Monday, December 28, 2009

Easy Fudge

Easy Fudge

3 ¾ Cups Confectioners Sugar
½ Cup unsweetened cocoa powder
6 tablespoons - butter or margarine
¼ Cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
¼ teaspoon salt
1 Cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Grease a 9x5x2-inch loaf pan; set aside.

In a heavy 3-quart saucepan, add all ingredients except nuts. Over very low heat, constantly stir mixture until well combined and smooth. Remove from heat; stir in nuts. Quickly spread into pan.

Refrigerate 2 hours or until firm. Cut into squares.

Makes 24 pieces.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Homemade Cherry Mash Candy

My friend Deb sent me this classic candy recipe--just in time for Christmas!

Cherry Mash

2 sticks margarine
4 Cups sugar
1 can evaporated milk
10 oz bag miniature marshmallows
2 12-oz bags cherry chips
2 12-oz bags chocolate chips
1½ cups crunchy peanut butter

Mix together milk, sugar, and margarine in a sauce pan; bring to a full rolling boil. Stir often as it will scorch easily. Boil for 7 minutes. Add the miniature marshmallows, stirring until melted. Add the two packages of cherry chips, stirring again until melted. Put in a greased 9 x 13 pan. Chill.

Topping: Melt 2 packages chocolate chips with 1 1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter. Spread over top of chilled cherry mixture.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Quick Tip: Place Cards at Dinner

Place cards that can be eaten are always fun. Cut cookie dough in rectangular or other desirable shapes, bake carefully and then write the name of each guest on a cookie with icing, using a pastry tube. Have the cookie place card on a small paper doily and put it in place on the table.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Quick Substitute for Baking Powder

There’s nothing more frustrating than being in the middle of a recipe and realizing you’re out of an important ingredient. Some things you can substitute, but others, like baking powder, you can’t. The chemistry in baked goods just doesn’t work out right. But, if you happen to have baking soda, cornstarch, and cream of tartar, you can make your own baking powder. Mix one tablespoon baking soda, one teaspoon cornstarch, and one and a half tablespoons cream of tartar together.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

10 Uses for Newspaper

“Newspaper, by design, is a very absorbent product, because it has to absorb ink. But that also means it is equipped to absorb all sorts of moisture, including moisture and the resulting odors found in shoes and vegetable drawers," says Chris Morrissey, vice president of marketing for Sun Chemical, in Northlake, Illinois, the world’s largest printing-ink manufacturer.

Use Newspaper to:

1. Deodorize food containers. Stuff a balled-up piece of newspaper into a lunch box or thermos, seal it, and let sit overnight.

2. Ripen tomatoes. Wrap them individually and leave them out at room temperature.

3. Pack delicate items. Wrap frames and figurines with several pieces of newspaper, then crumple the remaining sections to fill extra space in the box.

4. Wipe away tough streaks on glass. Use newspaper with cleaning fluid to clean mirrors and windows.

5. Preserve antique glass. Some older frames have finishes on the glass that can be damaged by cleaning solutions. Remove smudges by rubbing with newspaper dipped in a solution of one part white vinegar and one part warm water. Let air-dry.

6. Dry shoes. Place crumpled paper in them overnight.

7. Wrap gifts. Use the comics to wrap a child’s birthday gift, or try the wedding announcements for an engagement gift.

8. Create a spot for slushy snow boots. During the winter, keep a pile of newspaper near the entryway. When your little snowmen come inside, they can toss their winter wear onto the newspaper instead of creating puddles on the floor.

9. Prepare a garden. In the fall, mow a patch of lawn to make room for a dedicated bed. Cover it with four layers of newspaper, then a four-inch layer of shredded leaves or bark mulch. Hose it down. Come spring, the compost blanket will have smothered the grass roots, and the bed will be primed for planting.

10. Keep the refrigerator vegetable drawer dry and free of smells. Line the bottom with newspaper.

5 Lessons from Geese

I think I've posted this before...but it's one of my favorites.

Lessons From Geese

Note: "Lessons from Geese" was transcribed from a speech given by Angeles Arrien at the 1991 Organizational Development Network and was based on the work of Milton Olson. It circulated to Outward Bound staff throughout the United States.

As each goose flaps its wings it creates an "uplift" for the birds that follow. By flying in a "V" formation, the whole flock adds 71% greater flying range than if each bird flew alone.

People who share a common direction and sense of community can get where they are going quicker and easier because they are traveling on the thrust of one another.

When a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of flying alone. It quickly moves back into formation to take advantage of the lifting power of the bird immediately in front of it.

If we have as much sense as a goose we stay in formation with those headed where we want to go. We are willing to accept their help and give our help to others.

When the lead goose tires, it rotates back into formation and another goose flies to the point position.

It pays to take turns doing the hard tasks and sharing leadership. As with geese, people are interdependent on each other's skills, capabilities and unique arrangements of gifts, talents or resources.

The geese flying in formation honk to encourage those up front to keep up their speed.

We need to make sure our honking is encouraging. In groups where there is encouragement, the production is much greater. The power of encouragement (to stand by one's heart or core values and encourage the heart and core of others) is the quality of honking we seek.

When a goose gets sick, wounded or shot down, two geese drop out of formation and follow it to help and protect it. They stay with it until it dies or is able to fly again. Then, they launch out with another formation or catch up with the flock.

If we have as much sense as geese, we will stand by each other in difficult times as well as when we are strong.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Short Hint: Fabric Softener Sheets

Here is just a short hint for today--I've been busy packing for a road trip (more on that later!), so I hardly have time to sit at the computer!

Take a fabric softener sheet that has been used in your laundry and after cleaning your TV, rub it all around the area that you don't want to dust anymore. Instead of attracting dust, your TV will repel it.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Free Headset for your phone

Save money and be safer on the road with a free wireless “hands-free” headset from This site promotes safer driving by distributing headsets for hundreds of cell phones. The only charge is a $3.94 shipping charge.

They have been doing this since 2003, and they have distributed over 200,000 headsets nationwide. They have been written about in the New York Times, Popular Science Magazine and featured on the CBS News. You can see their media stories on their website.

Select the make and model of your phone on the website. They offer two types – an earbud with a hanging microphone that is at about neck level and the other type is a microphone that wraps around your head.

For $3.94, get one for you and for someone you love.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Granny's Favorite Cookies

Snickerdoodles are my favorite cookie--if you recall I posted a recipe for Snickerdoodle Muffins on November 6, but here is the original cookie recipe:


  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup oil
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 cups flour, sifted
  • 2 t. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon or 2 tsp grated lemon rind
  • 1/2 cup sugar

Heat oven to 400. Beat eggs with fork, stir in oil, vanilla and lemon rind (if using). Blend in 3/4 cup sugar until mixture thickens. Blend flour, baking powder, and salt; add to mixture. Roll into 1 inch balls. Mix 1/2 cup sugar and cinnamon. Roll balls in sugar mixture. Place on baking sheet, cris-cross with fork. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes. Remove immediately from baking sheet.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Homemade Chex Mix for the holidays

A friend sent me this website--there are over 140 different ways to make Chex Mix!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Granny's Easy Hamburger Casserole

Hamburger Casserole

  • 2 lbs. ground beef
  • 5 medium potatoes
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cans cream of mushroom soup
  • 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese

Peel the potatoes, cut in to small pieces and boil until nearly done. Cook onion and meat until brown. Drain off excess fat. In a 9 x 13" sprayed casserole dish, layer potatoes and then meat. Spread the mushroom soup on top of the meat mixture. Sprinkle cheese on top.

