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Category: From My Kitchen

Baking Day – Part 3


The just came out of the oven and can I say "yum"? I love their crispier crust and yet they are still light and fluffy inside. This recipe is definitely a winner. It would be especially delicious served with butter and honey. And best of all, these were quite easy to make.

While they were baking, I was inspired by to whip up some to stick in the freezer for after the baby is born. I'm not sure whether I'll do calzones or pizza with them but I know that already having the dough made up will be a huge time-saver!


Putting everything in the bread machine and running it made this dough incredibly simple to do. I didn't feel like it turned out quite as nicely as my usual Homemade Pizza Dough recipe, but it still seemed like it will be pretty good. I'll be anxious to use it and see how it ends up working out.


We also made the . These are definitely a somewhat-healthier alternative to the usual Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins we make and they are quite scrumptious. Plus, it's another great way to use up going-bad bananas–something we often seem to have around here!

I'm taking another break to drink some water and put my feet up and then we'll tackle the Banana Bread, cooking up some chicken, and cleaning up the kitchen. We're having leftovers for dinner tonight, along with the French Bread Rolls, so I'm hopeful the kitchen can be all back in order by dinner time.

Baking Day – Part 2

We started off the morning with making juice for breakfast. Sadly, I can't drink fresh juice right now due to my heartburn/reflux, but the rest of the family thoroughly enjoyed it. And then I cleaned up the kitchen and started the dishwasher so we could begin our baking with an orderly work space.

After that, I mixed up the dough for the . While the yeast, sugar, and water were sitting for ten minutes, I whipped up the Super Power Muffins and got those into the oven.


Then it was back to finish up the roll dough and get that rising.

The muffins came out looking pretty scrumptious and the family taste-testing of them went over fairly well. So I'm guessing these will be something I'll definitely be making again. They were a little more dessert-like than muffin-like, but considering they have peanut butter, bananas, and whole-wheat flour, there's quite a bit of nutrition in them as well.


I added in an extra mashed banana instead of the applesauce or carrot puree and also added in a little more than the called for amount of chocolate chips. Next time, I'd like to try adding in carrot puree and see how that goes over.

I'm drinking some water and putting my feet up for a little while and then it's back to the kitchen to finish the rolls and make more muffins.

If you're baking today, I'd love to hear how it's coming along.

Menu Plan Monday: Eating From The Pantry Challenge


I ended up not going grocery shopping at all last week and while we're getting low on some basic supplies, I decided it would be fun to challenge myself to see if we could go another five days without going to the grocery store. So welcome to the Eating From The Pantry Challenge!

My personal rules for this challenge are that I cannot dig into the After-the-Baby Freezer Stash and I also must try to use up as many odds and ends as possible. In addition, I'm going to try to come up with fairly balanced and nutritious meals, though they might be a little different and less-varied than our normal fare.

I'll be blogging what we eat each day, along with pictures and maybe even some recipes. My hope is that we not only make it until Friday of this week without hitting the grocery store, but also that this challenge to myself might inspire you to stretch what you already have a little farther or be more creative with what you have on hand.

Sometimes it's so easy to become accustomed to going to the store every week (or multiple times per week!) that we aren't as good of stewards with what we already have in our cupboards, refrigerator, and freezer. This can not only lead to waste, but unnecessary expenditures.

To aid me in coming up with meals for this week, I made up a list of meal ideas to work from based upon things we have in our cupboards, freezer, and refrigerator which need to be used up. We may or may not use all of these this week, but they will certainly serve as a springboard for ideas.

Here's the potential ideas list:

Breakfast Ideas:
Baked Oatmeal
Cream of Wheat
Pumpkin Waffles
Organic toaster pastries
Biscuits and gravy
French Toast

Lunch Ideas:
Grilled cheese sandwiches
Baked potatoes
Beans and rice
Egg salad sandwiches
PB & J sandwiches

BBQ Beef sandwiches
Spinach rice and cheese casserole
Cheese and veggie pizza

Stay tuned for the daily scoop on what I concoct using what we have on hand! For more menu ideas, check out .

Guest Post: Easy, Frugal Breakfasts

Guest Post by Lynn from

Breakfast foods can be a major part of a grocery budget. It is just so easy to grab boxes of cereal, packages of instant oatmeal, or boxes of frozen waffles.

Yes, you can use coupons and sales to get these items for a good price, but even sale prices can add up when you have several children. Three hungry kids can devour a box of cereal quickly. At least I know mine can.

The main reason that people buy these items is usually convenience. My mornings, and I assume yours, are busy. We are all trying to start our day, get off to work or school, deal with crying sick kids, or
just deal with everyday home life. Whatever the reasons, I think we all struggle with preparing healthy frugal breakfasts for our families.

I have found that I do much better fixing a home cooked breakfast when I can prepare things ahead of time. It is much easier for me to make things the night before so that it only takes a few minutes during the morning rush. 

Two of my favorite things to make ahead are pancake and waffle batters. While you can make ahead and freeze pancakes and waffles, my family prefers fresh, hot cooked ones.

So, today I am going to share my family's favorite make-ahead waffle and pancake recipes. These recipes are were specifically created to be made ahead and sit overnight; they do best when the batter has sat for at least 8-12 hours. These are quick to put together the night before, then all you have to do is stir the batter and cook in the morning.

