppers and all of the lunches taken care of for kids who are home at lunch time for a month. (now who knows what were are paying for that!)

Now the reason we are doing this research is we are about to add 3 more to the group. I am hoping to get my foster parent license after the holidays and once that happens we will be feeding more. We are working towards one big trip a month to get all the staples, dry goods, frozen foods and meats. Then one trip a week to the store for fresh veggies and dairy products.

We work hard to produce fresh meals, not from a box, we rarely feed prepackaged food although the kids love frozen pizza and we give into that a few times a month.

I will be including more recipes as we get going here... being frugal prior to the holidays here means alot of beans and cornbread unfortunately right now!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Welcome to frugal cooking!

As I said in my "bio" I love to cook. Right now i help cook dinner for 7 people every night and that number will hopefully grow. We feed 7 on less than 100 dollars a week sometimes, sometimes we spend more. I think the most frugal we have been is when we had 25.00 to feed 12 people Friday evening till Monday morning... we managed!

Where do these people come from. My business partner has 4 young adult children (19-20 living with him) and they have various friends who spend time there. That weekend, some friends had come from out of town.

We have learned alot of tricks to stretching meals and everyday is an adventure... we often buy groceries on a daily basis and some days we look in the cabinets and have to get creative. We don't buy alot of prepackaged food, other than frozen pizza or mac and cheese. I personally think the preservatives are bad for us and quite frankly they are expensive. the most important rule is that it is filling, and that it is good! We do some traditional meals (tacos, spaghetti) but we also get creative and have fun with new recipes.

We also work alot, so time is usually a factor as well, although some meals we will spend some time on. The crockpot is our best friend!

Last night was left overs. I think we had pork chops, ribs, pinto beans and cornbread in the fridge. We did a purge... and now we have 2 more people coming from out of town so the next few days should be fun!