Cook 30 minutes in a 300º oven or until cheese is melted and casserole is bubbly.

This is great served with a side of green beans or peas or a garden salad and some crusty bread.

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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Granny finds some good deals at all 3 grocery stores!

We are so snowed in! Our area got over 10 inches of that white stuff yesterday. So, as I sit here waiting to see if the snow plows come our way, I’ll look at the online grocery ads (the newspaper didn’t make it yet today). All the major stores put their weekly ad online, so go to their website and find the right link. They usually have them up by midnight (or earlier) Tuesday night….

Oh, look! HyVee has sugar for 99¢ this week with a coupon. And, there are two other 99¢ coupons: for flour and butter! Time to start those Christmas Cookies!

The HyVee produce department has pears for 88¢ a pound and a bag of oranges for just $2.48—when I was a little girl, we always got an orange in the bottom of our Christmas stocking. We could open the stocking on Christmas eve, and then get the presents that were under the tree early Christmas morning….such excitement!

The HyVee meat department is featuring a spiral cut ham for just $1.99 a pound, and cut chicken breasts for only 99¢ a pound. Post boxed cereals are 3/$5 and Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk is jut $1.88. Coke products 12-packs are 3/$10 (good time to stock up).

Skagway’s flyer shows red delicious apples for just 58¢ a pound and a 3 lb bag of onions for 99¢. Store brand cake mixes are great—49¢ each. It’s easy to make cookies with a cake mix—check out my recipes!

Skagway bakery has some good bread prices: a loaf of sourdough for $1.49 and a loaf of Bialy bread for just $1.19. And since you are in the bakery department, the meats are close by—boneless round steak is priced at $2.19 a pound, ground beef is $1.79 a pound, and pork end roast is just $1.29 a pound.

Canned beans and canned tomatoes are 50¢ each this week at Skagway. I like to keep both on hand to make chili. This is perfect weather to stay inside with a big bowl of chili (Gramps likes his topped with grated cheese, which is also on sale for just $1…). I also see Campbell’s chunky soups for $1.59 each—another good “stock-up” item. Their store brand chunky soups are 9¢ less than that—so I’ll be looking for some different flavors there.

They also have a bunch of items for $1: Knorr pasta side dishes, Tony’s frozen pizza, Parkay margarine, saltine crackers, store brand facial tissues, store brand pasta, store brand oatmeal…and more! Remember to take your reuseable grocery bag to Skagway and they give you a 5¢ credit on your bill for every bag you bring in.

Super Saver is having a fish sale--$5 for shrimp, perch, mussels, tilapia, cod, and oysters. Check the meat department for the sizes. Shredded or chunk cheese varieties are just 98¢ for 8 ounces. Coke 24 packs are $5.98—not the best price, but for this time of year I suppose it’s good. We prefer Coke over Pepsi at our house. Which does your family insist on? It’d be fun to take a poll! Leave me a comment!

Rotisserie chicken is just $4.98—always an easy dinner. And then I have some left over for chicken and noodles the next day!

Super saver’s online coupons (get them here) still have one for a free package of hot dogs. There is also a coupon for $2 off a large package of Charmin, and $1 off a package of Frito individual packs. They are good just until the 15th, so don’t forget!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

How to be extra generous this Christmas

Many of the homeless rely on soup kitchens, shelters, and other charities to live from day to day. The holidays are no exception. The holidays are a tough time for the homeless, especially those with children. Even more people seem to need an extra hand at the holidays. Unfortunately, many people lose their jobs at this time of year, adding to the homeless population.

Shelters, food banks, and soup kitchens need a lot of assistance to keep helping people. Donations are one way to help the homeless. Donations of food, clean clothing, new toiletries and funds can help a great deal. Most charities can give you a list of the types of donations they are in need of.

Let your children pick out some canned goods or other non-perishable food items that you can take to a local shelter or food bank. Explain to them how charity has good effects on the people that will receive the food. That maybe the recipients just lost their home for one reason or another and have no food. By your giving these food items to the food bank, this family will have food to eat this week.

This is a special and generous way to spend part of your Christmas.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Quick & Easy Broccoli Chicken Casserole

With Christmas just around the corner, you might be too busy to fix a big dinner--here's an easy solution:

Chicken Broccoli Casserole

  • 1 (or more) Ibs fresh broccoli – steamed
  • 1 can Campbell’s cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 tbs melted butter
  • 1/2 pack of crackers – crushed
  • 1 Ib boneless chicken breast tenders

 Begin breaking your broccoli into bite-sized pieces into a colander and begin steaming.

Melt tbsp of butter and mix in a bowl with crushed crackers.

Cook chicken in skillet on low heat with melted butter, garlic salt, onion salt, seasoning salt, and parsley flakes. Once chicken is browned on both sides, remove from pan and cut up into bite-sized pieces. Add can of soup and milk to the drippings remaining in the pan and mix together.

Arrange in a cooking dish: broccoli, chicken, pour on soup mixture, top with cheddar cheese, then top with cracker crumbs.

Bake at 400º for 30 minutes.


Making Cookies for Christmas?

Granny's thinking of making cookies! 

Here is an easy slice and bake recipe for sugar cookies.  Make them in shapes, or just go with the sliced cookies and have fun decorating them with the kids!

Easy Sliced Sugar Cookies


  • 1 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • Icing

Quick Tip:
To chill dough quickly, place in freezer for 30 minutes.


In large bowl, mix sugar and butter. Beat in egg and vanilla until light and fluffy. Mix in flour and baking soda. Divide dough into halves. Shape each half into roll about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Wrap and refrigerate 1 hour until chilled.

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Cut rolls into 1/4-inch slices. Place on cookie sheet and bake 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned around the edges. Cool on wire rack. Frost cookies with Icing and add sprinkles.

Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

And, as always, there are many more cookie recipes in my online cookbook.  Click here to go try them out.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Fazoli's is giving a free cookie this week....

I get the Fazoli's email newsletter: they are always sending me coupons and goodies.  Just today they sent a coupon for a free cookie (when I buy an adult meal).  Sometimes I don't use what they send, but other times I do. 

Another great Fazoli's promotion (they did it last year, too--so it must be a Christmas thing) is if you buy a $20 gift card they will give you another $5 one for free!  They are figuring you will use the $20 one as a gift and keep the $5 one for yourself.   I buy myself gifts from time to time; that $20 card could just as well be a gift to myself!  (that's what I did last year...) It's like getting 20% off whenever you have a meal there! 

Anyway, sign up for their newsletter:  there's a box marked Join our eFamily right on their home page:

(Don't you just love those warm bread sticks?)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Easy to make Bread Sticks

Soft No-Yeast Bread Sticks Recipe

Soft breadsticks are as easy to make as biscuits, and quick enough to whip up almost at the last minute. They make a nice addition to a soup, stew, or salad.

1 ¼ cups flour
2 tsp sugar
1 ½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
⅔ cup milk
3 Tbsp butter or margarine, melted
2 tsp sesame seeds (optional)

Combine dry ingredients and gradually add milk to form a soft dough.
Knead gently 3 or 4 times on a floured surface.
Roll out into a rectangle about 10″ x 5″ and cut into 12 sticks.
Put the melted butter into a large baking dish and turn the breadsticks to coat them with the butter. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, if you like.
Bake at 450°F for 14 to 18 minutes.

