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Recipe: Homemade Instant Pancake Mix & Blueberry Syrup

23 May

I don’t know about you, but I grew up knowing one kind of pancake mix: Bisquik. It was the perfect addition to any kitchen- it was easy, flavorful, and required little to no prep. In fact, these qualities still hold true today. Another aspect of Bisquik I’ve learned since becoming the “chef” for our household: that stuff goes fast. It doesn’t seem to matter what size of a box I buy, I’ve rarely got enough. (This could just be me, but seriously, I feel like I say “I’m out of Bisquik” an awful lot.)

So what to do when your box of Bisquik is almost out, but the family wants pancakes? Make your own Bisquik mix with just a few simple ingredients.

Homemade Instant Pancake Mix

Recipe borrowed from The Food Network.

Ingredients (for mix):

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons sugar

Ingredients (for batter):

  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter

Directions (for mix):

  1. Mix together ingredients, put into a jar/tupperware container.

Directions (for batter):

  1. For each 1 cup pancake mix, add 1 egg, 1 cup milk, and 1 tablespoon melted butter. Do not overmix.
  2. Heat a flat griddle or pan over medium-high heat.
  3. Spoon batter onto the hot griddle and when bubbles appear on the surface of the pancakes, flip them over to make them golden brown on both sides.

Now, of course you could top those delicious homemade pancakes with simple butter and maple syrup. The family would be happy, and heck, it’s easy, right? But… if you’re feeling creative, (or maybe you’re just in need of a “Wow, honey, these are amazing” compliment), you could make some blueberry syrup. And don’t worry- it’s only a teensy bit more labor intensive than regular syrup.

Blueberry Syrup

Recipe borrowed from The Food Network

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup maple syrup
  • 1 ½ cups blueberries

Directions:

  1. Combine ingredients in a saucepan.
  2. Bring to a boil.
  3. Remove from heat, put in a pouring container for use on pancakes.

Do you have a favorite homemade version of a classic breakfast? Share it in the comments!

Download the .pdf version of these recipes:

Pancake Batter

Blueberry Syrup

Recipe: Orange Chicken

19 Apr

As you know, I’m all about saving money by eating at home. Obviously, that’s clear. But that doesn’t mean we never eat out- we do! (and, truth be told, we adore it.) When we do eat out, however, I like to pull ideas from the recipes we try at our favorite restaurants for our at-home meals- because really, if I can make it at home just as well, why pay more at a restaurant? Now, sometimes, this doesn’t work out. Believe me, the gourmet butternut squash soup I had at Forepaugh’s on Valentine’s Day with the hubbster really IS the best in the world as advertised… the at-home version wasn’t even close.

That being said, we love going out to eat at Big Bowl– and we enjoy it so much mainly for the orange chicken. Turns out, they share a few of their recipes online. The first time we made this at home, we were totally floored. It is so good: the ginger is so vibrant, the chicken is so tender, and the sauce? Oh man, no words. Enjoy!

Big Bowl’s Orange Chicken

Ingredients:

  • 1 package boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-2 inch slices
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • ½ cup flour
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • ½ tsp salt

Sauce Ingredients:

  • 4 tbsp soy sauce
  • ½ cup lemon juice
  • 11 tbsp sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ cup chicken stock
  • 6 tbsp julienned scallion
  • 6 tbsp julienned ginger
  • 1 Fresno red pepper, julienned
  • 4 ½ cups peanut oil
  • 6 thin orange slices, peeled and cut into quarters

Directions:

  1. Mix the beaten egg, flour, cornstarch, and salt. Mix with chicken.
  2. Let sit for 10 minutes.
  3. Stir chicken in flour mixture again, smooshing it around with your fingers.
  4. Let sit for 10 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, make the orange sauce. Combine soy sauce, lemon juice, sugar, and salt in a small bowl.
  6. In a skillet, heat 4 cups of the peanut oil to 375 degrees.
  7. Heat another skillet, heat remaining peanut oil. When hot, add scallions and ginger. Cook for 15 seconds, stirring rapidly. Add orange slices and cook another 10 seconds. Add the soy-lemon-salt-sugar mixture, along with chicken stock, and bring to a boil.
  8. Combine a little cornstarch and water, then slowly add to the sauce until it thickens and clears. Remove from heat.
  9. Add chicken to the previously heated peanut oil, fry until crispy and golden. Remove from pan, immediately pat off excess oil with a paper towel, and add to orange sauce.
  10. Serve with rice, garnish with orange zest.

Do you have any “restaurant food we like to make at home” recipes? We’d love to hear them! Share the recipes or links in the comments.

