Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Homemade Ice cream/Snow cream

Last night, we finally made homemade ice cream out of snow.  It was super easy, fun, frugal, and quite tasty.  It was a great thing to do as a family as well.  My boys loved it!  Here's the recipe:

1 large bowl/pan of fresh, clean snow
1 can of evaporated milk
1 cup of sugar
2 tsp. of vanilla

Mix everything together (pour milk in last) and eat immediately.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Walgreen's Diapers $1.50/Jumbo Pack!!!!

Get them while you can!  I just got back from Walgreen's and I couldn't wait to post about a deal going on right now (today is the last day) on diapers.  You can get jumbo packs of diapers for only $1.50/pack.  That's 5 cents/diaper for size 5 and about 4 cents/diaper for size 4.  It would be even less per diaper if you get the smaller sizes.  So here's what you do...go and pick up two jumbo packs of the Walgreen's diapers, they are on sale for $6.99 AND are but one get one free.  Next, go to the pharmacy counter (that's where to go at the Main St. Walgreen's in Middletown) and get the "Infant Care" coupon booklet.  Inside you find a coupon for $2/pack of Walgreen's diapers.  Give it to the cashier with your diapers and you will actually get $4 off because you have two packs.  Yeah!  $2.99 out of pocket for at least 54 diapers (size 5).  I got four packs today (did two transactions) and only paid about $6.  And, by the way, if they are out of the size you need, get a rain check and save your coupons.  They don't expire until 12/2011.  I ended up getting a rain check too, so I can go back and buy some more size 5's soon.  If you can't find the "Infant Care" coupon booklet ask an associate/manager for help.  Even though I use cloth diapers most of the time, this deal was well worth it for me for the times I do use disposables (i.e. at night, trips, etc.).  And I don't know much about Walgreen's diapers, but again, at that price, if I use more than usual, I am fine with that!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

My Favorite Sugar Cookies

Cookies are one of my weaknesses, especially delicious sugar cookies.  Well, after several years of trying different recipes, I think I have a favorite and I want to share it.  I found it last summer on a recipe forum website from a fellow "Yinzer".  It didn't call for vanilla though, so I changed it, because other recipes that I have tried have vanilla in it.  They actually remind me of Eat 'n Park Smiley Face Cookies.  Some of you may not know what those are, but they are some of the best sugar cookies in the world from a restaurant chain in Western PA.  I had so much fun making Valentine's Day cookies with my boys on Monday and then giving them away to a bunch of people at our local YMCA.  Sugar cookies are great year-round, not just for Christmas.  I prefer them with icing too, but you can leave that off and just decorate them before you bake them. And do you know the secret to shiny icing?  Corn syrup!  Enjoy!  Save yourself some money and make cookies and give them away as gifts (or to cheer someone up) instead of buying something.  Your kids will love having some special treats around too!

Yummy Sugar Cookies

1 cup sugar
1 cup shortening (I used butter flavored Crisco)
1 cup milk (I used whole this time, but any is fine)
2 eggs, beaten
4-5 cups of flour (I started with 4 and then added more since the dough was still sticky)
6 teaspoons baking powder
3 teaspoons vanilla

Cream sugar, shortening, milk, vanilla, and eggs.  Add flour and baking powder.  Chill dough for 30-60 minutes to make it easier to work with.  Roll out the dough onto a floured surface and use cookie cutters for desired shapes.  Place on un-greased (they work with greased too) cookie sheet and bake at 400 for 13-15 minutes, don't over-bake.  Let cool completely on wire rack before icing and decorating.

1 cup powdered sugar
2 tsp. milk (I tend to use a little extra, if it seems to thick)
2 tsp. light corn syrup
1/4 tsp.vanilla

Stir powdered sugar and milk until smooth.  Beat in corn syrup and vanilla until smooth and glossy.  (I usually double it).

Friday, February 11, 2011

Homemade Pizza Perfected

I am so sorry it has been awhile since I have posted.   Not so sure anyone even stops by, but if you do, thank you!  Life with three young boys is really keeping me busy!  Anyway, a long time ago, I think back when I started this blog, I wrote a post about homemade whole wheat (not entirely whole wheat) pizza.  Oh, here's the link for you to check out, in case you missed it before.  I am happy to say that after over two years of making this pizza, I have some tips to make it even more delicious.  We eat it almost every Friday night and we never seem to get enough of it.  Seriously, try the recipe from Cooking Light .

Tips for a perfect pizza:

1.  The recipe says to have the "warm water" be between 100-110 degrees.  Yes, I actually use my candy thermometer to measure the temperature and make sure it falls within the range.  That is the best temperature to activate the yeast properly, at least I think so!  My friend laughed at me when she found out I did that, but then she tasted our pizza and agreed it tastes quite good.

 2.  If using a pizza stone, heat the stone in the oven before baking the pizza.  I usually leave it in the oven for at least 5 minutes.  I don't heat up my cookie sheets though, just the stone, since it seems to take a little longer to get hot.
3.  Sprinkle some corn meal on your pizza stone and/or cookie sheet, before putting the crust on it.
4.  Try to roll out (or do the fancy hand thing like they do in the pizza shops) the dough as thin as possible for a crisper crust--that's what we prefer.
5.  Be careful not to use too much sauce as it will make the crust mushy...just a light/thin layer.
6.  I bake the crust first for about 7-9 minutes and then I take it out, put the toppings on, and place it back in the oven for another 8 minutes, until the cheese is melted completely.

Enjoy!  I really hope you enjoy this pizza as much as we do.  If you get in the habit of making homemade pizza you can save so much money and you realized it tastes so much better.

I recently made my own version of a white veggie pizza and I thought I would share that with you too!  I follow the same recipe for the crust. For the sauce I used about 4 small cloves of garlic (minced), 3-4 Tbsp. olive oil (give or take a little), 3-4 tsp. Italian seasoning, and a few dashes of salt and pepper.  Mix together in a small bowl and brush over the pre-baked crust.  Add any veggies you like.  I used steamed broccoli and spinach.  Next, I sprinkled with some mozzarella and feta and baked it for an additional 7-8 minutes, or until cheese is melted.  I just made another tonight and it was great!

Do you have a pizza recipe you prefer?  Any tips for a great pizza?