Serve warm.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Granny's grocery list for this week

Time to get started on those Christmas Cookies: Skagway has 4 pound bag of sugar for $1.38 and a 5 pound bag of flour for the same price. If you don’t want to make the cookies from scratch, Pillsbury refrigerated cookie dough (16 ounce pkg) is priced at $2.50. You can still say you baked them yourself!

Speaking of stocking up for Christmas, 2-liter coke products are 89¢ each. Lakeside butter is $1.69 for a pound package (not quite as good as Thanksgiving prices, but still under $2, so that’s a good buy).

Skagway’s meat department is featuring split chicken breasts for 99¢ a pound, and chicken leg quarters for 89¢ a pound. They also have Wimmer’s ring bologna for $2.99 (a 14 ounce ring is usually $4.39).

Do you make your own guacamole? HyVee has Avocados for $1 each. They also have certain varieties of apples for just 98¢ a pound. HyVee has Korean Pears this week. I’ve heard of them, but not too familiar with that variety. If you’re like me, go by on Friday (late afternoon: 4-7pm) or Saturday (10-2) for some samples.

Look at the coupons throughout the HyVee flyer: there’s store brand tuna for 39¢, Ramen noodles are 8 for $1, and 18-count large eggs for $1.88.

Hot Pockets (I just love them for Gramps’ lunch box) are $2 a package, HyVee yogurt is just 40¢ each, frozen veggies (16 ounce bag) are just 88¢, and those little handy Michelina’s snack meals are just $1 each.

It seems like the grocery stores don’t have much of what I need this week; or may-be I just have such a lot of left-overs from Thanksgiving that I’m not really into looking for more groceries. But then, I see the canned beans at Super Saver are 44¢. I like to keep them on hand for when I want to make a big pot of chili.

Super Saver has Meadow Gold gallon milk for $1.97 and their store brand mac & cheese for 3/$1, selected pasta varieties are 68¢ for a 12-16 ounce bag, Best Choice cake mix is only 58¢ (remember my page about what you can do with a cake mix?), and frozen potatoes are just $1.43 for a 2 pound bag.

Super Saver produce department has bananas for just 38¢ a pound (great price: they’re usually 60¢), avocados are also 38¢ each, and a 3 pound combo bag of apples & oranges (they put Granny Smith, Red Delicious, and Navel oranges in the bag) is just $2.22.

Super Saver doesn’t usually put coupons in their ad (they have some online coupons all the time: this week they have free hot dogs!) but they have these in their flyer: $1 off Kraft dressing, $1.50 off Kraft Mayo or Miracle Whip dressing, $1 off Oscar Mayer cold cuts, and more.

Don't forget your list and your re-useable grocery bags! 

Free Betty Crocker Calendar

Sign up for a Betty Crocker newsletter and receive your free 2010 Betty Crocker calendar. As a member you'll enjoy exclusive benefits - Get the latest in food ideas and tips, delicious dinner recipes to keep kitchen fun and intersting and 100's of Bisquick recipes for tasty dessert recipes.

Tonight: Free Movie at CCC

Free Movie (and snacks!) at our local Central Community College tonight: It's a Wonderful Life.

This is part of the college's series called  Beyond the Screen.  It is an opportunity to watch the movie and discuss the behind the scenes knowledge.

Call Judy at 308-398-7445 or Margaret at 308-398-7441 to reserve your seat!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Quick Freebie for you

Here's a link to a free memo cube.  It has the company's logo on the side, but hey--free is free!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Free Bible Study Software

Since we’re heading into the Christmas season, I thought you might like to know about this free piece of software for PC or Mac users. It’s called Bible Explorer and is a sweet study tool. It comes with over 200 free Bibles, commentaries, dictionaries, and more.The software includes the American Standard Version (ASV), New International Version (NIV), New American Standard Bible (NASB) Bundle, King James Version (KJV), and the Bible in Basic English (BBE), just to list a few.

It doesn’t matter whether you follow the Catholic, Church of Christ, Dispensational, Lutheran, Mainline, Pentecostal, Puritan, Reformed, or Wesleyan doctrine, there is study material to help you out. There are also study aids written from Jewish Christian perspectives.

Part of the broad range appeal is due to the special libraries you can add according to your needs. For example, there is a library for preachers and discipleships, etc .

Go to to get this free download.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Organizing Your Refrigerator

Organizing your refrigerator shelves can help to keep things orderly so you can find what you need and know what you have.

In addition to regular cleaning of your refrigerator (a couple of times a year) an organized fridge can prevent food mishaps and spoilage.

Know which areas of your fridge are best for specific foods: Store meats and eggs on the bottom shelves where it is colder and chance of contamination will be less. Use the door for items least likely to spoil like your condiments and juices.

Keep apples away from your veggies as they give off a gas that can make your vegetables go bad faster.

Use an onion keeper for a cut onion.

Store things like olive oil, maple syrup, and flour in the fridge after opening (flour should be put in there before opening).

Use small plastic (washable) baskets and tubs to organize like items. This works very well for condiments and small containers that would otherwise get lost. Don't overspend on these you can pick up many at the dollar store.

Label your leftovers. There are ways to deal with them but eventually one or two may have to be tossed. Know what you have and it makes it much easier to utilize them. Use a roll of masking tape and just write on there what the leftover is and what day you put it in the fridge).

Keep all of your leftovers on a particular shelf. Enough said. You can always see if this shelf is becoming overly burdened and take action.

Toss old food and check what you have in the refrigerator before making your grocery list. I shop on Thursday so I toss and make a list on Wednesday.

Have a specific section of the fridge for snack foods. That way the family knows where to look when they need a quick bite to eat.

Use the same organizing tips for your freezer. Most often a smaller space than the refrigerator we can also benefit from organizing the freezer space to make meal preparation easier.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Here’s an interesting picture of thoughtful recycling….a coat rack made of old shoes!

Serving Wine with Your Turkey?

It's 3 days until Thanksgiving! For the next few days I will be posting a quick tip to make your holiday a little easier. Here's the fifth one:

If your guests prefer their wines on the sweet side, White Zinfandel is the all-purpose favorite to go with most of your turkey feast.

If red wines are normally your favorite, Pinot Noir is the perfect red wine for holiday feasting. More robust than white wine, Pinot Noir has very little tannin and will likely blend well with the entire holiday meal. Serve it slightly chilled.

If you and your guests prefer dry white wines, dry and Chardonnay is the favorite choice with turkey depending on the particular tastes of your family and guests. Sauvignon Blanc or a White Burgundy are also good all-around choices that pair well with everything.

Finally if sparkling wines are your favorite, may we suggest another white wine that's sure to put family and guests in a holiday mood. How about your favorite champagne?

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Here's a Head Start on the Black Friday Sales!

Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving) is the busiest shopping day of the year—smart shoppers will stand in line before the store open to grab the exceptional bargains. Sometimes items are limited to whatever amount the store was able to obtain, so it is imperative to be towards the front of the line when the store opens. Stores usually open at 5 or 6 am (yikes!), so often you will see lines starting in the wee hours of the morning. (I did it once, never again!)