Download the .pdf version of the recipe HERE.

Healthy Bites with Holly: A Few of My Favorite Things

15 Apr

As I was shopping this week, it occurred to me that I have found new favorite foods.  Yummy, nutritious things to eat that are now my go-to foods.  You know those foods…the stuff you HAVE TO HAVE in your cupboards or refridgerator every day.   In order of importance, here are my must haves:

  1. Greek Yogurt:  Bar none, greek yogurt has become the food I most look forward to eating daily.  My preference is Chobani brand Greek Yogurt.   If you compare regular yogurt to greek yogurt, per ounce greek yogurt has only 2 more calories, but half the sugar and twice the protein.  This means that for just a few more calories, it satisfies me longer.  And feeling fuller means that I don’t want to cheat and eat a donut. (Photo Source)
  2. Edamame:  I love me some edamame!  You can buy these unshelled soy beans pre-cooked and frozen in small little packets.  I buy them from Costco and pop them in my freezer.  And then, when I need a little mindless snack, something to replace high fat, empty calories like potato chips, I just zap them for 2 minutes in the microwave and I have fun, tasty thing to eat that doesn’t pack on the pounds. The best thing is that edame is very low in sodium. It is also a good source of Dietary Fiber, Protein, Thiamin, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus and Copper, and a very good source of Vitamin K, Folate and Manganese. (Photo Source)
  3. Low Fat String Cheese:  Wanna play with your food?  And eat healthy?  Add low fat string cheese to your diet.  I love the different ways that I can eat it.  Sometimes, I cut it into little coins, and eat them slowly, one by one.  Sometimes, I peel off the strings, and eat them like a kid.  And sometimes, I zap the cheese for 15 seconds in the microwave, and eat it warm and a little melty.  My very favorite thing is to take a few low fat cracker, such as Low Fat Wheat Thins, and add a piece of string cheese, and then a piece of jalapeno pepper on the very top.  The crunch is satisfying and feels like a little hors d’oeuvre.  MM Good!
  4. Bananas:  I think the banana may be the most perfect food.  It is easily digested, contains nature sugars for energy, high in protein, high in potassium.  It is portable, has it’s own wrapper and contains almost 20% of your daily vitamin C need.  And it is great to help you regulate your, um, bathroom products.  Which can come in handy when you are first trying to lose weight and your body rebels.  I have at least one banana a day. (Fact Source)
  5. Water Bottles:  Technically, the water bottles I purchased are not a food, but they have helped me so much to drink the water I need every day.  At first, I tried to use recycled water bottles, but they were thin, and easily collasped.  The caps became harder and harder to screw on, and sometimes they leaked in my bag.   I found these particular bottles at Bed Bath and Beyond. They are thick, and easy to clean.  The caps are very strong and have a silicone seal to keep the water in the bottle.  These are designed to work with their new SodaStream soda maker, but you can buy them separately.

Do you have a “Go-To” nutritious food or product that has helped your healthy eating goals?  Drop me a line and let me know!

Holly is the mother of three grown daughters, and has recently embarked on her own journey of weight loss and healthy living. Convinced that the key to her success is smart, but manageable, eating choices, she is now a regular columnist for The Frugal Flambe- you can catch her posts every Friday right here! Join her every week as she shares her triumphs and successes, and maybe a couple of stumbles along the way. Eating healthy doesn’t have to be horrible- Holly can do it, and so can you.

Recipe: Rubber Chicken

30 Mar
Guest post by Tracey Phillips from Bridal Designs Wedding Jewellery.

When I was asked to do a blog post about frugal food I must admit I was a bit flummoxed, my day job is making and selling wedding  jewelry but I’m not one to refuse a challenge! Luckily then I remembered a website where I have whiled away many a productive hour learning fantastic tips and tricks to save money..which just happens to have a section on food.
This website is MoneySavingExpert.com and the food section is the Old Style board , frequented by lots of lovely helpful people who don’t want to spend a fortune on processed or junk food but who want to feed their families good old fashioned food on a budget. They are the experts in frugal food so I will share with you some of their tips and recipes.