Whole Wheat Overnight Waffles

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cup warm milk (110 degrees)
8 tablespoons butter ( 1 stick)
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla

In a large bowl whisk the flour, sugar, yeast, and salt together. Gradually add remaining ingredients until well combined. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator overnight for 12-24 hours. (You want to have plenty of room in this bowl because the batter will rise some. If your bowl is not big enough it may go all over your refrigerator!)

In the morning, cook on heated waffle iron for about 3 1/2 minutes each or until done. This may vary with each waffle iron so follow the directions for your specific waffle maker. Serve with butter and syrup and enjoy!

Overnight Pancakes

1 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water (110° to 115°)
3/4 cup whole wheat flour (or use all all-purpose flour)
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoons baking powder
1 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
2 cups buttermilk
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in water; let stand for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Then beat in eggs, buttermilk, yeast mixture and oil. Cover and refrigerate for 8
hours or overnight.

To make pancakes, pour batter by 1/4 cupfuls onto a greased hot griddle; turn when bubbles form on top of pancakes. Cook until second side is golden brown.

Lynn loves to cook and try new recipes. Lynn blogs at if you would like to read more about her adventures in the kitchen.

Note from Crystal: What are some easy and frugal breakfasts you like to serve at your home? I'd love to hear your ideas!

What’s on the menu this week


Our freezer is quite stocked, but I have a few more items I still wanted to make up to add to it before the baby comes so my goal is to finish those this week. I've planned them into our regular menus so that I can just double or triple a batch of whatever I'm making to make it much easier and efficient. At this season of my life, this is one of the easiest ways for me to make up food for the freezer–especially when it comes to main dishes.

Here's the proposed menu:

Whole-wheat pumpkin waffles, fruit  
Strawberry smoothies, toast
, apples, scrambled eggs with cheese
Oatmeal with brown sugar
Blueberry pancakes, scrambled eggs

(make extra for the freezer) with melted cheese, apples
Veggie frittata
(make extra for the freezer)
PB&J, carrots
Apples with peanut butter, cranberry pumpkin muffins
Baked potatoes with cheese and broccoli
Egg salad sandwiches, apples

Steak, wild rice, steamed veggies, banana bread
Homemade BBQ Beef Pizza, veggies and dip
(make 2 extra for the freezer), cooked carrots,
Steak, baked potatoes, green bean casserole
, grapefruit
Veggie and steak stir fry over brown rice
Dinner out

Muffins (from the freezer)
Granola bars

This week’s $42 shopping trip and menu

Kathrynne and I went shopping at Walgreens, Dillons, and Aldi on Saturday afternoon but I didn't get this posted on Saturday evening like I'd hope since we were gone until late in the evening and then as soon as I sat down to post our electricity went out unexpectedly and was off for a few hours. How's that for a good excuse (and a very long run-on sentence)?!

At any rate, here's what we bought:


We purchased Ritz crackers, Sambucol, and fillers at Walgreens and somehow ended up spending $0.14 out of pocket for all that! Reminds me of the great deals I used to get at CVS!

We mostly bought sale items, free-or-cheap-after-coupon deals (including diapers for $3.97 using the $3/1 Kroger Comforts coupon) and mark-downs at Dillons and spent a total of $22.50. Plus, we received $2.50 back in catalinas for buying the two Glucerana cereals (which were already free overage after the $5/1 coupon!).

Then we hit Aldi for their sales and some staple items and we spent $19.33 there.

All totaled, we spent $41.97 for groceries this week. We had raised our grocery budget up to $60/week until the end of my pregnancy, but I'm attempting to whittle it back down to $40 or $45/week so we can get back on our usual budget after the baby is born. Our pantry and refrigerators are staying so well-stocked that I think it's going to be very doable, but we'll see!

For those who enjoy seeing what we're eating, here's this week's menu:

Blueberry pancakes, yogurt, fruit
, banana bread
Cereal, fruit
Scrambled eggs with cheese, toast, fresh juice
Cranberry pumpkin muffins, fruit, yogurt
, fruit, scrambled eggs

Shrimp, steamed veggies
Baked potatoes with broccoli and cheese
Egg salad sandwiches, carrots
Cheese slices, grapes, pumpkin muffins
Spinach brown rice and cheese casserole, fruit
Leftovers x 2

Ritzy Chicken (make an extra to freeze for after the baby is born), cranberry bread, grapefruit
Homemade pizza (make extra dough to freeze for after the baby is born), fruit
Steak, baked potatoes, green bean casserole, cooked carrots
(make two extra pans to freeze for after the baby is born), homemade bread, veggies, grapefruit
(make extra to freeze for after the baby is born), brown rice, veggies, grapes
Steak, homemade bread, grapefruit
Dinner out

Cranberry pumpkin muffins
Banana bread
Granola bars

I'm working on stocking up our freezer for after the baby is born so I'm slowly incorporating the meals I want to make and freeze into our weekly dinners. It's much easier and manageable for me to do it this way right now. You can see the list of meals I'm hoping to have our freezer full of before the baby comes here.

For more menus this week, check out .