The ads are published in the newspaper on Thanksgiving day—my daughters will pour over the various store flyers (while their husbands watch football) Thanksgiving afternoon, and plan their strategies for shopping the next morning.

But here’s a head start for you—I found an online version of many of the Black Friday Ads! Go to where you can look through ads for Walmart, Kmart, Best Buy, Home Depot, Penney’s, Kohls, ToysRUs, Sears, and Target.

Thanksgiving Tip #4

It's 4 days until Thanksgiving! For the next few days I will be posting a quick tip to make your holiday a little easier. Here's the fourth one:

At lunch today a friend told me how to soak your turkey ahead of time in a salt & sugar brine to make it come out golden brown and taste delicious.

Make the brine with 1 1/2 gallons of water to cover the turkey in the bucket, stockpot, or whatever is large enough to hole the bird. A larger container may require more water. Just remember the ratio -- 1 cup kosher salt (and 2/3 cup sugar) per gallon of water -- and increase accordingly. Don't worry if a bit of the turkey is not submerged. Just place the turkey, breast down, in the water, and let part of the back sit above the water. Sugar is optional, but she said it helps the bird brown beautifully.

Mix salt, optional sugar and 1 1/2 gallons of cold water in a clean bucket or stockpot large enough to hold the turkey. Add turkey; refrigerate 12-15 hours. Remove turkey from brine, rinse thoroughly under cool running water and pat dry.

Roast your turkey as you normally would. Let rest 30 minutes after taking out of the oven and slicing.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Thanksgiving Tip #3

It's 5 days until Thanksgiving! For the next few days I will be posting a quick tip to make your holiday a little easier. Here's the third one:

A pretty centerpiece adds a nice touch to any table. For a frugal Thanksgiving, you can make one at very little cost with things found in nature. Mini pumpkins, squash and other fall veggies can be arranged with some nuts to make a yummy centerpiece. If you want, you could find an inexpensive cornucopia at your local craft store and put these items in it.

Fall flowers also make wonderful centerpieces. If you grow your own, simply pick some in various colors and arrange them in a vase. You’ll have a beautiful, fragrant centerpiece at no cost whatsoever.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Thanksgiving Tip #2

It's 6 days until Thanksgiving! For the next few days I will be posting a quick tip to make your holiday a little easier. Here's the second one:

Unless you have a large freezer (and have already bought a turkey) you are probably going to buy your bird this week-end. When you are buying your turkey, plan on 1 – 1 ½ pounds of turkey per person. If you are not expecting a crowd, buy turkey parts such as legs, thighs or just a breast. This will save you have having too much leftover turkey that you may not be able to use. 

Remember to slow-thaw it in the refrigerator: it takes approximately 24 hours per each 4-5 pounds of frozen turkey in a 40º refrigerator.  A thawed turkey can remain in the refrigerator for 1 or 2 days before cooking.

K-Mart special deals until Christmas

K-Mart is having a Deal of the Day until Christmas. Today (Friday November 20) they have heavy duty Christmas light sets for ½ off (your cost $4.50)! Click here each day to find out what they have on sale.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Thanksgiving Tip #1

It's one week until Thanksgiving!  For the next week I will be posting a quick tip to make your holiday a little easier.  Here's the first one:

Prepare your favorite stuffing and bake it in your crockpot while the turkey occupies the oven. You can prep this the day before and refrigerate, it is so much easier than stuffing it into the turkey, the turkey will cook faster, food poisoning risk is decreased and the stuffing doesn't absorb all the extra fat dripping from the turkey.

Laundry 101

How to Sort Laundry

The purpose of sorting clothes is to separate those items which could damage others. Sort your laundry according to the following: color, the type & amount of soil, the construction of the fabric and garment, and the texture of the fabric. All items in a load of laundry should require the same water temperature, agitation speed, wash time, and use of bleach.

Color Groupings:
Whites, pastels, and white background prints that are color fast
Colorfast colors
Non-colorfast colors of similar color

Soil Groupings:
Lightly soiled
Heavily soiled

Fabric & Garment groupings:
Moderate to sturdy

Texture groupings:
Lint producers (terry cloth, chenille, flannel)
Lint receivers (permanent pres, cotton-polyester blends, corduroy, velveteen, and synthetics)

While sorting:
Remove unwashable belts and trims
Close zippers and fasteners so that they won’t snag other garments
Tie sashes and strings to avoid tangling
Empty pockets
Brush loose dirt from pockets and cuffs.
Mend rips and tears
Treat spots and stains

For more laundry hints and tips, see my Laundry Room page.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Apple Pie Air Freshener

Try this homemade aromatic mixture to give your house a homey fresh baked apple pie scent and help get you in the mood for the holidays. It only costs a few pennies to make and beats the smell of the more expensive commercial room fresheners.

3 cups water
6 cloves
1 cinnamon stick
6 pieces dried orange peel

In a small pan, combine all the ingredients and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, until your home is filled with the spicy fragrance. Make sure to keep checking the water level!

Shopping for Thanksgiving

I guess I’d better start making my Thanksgiving grocery lists—and of course all three local grocery stores are making it very easy! May-be I should say “four” because Walmart even has a grocery flyer in the paper this morning.

Skagway has sour cream for 99¢. I’ll be getting a couple so I can make my veggie dip…The recipe is on the Veggies page of my site. They also have salted butter for $1.39. The produce department has celery for 50¢, 12-ounce packages of cranberries for $1.99, and a 10-pound bag of potatoes for $1.68. Thanksgiving just isn’t Thanksgiving without mashed potatoes! Yams are 59¢ a pound—I usually want both types of potatoes at my dinner.

If you don’t want to make your own pumpkin pie, Skagway’s bakery has them for $3.99 each. I’m glad I’ve waited to buy whipped topping—they have it for 58¢ (limit of 4 tubs). And, there’s spiral cut hams for $1.57 a pound. Often we have both a ham and a turkey—with lots of people, it gives everyone a choice.

HyVee has turkeys for 89¢ a pound. But, they also have the same coupon that was in last week’s ad: buy a ham (at $2.99 a pound) and get a free turkey! What a deal!

Speaking of coupons—HyVee has a whole page full of them this week: chocolate flavored baking chips for $1.38, marshmallows for 69¢, canned cranberry sauce for 79¢, 5 pound bag of flour for 99¢, and eggs for 99¢.

Are you making a green bean casserole this year? The HyVee brand of crispy onions (6-ounce pkg) is on sale for $2.18. And, of course they have all sorts of beans on sale: frozen Green Giant Steamers are $1 each, and canned veggies are 48¢.

Super Saver is also gearing up for Thankgiving—they have a spiral sliced ham for $1.48 a pound and instead of advertising their price on turkeys they have a big banner announcing their Turkey Insurance. This says their price on turkey will be at least 2¢ per pound under the lowest advertised price of their competitors (and it lists HyVee, Walmart, & Skagway). Just remember, this refers to the advertised price, not any in-store mark-downs; although, I doubt this will be a problem!

Again, if you don’t want to bake from scratch, Mrs. Smith’s pies are priced at $1.98, Pillsbury Crescent Rolls are $1.48 for an 8 ounce tube, and cool whip is 77¢.