Rubber Chicken

So called because it s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-s a long way ..a good way of making one chicken last for 3 days/4 meals

Sunday Lunch – Chicken cooked in the slow cooker or roasted in the oven with vegetables and roast potatoes,

Sunday Dinner -Chicken sandwiches

Monday – Pasta bake using some of the chicken meat

Tuesday  Chicken noodle soup, using stock made from the bones, and the meat left over.

also works well with turkey from Christmas/Thanksgiving

Cauliflower Soup

If you have made a cauliflower cheese or used it to go with your rubber chicken you can use the leftover stalks and leaves to make a lovely soup.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cauliflower, or equivalent in stalks/leaves
  • 1 lg onion, chopped
  • 1 med potato, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 sprigs parsley, a bay leaf, sprig thyme
  • 30g butter or any oil
  • 1 litre stock (veg water from cooking or stock cube)
  • 100g cheese
  • 100g red lentils
  • good tsp smoked paprika

Directions:

  1. Sweat all the veg, garlic, herbs and paprika in the butter/oil for a few minutes.
  2. Add everything else except the cheese and simmer gently for 20 minutes. remove the herbs and whizz with a blender or in a food processor.
  3. Stir in the cheese, don’t allow to boil after the cheese goes in or it will go all stringy

Note: You don’t HAVE to have the herbs or the paprika, they do give extra flavour though
Serves 4-6 and is quite filling and very delicious

Twinks Hobnobs

Not sure if you have Hobnobs in the U.S but they are delicious oaty crumbly biscuits, however they are very expensive so here is a recipe from a regular poster called ‘Twink’ who has made her own version.

Ingredients:

  • 8oz self raising flour
  • 8oz sugar
  • 8oz porridge oats
  • 8oz margarine
  • 1tbsp golden syrup
  • 1tbsp hot water
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

Directions:

  1. Mix flour, oats and sugar, melt margarine, syrup and water in a pan stir in bicarbonate soda and add to dry mix, mix well, make smallish balls and put on greased tray and flatten slightly with a fork, bake at 180o c for 15 mins,until golden, cool on the tray.

Note: You may need to hide these away as they tend to disappear in about 5 minutes otherwise!

Hope these recipes have been of use to you and you enjoy trying them and eating the results!

Tracey Phillips is 38 and is the owner of Bridal Designs Wedding Jewellery she designs and handcrafts Sterling silver bridal jewellery with Swarovski crystal and pearls and in her spare time likes walking in the beautiful Devon countryside with her two Border Collies.

Recipe: Cheesy Turkey Tenderloins

23 Mar
By, Guest Blogger Sherry of City Chic on a Farm

This City Chic on a Farm is slowly learning how to cook, despite the fact that I hate it, and a freezer full of meat is making it easier.  Here’s a recipe that is quick and easy, and if I can do it- anyone can:

Cheesy Turkey Tenderloins

Ingredients:

  • 4 or 5 tenderloins
  • 2 cans of Campbell’s cheddar cheese
  • 1 can of Campbell’s cream of chicken
  • carrots or whatever veggies you want to add

Directions:

  1. Cook for 4 to 5 hours on low, or 6 to 8 hours on high in your crock pot.
  2. Enjoy!

Also try my Beef Bacon Roast, another awesome crock pot full of easy eatin’!

Have you heard of Power Cooking?  This is a way to get the whole family involved by pre-making your meals on the weekend for the week ahead or even getting girlfriends together to cook and chat.  Power Cooking was created by Pampered Chef so if you have a consultant in your area have her do a demo and show you. It can be a great time-saver, and also helps save money by alleviating the need to plan a meal each evening- making you more likely to stick with the plan than go out.

 

Sherry is a SAHM (work-at-home Mom) raising three boys on a farm, after growing up in the burbs of Cincinnati with a little sister.  She’s got a unique way of sharing her farm life, and is learning along with her sons all about how to run farm while trying not to get her hands dirty.  Mosey on over to City Chic on a Farm and say “Howdy!”

Product Review: Sweet Mother Nature & GIVEAWAY!

22 Mar
I am a snack-aholic.
My kid is a snack-aholic.
And the hubbster? You guessed it. Snack-aholic.
With all the snacking we want to do, especially late at night we’ve had to branch out of our usual chips with sour cream mixed with salsa regimen. (Try it, it’s great. Or don’t try it. It’s addictive.) However, with me being pregnant, the kiddo being very persistent, and the hubbster being a grade-A enabler, you can imagine how difficult it has been to try and stay away from snacks altogether. And so I went looking for healthy alternatives. But here’s the thing, guys. The alternative had to not taste like an alternative. It needed to taste like a treat, but without the guilt of a treat.
And let me tell you, I struck GOLD.
Sweet Mother Nature, a store I found on Etsy.com, makes amazing snacks that will no doubt satisfy the inner-snack-aholic in you, just like it did for me. So I dropped Matt and Sheryl (owners) a line, and talked them into letting me review their awesome snacks on my new blog. (They were brave- the blog was three days old at the time.) Here’s the interview:


The Frugal Flambe (TFF): First off, let me just say, I love the idea of having healthy snacks on hand. And my kid loves your snacks!
Sweet Mother Nature (SMN): The first thing I have to say about the snacks from Sweet Mother Nature is – YES – KIDS DO LOVE IT!!!  Also a very smart choice for dieters. These are snacks that everyone can appreciate. Dehydrated goodies are perfect for snacking and a great replacement for candy and/or sugary, so-called, “gummy fruits”.