Super Saver is having a 2-Day Sale—so you’ll probably see me there Saturday or Sunday. I need milk—it will be $1.77 for a gallon of Meadow Gold! Bananas will be 38¢ a pound, and Rotisserie chicken is just $3.98 (sure makes for a quick meal, with leftovers!), cloverleaf rolls for $1.88 (I bet I can freeze them and save for later), and chocolate flavored baking chips are just 98¢. Check out Chelsea’s easy chocolate chip cookie recipe on my site (it’s made with a cake mix!).

Walmart is advertising a complete Thanksgiving dinner for 8 for just $20….the fine print says it includes a 12 pound frozen turkey, three cans of vegetables, 2 pounds of sweet potatoes, two cans of cranberry sauce, one package of rolls, 2 packages of stuffing mix, and one pumpkin roll cake. So it’s not ready to eat—you still have to cook it. So that’s why it’s priced so much lower than the other stores’ turkey dinners (theirs’ are ready to eat!).

Walmart has fresh green beans for 98¢ a pound, StoveTop Stuffing twin pack is $1.50 (fine print says while supplies last….), and Green Giant canned veggies are just 50¢ each. The deli department has 25 ounce cheese & meat party trays for $7.98, but I’m not sure how big that would be…I’m sure I could make my own for much less….

Well, time to write up my list—perhaps I’ll see you while I’m out at the grocery stores. And remember to take your reuseable shopping bags!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Two Hints about Fish

A flavorful way to cook many fish is to dip the fish first in 7-Up and then roll in corn meal.  Fry to a golden brown in about 1/2 cup of oil.  The 7-Up sweetens the meat flavor while reducing the strong fish taste.  The fish shouldn't be in the 7-Up for more than a few seconds. 

To keep fish in the freezer with less risk of freezer burn, put the fish in plastic freezer bags with just enough water to cover the fish. 

Danish Butter Cookies

This recipe is from my Danish collection:

Danish Butter Cookies

  • ½ Cup Butter 
  • ½ Cup Crisco 
  • 1 egg 
  • 1 Cup Sugar 
  • 1 Cups Flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda 
  • ½ teaspoon cream of tartar 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla 

Mix all ingredients and chill. Roll into small balls and place on a cookie sheet; press with a fork. Sprinkle with sugar if desired. Bake at 375º for 8-10 minutes.


Monday, November 16, 2009

National Geographic Store has free shipping today only

National Geographic Store ~ FREE Shipping Today Only!

Use coupon code EM111509B6

Valid 11/16 only

Make Money from your own kitchen!

Tori Johnson on Good Morning America recommends this website:   Fun, smart ebook on making money from your kitchen:

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Candy Pizza

I subscribe to the Betty Crocker newsletter—it comes to my email once a week with recipes, coupons, and more. Here is a fun recipe they have for Chocolate Peanut Butter Candy Pizza. I haven’t tried it yet, but it sure looks like something that will please the grandkids! It takes just a bit over an hour to fix (prep time + cooking time).



Chocolate Peanut Butter Candy Pizza

  • 1 cup packed brown sugar  
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened  
  • 1 egg  
  • 1 1/4 cups Gold Medal® all-purpose flour  
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened baking cocoa
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt  
  • 1/4 cup Spanish peanuts  
  • 1 bag (1.63 ounces) candy-coated peanut butter candies or candy-coated chocolate candies
  • 1 package (1.6 ounces) chocolate-covered peanut butter cup candies (2 candies), cut up
  • 1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips, melted and cooled
Peanut Butter Sauce
  • 1 bag (10 ounces) peanut butter chips (1 2/3 cups)  
  • 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
1. Heat oven to 350ºF. In medium bowl, mix brown sugar, butter and egg with spoon. Stir in flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Pat dough in ungreased 12-inch disposable pizza pan.


2. Bake pizza 10 to 12 minutes or until edge is set. Cool at least 30 minutes.


3. In 2-quart saucepan, heat all Peanut Butter Sauce ingredients over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until melted and smooth. Spread over cookie pizza. Top with peanuts and candies. Drizzle with melted chocolate chips.



Go over to and sign up for their newsletter. There is also a recipe this week for spiced pumpkin cupcakes that looks yummy!



Free Thanksgiving Cookbook

If you’re a big Martha Stewart fan or if you’re cooking Thanksgiving dinner, you’ll want this free Martha Stewart Thanksgiving cookbook download.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Forever Blowing Bubbles?

Bubbles Recipe

2 1/2 quarts water
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 cup liquid dish detergent

Mix water and corn syrup together until completely blended. Gently stir in the liquid dish detergent. Store in an airtight container. Will store for several weeks. These bubbles are wonderful for playing outside on nice fall days.

Friday, November 13, 2009

How to Lose Weight Online

Fit Day is a great free program to keep track of your calories, exercise, and your goals. It's really easy to make a free account, takes only a minute, and then you enter what you have eaten for the day. It figures it all out and puts it into a pie chart for you so that you can see the breakdown by proteins, fats, carbs, and even alcohol.

You can enter your stats, like your weight, measurements, activity level, etc. into the program. There are several different categories you can enter information into and then the more you enter, the more feedback you will get on the bigger picture. It has a nutrition graph too, that shows how much of the US Recommended Daily Allowance of each vitamin or mineral you are getting from your food.

It shows you the calories eaten for the day and the calories burned. You can track that day by day and see how you are progressing. You can even keep a journal there of your thoughts, and if you want to lose weight, you can track your progress on that too. It's pretty cool entering what you ate for the day and seeing the outcome of it all! Check it out! It's fun, and you may be surprised too!

There is also a version you can upgrade to and pay for, with a free 30 day trial. So far, the free version looks great! According to their website, they have over 4 million members.

Christmas Cards for Noah

There is a 5 year old little boy named Noah Biorkmas. He has terminal cancer and the doctors have only given him 2 weeks to live. His parents decided to have his Christmas early and they asked him what he wanted. He said that all he wanted was Christmas cards. Here is his address, please take a little time to send him a card.

Noah Biorkmas
1141 Fountain View circle
South Lyon, MI 48178

Granny's Short List for Chocolate

Chocolate is one of the most popular types of foods that will likely stay at the top of most people’s favorite food lists. Chocolate is something most of us have grown up enjoying, but very few of us have taken the time to learn the many facts that are associated with Chocolate. There are actually hundreds of facts that are associated with Chocolate and I have a short list of the ones that I find most interesting.

1. It is a known fact that chocolate has caffeine in it. But did you know that you would have to eat more then a dozen chocolate bars to get the same amount of caffeine from a cup of coffee? There are about 5 to 10 mg's of caffeine in one ounce of bitter chocolate, 5 mgs in milk chocolate, and 10mgs in a six-ounce cup of cocoa.

2. Chocolate is actually a valuable energy source. A single chocolate chip can provide enough energy for an adult human to walk 150 ft.

3. Chocolate has great health benefits. It helps with depression, high blood pressure, Tumors and Pre-menstrual syndromes.

4. Chocolate does not cause or aggravate acne, this is a myth.

5. One ounce of baking chocolate or cocoa contains 10% of the daily recommended intake of iron.

6. Chocolate can be deadly for dogs. Chocolate contains an ingredient called "Theobromine" which can be toxic to a dog’s central nervous system and cardiac muscles.

7. People spend more than $7 billion dollars a year on chocolate.

8. The per capita consumption of chocolate indicates that each person consumes 12 pounds of chocolate each year.

9. Milk Chocolate is the most preferred type of chocolate; however dark chocolate is especially popular among men.

10.  Granny loves chocolate!

My previous post (just scroll down) has a great recipe for fudge....try it tonight!

Anyone for Chocolate?

Old Fashioned Fudge

• 1-1/3 cups milk or evaporated milk
• 4 cups sugar
• 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 2 tablespoons corn syrup
• 1/4 cup margarine
• 2 teaspoons vanilla

Use large sauce pan, 3 or 4-quart sized; combine the milk and sugar in the pan. Start heating the mixture over medium heat. Stir in the cocoa, salt and corn syrup. Mix very well to dissolve the cocoa. Bring the mixture to a boil and allow it to cook until it reaches the Soft Ball stage when a small amount is dropped into a bowl of cold water, or 234° on a candy thermometer. When it does, remove the pan from the heat and place it aside to cool down. Add the margarine and vanilla, but don’t stir. Remember, Don’t Stir it yet. Just let it sit by itself while you are preparing the main pan. Let it cool until the bottom of the pan is barely warm to the touch, or about 110°. This may take as long as an hour, so be patient. When the fudge has cooled down, start beating it with a spoon or whisk. Very quickly (sometimes less than a minute, sometimes a couple of minutes) it will start to loose its glossy, shiny appearance on top.

When it just begins to loose this reflective quality, immediately pour it into a pan greased with margarine. (You should grease the pan ahead of time, while the fudge is cooling in the pot.) Shake the fudge in the pan to spread it evenly. Or if that doesn’t work, try to spread it out with a spoon. Allow it to cool and harden, and then cut it into pieces. I use a 7 by 10-inch pan to set up this fudge, but a 9-inch square pan would work too.

Don’t scrape the sides of the pan while you are making this recipe. The sugar on the sides of the pan will cause the whole batch to crystallize and it will still taste good, but have a grainy texture. I really recommend a candy thermometer for candy recipes. The cold water test is a skill that takes a lot of ruined batches to develop. This recipe makes about 2-1/4 pounds of fudge.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Trade in your Christmas lights at Home Depot this week

Home Depot will take your old Christmas light, working or non-working and will give you a $3 off coupon toward new energy-efficient LED string lights. The Home Depot Christmas Light Trade-In offer is good until November15th and customers are limited to five trade-ins.

The price that I heard about for a 50- light strand was $5.97 for 50 lights, so the net cost would be $2.97 and the energy cost is 80% less than the traditional ones.

Dig out that Christmas box and take 5 strands to your local Home Depot before 11/15/09. All stores are participating in the energy efficient trade-in.

More on the Super Saver Secret

Yesterday morning I published my usual Wednesday grocery list and told you all about the big Super Saver Secret.

Well, here are some pictures to show what I was talking about:

Skagway had advertised their store brand canned vegetables for 45¢ a can…here’s the Super Saver shelf showing their price compared with the advertised competitor’s price. Super Saver priced theirs at just one cent lower.

The HyVee flyer this week advertised Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk for $1.99, so Super Saver marked theirs $1.98.

Blue Bunny Ice Cream is $2.50 at Skagway—Super Saver came down to $2.48!

HyVee’s produce department has naval oranges for 77¢ a pound—Super Saver’s tag shows 76¢ a pound.

I know, a penny is not that much difference, but when you look at your entire grocery bill, it sure adds up! Have you ever seen Super Saver’s demonstration of three grocery carts? They haven’t done it recently, but it is impressive to see: they take identical shopping lists to all three stores and then have the three carts displayed (full of groceries) along with the receipts showing how much was spent at each store.

I'll still be shopping at all three local grocery stores, but if I'm in a hurry and have time to go to just one, I'll choose Super Saver because I'm pretty sure I'll find the best prices there!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Revealed: The Super Saver Secret!

You can tell Thanksgiving is coming—a quick look through the grocery ads this morning gives me lots of ideas for the holiday meal!

HyVee starts out with the big word FREE all over the front of their flyer—if you buy a Honeysuckle ham you can get a free turkey….not a bad deal, really. Our family likes both, and with a big family dinner coming up, it’s nice to have a variety of meat to serve.

Other coupons on that page are for 99¢ sugar and coke for 4/$10. I just ran out of my favorite, Cherry Coke….looks like a good time to stock up!

The produce department at HyVee has naval oranges for 77¢ a pound. I’ve always liked those because they seem to be easier for smaller fingers to peel. They also have pears for 88¢ a pound, and green beans priced at $1.18 a pound.

Rib Eye Steak is featured in the meat department ($5.49 lb) as well as boneless chuck roast ($2.79 lb).

But, back to stocking up for that upcoming holiday dinner: HyVee brand stuffing mix is just 88¢ a box. Eagle Brand sweetened milk is $1.99 (check out our family favorite: Cherry Fluff), HyVee whipped topping (another ingredient in that Cherry Fluff), HyVee cottage cheese for $1.38 (24 ounce tub), and pre-made pie crusts are $1.77 so you can save some kitchen time!

HyVee is having a Friday the 13th one-day sale: Hamburger Helper for 88¢, Butter Kernel veggies for 49¢ a can, and select HyVee branded cereals for 99¢, and Mars candy bars are 3/$1 (time to stock up on the M&Ms!).

The first thing I noticed when looking at the new Skagway ad was the olives for just 67¢--we always go through a lot of olives at Thanksgiving dinner. They also have navel oranges for $1.99 for a 4-pound bag.

Skagway will provide you with a ready-made Thanksgiving dinner for 4 for just $49.99. That’s a good deal if you want to save time and effort. It includes a turkey, mashed potatoes (& gravy), stuffing, cranberry relish, corn, rolls, and pumpkin pie (with topping).

Blue Bunny ice cream is $2.50 for a cube, Roberts sour cream is just 89¢, and the Roberts half & half pint carton is 75¢. The Simply Orange juice is $2.99—I really need to try that: someone once told me that if I ever tried it I’d never buy any other brand. She said even though it’s a bit more expensive than other brands, it’s worth it. Anyone out there buy this brand of orange juice?

Super Saver’s ad is smaller than either Skagway’s or HyVee’s. But, here’s the big secret (unless already aware of this, many people are very surprised when I tell them this): Super Saver often prices advertised items just a penny below the other grocery stores. So, even if you see something at a better price in another grocery store’s flyer, you can expect to see it priced a penny lower at Super Saver. Just a rough guess: I bet they do this with over 90% of the advertised items if they are not already lower.

Super Saver is also promoting many Thanksgiving staples: Stove Top Stuffing is 77¢ a box, Sirloin steak (or roast) is $2.88 a pound in the larger value pack (re-wrap and put in the freezer for individual meals).

The Super Saver produce department has 5 pound bags of Russet potatoes for only 88¢, Texas red grapefruit for 28¢ each, selected varieties of lettuce are 77¢ each, and pears are 66¢ a pound.

Don’t forget your furry family members: Purina Dog Chow is $8.97 for an 18 or 20 pound bag!

I think I’ll be slipping on over to Super Saver early this morning to check out my special “Secret.” (Check back for details tomorrow!)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Looking for a non-shedding family dog!