TFF: Well that certainly takes a weight off my mind when I’m feeding the kidlet. But hey, you say your stuff is healthy- how healthy?

SMN: They remain healthy because they retain their natural goodness including all the anti-oxidants, vitamins, minerals and fiber. There are NO preservatives and NO sugar added. One more benefit is that dehydrated goods need NO refrigeration and last for months in your cupboard. Everything is made in a commercial grade dehydrator in clean, country home. Definitely better than CANDY – it’s Sweet Mother Nature.

TFF: How did you come up with the idea to start making these treats?

SMN: Snackers at heart, Matt and I are always on the look out for healthy treat alternatives. We wanted nutritious, low calorie snacking foods, but had trouble finding anything we liked, without added sugars and chemicals. Health food stores carry and offer healthy foods, but we find the prices did not always meet our financial budget. Living in the Finger Lakes area of New York State, we have a wealth of locally grown fruits and wanted to enjoy them year-round.

TFF: I can relate to the snacker part- where did the idea to dehydrate the fruit come from?

SMN: Well, we needed a way to make our fresh produce last throughout the winter months. Since we are very conscious about our electrical bill, we didn’t want to have to run a chest freezer all year. We also found that frozen produce gets mushy and some just can’t be frozen successfully – thus the dehydrating began!  You would not believe the combinations we come up with <lol>. Pineapple/Orange, Pear/Blueberry, Orange/Cranberry, Banana/Mango/Coconut – OMG the possibilities are endless.

TFF: So why not just keep the goodies for yourself? How did you end up selling these out of your home?

SMN: We had such a positive response from family and friends that we thought we would try selling at our local craft / vendor shows and online commerce sites. [listed below]

TFF: And have you been successful?

SMN: YES! We were recently approached by our first investor! Here’s an article about all the excitement:http://www.ventureancap.com/seeds-funded/sweetmothernature-com/#more-10 AND- You may be happy to know that we take special orders – let your imagination FLY!!


After our interview, Matt and Sheryl actually sent me samples of their delicious stuff- here’s what I thought:

  • Dried Bananas- Not crunchy like I expected, by chewy and sweet- like candy.
  • Dried Apples- Awesome- with a little dusting of cinnamon, the tartness of the apples was highlighted and tasted like heaven.
  • Pineapple Leather: Nature’s fruit roll ups, I kid you not. This was by FAR our favorite part of the whole testing experience. Tart, a little bit of sweetness, and chewy enough to satisfy my snacking urge.
  • Strawberry Leather: The kiddo dug this one- he literally ate the whole piece. Tastes just like strawberries in the summertime.
  • Dried Cherries- SO MUCH BETTER than the ones you buy at the store- tart and sweet at the same time, these were perfect.
  • Dried Papaya- Our least favorite of the bunch, but still great. It tasted like I took a bite right out a fresh papaya- you can’t ask for better than that!

And you guys- the best is yet to come! Sweet Mother Nature was so stoked about being featured at The Frugal Flambe, they agreed to do a giveaway! That’s right, FREE goodies for you and your family. Just leave a comment below, and on Friday, March 25, a random commenter will be chosen to receive this sweet prize- Honey Cinnamon Dried Apples (they literally melt in your mouth).

Like what you see? Shop to your hungry heart’s content at the Sweet Mother Nature’s Etsy Store.http://www.etsy.com/shop/healthytreat

http://www.sweetmothernature.com

http://www.artfire.com/users/sweetmothernature

Questions? Direct them to healthytreat@live.com

A very special thank-you to Matt, Sheryl, and the rest of the Sweet Mother Nature Crew!

UPDATE:~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Now, I know you’ve all been clinging to the edge of your seats for this one: the Sweet Mother Nature Giveaway Winner!!!

According to the Randomizer, our winner is: Amanda!!!!

Congratulations to you, Amanda, and a special thanks to all who participated.

To the winner: expect an email from thefrugalflambe(at)gmail(dot)com within 24 hours- it’ll include the contact info of Sweet Mother Nature, and you can send your address directly to them to get your FREE bag of dried apples! Yummy!