I have 3 dogs. One sheds a lot twice a year, and the other two do not shed at all. (All dogs shed, it’s just not very noticeable in some of them.) My shedder is a Great Pyrenees…twice a year I have long white hair all over the house. I brush her constantly then to remove any loose hair, but it still gets everywhere. I vacuum more often then and we make sure to use a lint roller before going out in public!

The other two are smaller—a Shih-tzu and a Maltese. They don’t shed, but they do need to be trimmed about 3 or 4 times a year by the groomer.

If you are looking for a non-shedding dog, you might be interested in this list I found. It is just a basic list of recognizable dogs—there are many more non-shedding breeds of dogs.

Short List of Non-Shedding Dogs

• Airedale Terrier
• American Water Spaniel
• Australian Terrier
• Basenji
• Border Terrier
• Bichon Frise
• Bichon/Yorkie
• Black Russian Terrier
• Chinese Crested
• Cairn Terrier
• Cockapoo
• Chinese Shar-Pei
• Deerhound
• Doodleman Pinscher
• Toy Fox Terrier Dogs
• Dachshund (moderate shedders)
• Giant Schnauzer
• Greyhound dogs
• Irish Water Spaniel
• Maltese
• Manchester Terrier
• Mexican Hairless (Miniature)
• Miniature Poodle
• Miniature Schnauzer
• Papillon
• Poodle
• Portuguese Water Dog
• Pomeranian
• Schnoodle
• Scottish Terrier (Scottie)
• Shih-Tzu
• Silky Terrier
• Schnoodle
• Toy Poodle
• West Highland White Terrier
• Whippet
• Wirehaired Fox Terrier
• Welsh Terrier
• Yorkshire Terrier

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Banana Muffins

I’ve got few bananas that are starting to get overripe, so I got out my easy banana muffin recipe:

Banana Muffins

• 2 cups flour
• 2 tsp baking powder
• 1/2 tsp salt
• 1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
• 3/4 cup sugar
• 2 eggs
• 3 overripe bananas, mashed
• 1 tsp vanilla extract

Mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt and set aside.

In your mixer, mix together the butter and sugar, then add the eggs and mix well. Cream everything together 2-3 minutes. Add the eggs, bananas, and vanilla and beat until smooth. Stir in the flour mixture.

Spoon the batter into muffin cups and bake about 25 minutes, until done in the center.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Snickerdoodle Muffins

I love Snickerdoodle cookies!  But, here's a recipe for Snickerdoodle muffins:

Snickerdoodle Muffins

2 sticks unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
3/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp cream of tarter
3/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 1/4 cup sour cream
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar and 1 TBSP cinnamon mixed together for rolling

1. Cream the butter and sugar until soft about 3 to 5 minutes. Add in the vanilla. Add in the eggs one at a time and mix until each is incorporated.

2. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and cream of tarter.

3. Add the flour mixture and the sour cream alternately to the egg-butter mixture in the additions. Start with the flour and end with the flour. Scrape the bowl occasionally.

4. Using an ice cream scoop, scoop out muffin batter one at a time and drop into a shallow bowl filled with the cinnamon sugar mixture. Roll the muffin around in the mixture until it is covered completely in cinnamon sugar. Place muffin into muffin tin. Depending on the size of your tins, you should get about 12 to 14 muffins. Bake them for approx. 20-22 minutes in a 350° oven or until golden brown.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Homemade Sports Drink

This is an easy to make alternative to some of the name brand sports drinks. If you are exercising for more than 30 minutes you may benefit from a fluid-replacement sports drink.

• 1 can orange juice
• 2 tablespoons lemon juice
• 1 tablespoon lime juice
• 3/4 teaspoon salt (Optional: use for heavy or long workouts)
• water

Mix the ingredients with enough water to equal 1 gallon. Store in the fridge. If this solution is too sweet, add extra water to the solution. The salt in this drink will give the electrolytes you need for a long work out.

An even easier recipe: 1 cup of orange juice, 1 cup of water and a pinch of salt.

General Tips: Drink 1 to 2 cups of fluid 30 minutes before you exercise and 1/2 to 1 cup of fluid every 15 minutes of exercise.

Money Saving Tip: For mild workouts or short workouts water will provide sufficient hydration and save you money. Having said that, a better tasting beverage may encourage you to drink more liquids which is important when working out for any duration.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Granny forgot her coupons last week....

When I opened the paper today I thought I’d missed a few days and it was getting close to Christmas…there were nine extra advertising inserts in addition to the regular three grocery ads! And HyVee put in two instead of just one….

Once again HyVee is having a one-day-only sale on Thursday (tomorrow). There’s some good prices: Pepsi cubes for $4.99, Roberts milk (½ gallon for 98¢), Totino’s Pizza for $1, Wimmer’s Little Smokies for $1.77, and Tide 100 ounce bottle for $9.99 (no rain checks on the Tide, though).

Once inside the regular HyVee ad I notice they are also having a 3-day sale on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday (how can they do this to me? I’m getting old and I confuse easily…) with butter for $1.38, 2 liter Pepsi for 88¢, $3.99 for a pack of four CFL lightbulbs (that’s those curly ones that last forever and are good for the environment and your electric bill), and rotisserie chicken for $3.99.

Once I got into the real ad for this week, I see the meat department has Bone-In Pork shoulder roast for 99¢ a pound. Did you see my tip last week on twitter about cooking a pork roast in a small bit of apple juice? A reader wrote back saying that she uses applesauce with hers—interesting concept! Either way, you’ll get a sweeter taste to your roast. (And if you want to use applesauce, they have Musselman’s 24 ounce jar for just $1.48.)

HyVee has some good prices on store brand items: cooking spray for $1.38, hot cocoa packets for 88¢ a box, pancake syrup for $1.58, bagged flavored croutons for $1, pretzels (10-15 ounce bag) for $1. Maybe I’ll make up some candy-coated pretzels for Thanksgiving…that’s something I can do ahead of time—I’ll just have to hide them from any visiting grandkids! I can hide them away in the HyVee slider storage (or Freezer Bags) that are priced at just $1.50 this week.

Wimmer’s Little Smokies are $2.50 (but remember you can get them for $1.77 on the Thursday-only sale), and olives (black or green) are on special for 99¢ a can—that’s another thing to buy ahead of time for Thanksgiving. When the kids were little they would always put an olive on the end of each of their fingers before eating them, and now the grandkids do the same! I suppose that makes it a family tradition….

Skagway also has a 3-day sale: ground chuck in 10-pound tubes for $13.80 (that might sound like a lot, but if you figure it out, it’s only $1.38 a pound), and a 20-ounce chub of Summer Sausage for $3.69. (That’s another thing to buy ahead of time when the price is good—I’m thinking of a meat & cheese tray for Thanksgiving).

Speaking of Thanksgiving, Skagway has a complete traditional Thanksgiving meal (in a box, ready to go) for your family for $49.99. They will even carve the turkey for you for an extra $25 (no thanks, I think I can do that myself…)

Back to groceries: Hunt’s snack pack puddings & gels are 78¢ (I know, I can make them myself for cheaper, but these are so easy to plop into a lunch box!), a 3-envelope strip of Fleishman’s yeast is $1.19 (don’t you just love the smell of fresh baked bread?), WestPac frozen veggies are just 99¢, and Coke 12-packs are priced at 3/$11.