 

Healthy Bites with Holly: Steel Cut Oats

18 Mar

Happy Friday! My name is Holly, and I am a recovering bad eater. I am a 46 year old empty-nester and in January, I was 90 pounds overweight. It was those damn Christmas holiday pictures that finally pushed me over the edge. I was shocked at how old and tired (not to mention large) I looked and I realized that if I wanted to have enough energy to chase after my 2 year old grandson, I would have to make changes. This isn’t my first time trying to lose weight–all other attempts were intense but short lived. My number one priority is this time around, I need to focus on making changes that I can live with FOREVER. Even if the weight loss is slower.

With this in mind, I started my journey by enrolling in my local Weight Watchers meeting. Keeping myself grounded by weekly weigh ins seemed like a good idea. Weight watchers has a great program, but they allow you A LOT of choices. And my choices in the past have not been that great. I needed to expand my food knowledge and expand my healthy food choices. So I started to research. I bought many of the popular diet books, searched for internet information, and I talked to all the skinny people in my life. I realized quickly that I didn’t have a clue about healthy food. I didn’t know where to buy it, how to identify the healthy stuff, and I certainly didn’t know how to prepare it.

I started slowly with Special K cereal for breakfast, frozen low calorie meals for lunch, and salads for dinner. But after only two weeks of this, I was craving more choices. Now that I was not overeating at night, I found myself ravenous hungry in the mornings. I heard someone talking about steel cut oats, and how filling and nutritious they were. Steel cut oats?? What is that? Well…I learned that steel-cut oats are whole grain groats (the inner portion of the oat kernel) which have been cut into only two or three pieces by steel rather than being rolled. The benefits to steel cut vs rolled is that you get more fiber and nutrition that are processed out in the rolled oats. Okay…that sounded pretty easy to add..just boil some oatmeal, and there you go. Off to Costco I went, found a big bag of “Coaches Oats” and ran home to check them out.

I started to panic when I opened the bag. Ummm…it looked like little pieces of chipped wood. NOTHING like oatmeal to me. My stomach started to rebel just from the look of it.

I read the package and was reassured that you could cook this stuff in the microwave in 4 minutes or less. The next morning, I made time to zap me a bowl. 4 short minutes later, I tried to eat it. It was lumpy and it was tough to chew. In short, I hated it with a passion. I was just about to throw the steel cut oats out in the trash, when I happened to mention my experience in the lunchroom at work. One of my co-workers suggested I cook the oats on the stove instead…and for a lot longer than 4 minutes. I wasn’t thrilled with this news. Cooking oats on the stove for 10-15 minutes every morning wasn’t going to happen.

I am happy to report that I have found a way to have my oats and eat them too (every morning) without standing at the stove every morning. I visited my local dollar store, and picked up 8 ounce plastic containers with snug lids. And on Saturday mornings, I boil six cups of water, and 2 cups of oats. I add in 6 packets of artificial sweetener (one for each serving) to make it taste yummy. (You can add more or less, according to your sweet tooth) and I boil the oats for at least 15 minutes. At the 10 minute mark, the oats are very thick, and I add one more cup of water to extend the cooking time. (The longer you cook them, the less chewy they become) .

And finally, in keeping with portion control and being accountable for what I eat, I weigh each portion (1 portion is usually 6.5 ounces-depending on how thick the oats are). My final addition is a handful of organic, flash frozen, no sugar added blueberries to each bowl. And voila! 6 ready to microwave bowls of nutritious goodness for every morning, filled with high fiber, protein, and anti-oxidants. This just might be the most perfect breakfast food on the planet.

My oats are the only the first new thing I have added to my food list. And I am happy to say that it’s been 8 weeks now, and I have consistently lost an average of 1 and half pounds a week. Every week I add something new to my diet…some additions are a great success, and some are total failures. The great news is that I am not bored…and I am learning healthy eating skills that will hopefully carry me to my ultimate weight loss goal of the whole 90 pounds.

Join me here every Friday and let’s continue learning how to eat healthy without your stomach going on strike.

Nutritional Information (without the blueberries): Serving size 1/3 cup dry oats. Calories: 160 Fat: 3g Cholesterol: 0mg Sodium: 10mg Total Carb: 27g Dietary Fiber: 2 Protein: 6g

Holly is the mother of three grown daughters, and has recently embarked on her own journey of weight loss and healthy living. Convinced that the key to her success is smart, but manageable, eating choices, she is now a regular columnist for The Frugal Flambe- you can catch her posts every Friday right here! Join her every week as she shares her triumphs and successes, and maybe a couple of stumbles along the way. Eating healthy doesn’t have to be horrible- Holly can do it, and so can you.

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