These special short sales must be the regular thing now: Super Saver has a 2-day sale this week, too! Kraft chunk cheese is 98¢, Farmland Bacon and sausage is $1.98, and 2-liter Coke products for 95¢.

Super Saver is having a fall baking sale with their store branded items: 18-count eggs for $1.33, 4-pound bag of sugar for $1.37, 5 pound bag of flour for $1.14, and brown sugar (2 pound bag) for 98¢.

The produce department has navel oranges for 66¢ a pound, broccoli is $1.17 a bunch, and cauliflower is $1.34 each.

Need milk? One gallon of Meadow Gold is only $1.77! Hunt’s snack pack puddings are 83¢ (which is not as good as Skagway’s price, but I bet they lower it to match them!), Charmin Basic 12-roll packages is $4.98, and Best Choice whipped topping (another stock-up item since it freezes well) is just 68¢ for an 8-ounce tub. Meadow Gold Butter is $1.38 (another item that can go in the freezer).

Don’t forget to check out the Super Saver online-only coupons. They have new ones out now: $1 off rotisserie chicken and Fritos variety pack (those little bags you can put in the kid’s lunches). They also have a coupon for a 12-ounce bag of Super Saver potato chips for only 98¢ (that’s less than ½ price!). Just don’t forget to use the coupons! Last week I went there with my coupon for a free package of meat sticks…and when I was checking out I forgot to give it to the clerk! The Super Saver check-out clerks are always so friendly that we got to chatting and I forgot the coupon in my wallet. Oh well, it made for a good reminder….

You know, there's a good way to remember your coupons:  write your grocery list on the outside of an envelope, and put all the coupons you'll be using inside of it!  I used to do that, but I think I was more organized when I had lots of kids at home....these days I just scribble a list on a small piece of paper and stuff it into my jeans pocket!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

3 Salad Dressings to Make at Home

This is my favorite French Dressing recipe—made with a can of tomato soup. We have used this recipe for many years as the kids were growing up.

Quick & Easy French Dressing

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 can tomato soup


  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp dry mustard and/or celery seed

Mix all ingredients in a quart jar. Shake well (Start with ½ cup vinegar, add more to taste.)

For those who enjoy a great Italian salad, here is a yummy dressing:

Creamy Italian Dressing

  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons shredded fresh Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon crushed dried basil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper, coarsely ground

Mix all ingredients and chill before serving. Makes one cup.



And, everyone’s favorite seems to be Ranch dressing. Instead of buying those packets of Ranch Dressing mix at the store, try making your own:

Simple Ranch Dressing Mix


  • 17 Saltines, finely crushed
  • 2 cups parsley flakes
  • 1/2 cup Onion Flakes
  • 2 Tbs Dried Basil
  • 6 Tbs Sea Salt
  •  5 Tbs Garlic Powder
  • 5 Tbs Onion Powder

Mix and store in an air tight container: this just about fills a one quart canning jar.


 To make Ranch Dressing:

  • 1 Tablespoon Ranch Dressing Mix
  • 1 cup mayo
  • 1 cup buttermilk

At least one hour before serving, mix the three ingredients. Cover and refrigerate. The flavors take a bit of time to mingle. If you taste the dressing before it has had time to chill, it’s going to taste like tangy mayonnaise. Be patient and the true flavor will come out!


Monday, November 2, 2009

Freebies for Monday!

Attention all crafters. Don't you just love crafting during the holidays? You get to do some projects for yourself as well as some for friends and family. Want an ebook with 25 holiday crafts? Find out where you can pick it up here.

Many of us are concerned about the amount of sugar we consume. This is especially true if children are involved. Here is a cool little recipe book from a celebrity chef that will help you keep the sugar crash and burn to a minimum.

And on the same note, whether you are a raisin fan, want the kids to eat more nutritious snacks, or plan on doing some holiday baking, here's a little recipe book from Sunmaid to help you out.
Since the new year will be here soon, (Who groaned?) I've been thinking about calendars and found a cute cartoon calendar for you to check out. They say there is a limited supply, so get on over to send for your's!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Pizza with Friends

Years ago we would have friends over for pizza. We’d make our own with everyone bringing various ingredients. It always made for a good time!


Basic Pizza Dough

makes 1 recipe pizza dough, prep 10 min, rise time 1 hour

• 1 pkg active dry yeast (or 2 1/4 tsp loose yeast)
• 1 cup warm water
• 1 tbsp olive oil
• 1 tsp salt
• 2 3/4 cup flour

1. Combine yeast and warm water, stir to dissolve.

2. Add oil, salt, and flour. Stir to combine.

3. Once dough starts to come together, turn out onto a floured counter and knead to thoroughly combine-until dough is smooth and elastic. If it is uncooperative let it rest for a few minutes and come back to it.

4. Place dough ball in a greased bowl and cover loosely. Allow dough to rise until doubled, approximately an hour.


Saturday, October 31, 2009

Gooey Butter Cake

This is Paula Deen’s classic Gooey Butter Cake—enjoy!


  • 1 standard package yellow cake mix
  • 1 egg
  • 8 tablespoons butter, melted


  • 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 8 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 16-ounce box powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Combine the cake mix, egg, and butter and mix well with an electric mixer. Pat the mixture into the bottom of a lightly greased 13 by 9-inch baking pan.

Prepare Filling: In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the eggs, vanilla, and butter and beat together.

Next, add the powdered sugar and mix well. Spread over cake batter and bake for 40 to 50 minutes. Make sure not to over bake as the center should be a little gooey.

Servings: 6 to 8 servings; Prep Time: 30 min; Cook Time: 40 min

Variations: try this with lemon cake mix or with pumpkin for the holidays.


Friday, October 30, 2009

Big Crowd for Dinner?


  • 1 med. sized hippo
  • 1 ton salt
  • Pepper to taste
  • 500 bushels potatoes
  • 1000 gals. brown gravy
  • 200 bushels carrots
  • 400 sprigs parsley
  • 2 sm. rabbits (optional)

Cut hippo meat into bite sized pieces. This will take about 2 months. Cut vegetables into cubes (another 2 months). Place meat into large pan and cover with gravy. Simmer for 4 weeks. Shovel in salt and pepper to taste. When meat is tender, add vegetables. A steam shovel is useful for this. Simmer slowly for 4 more weeks. Garnish with parsley.

Will serve 2, 700 people. If more are expected, add 2 small rabbits - this is not recommended as very few people like hare in their stew.


Laws of Parenting

Anybody who has kids will appreciate this:

1. The later you stay up, the earlier your child will wake up the next morning.

2. For a child to become clean, something else must become dirty.

3. Toys multiply to fill any space available.

4. The longer it takes you to make a meal, the less your child will like it.

5. If the shoe fits, it's expensive.

6. The surest way to get something done is to tell a child not to do it.

7. The gooier the food, the more likely it is to end up on the carpet.

8. Backing the car out of the driveway causes your child to have to go to the bathroom.

Any others from parents out there?

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Cheap Flights--Still Available

An interesting article appeared on CNN saying that you can still find cheap airline tickets and travel rates out there but you have to do a little digging and be flexible with your travel plans.

1. Fly on Tuesday and Wednesday because they are the slowest days of the week. Business people fly Sundays or Mondays and return on Fridays making those the busy days.

2. Fly during the slow times of the year. Between Labor Day and Thanksgiving is when you will find the best deals.

3. Fly to popular destinations off-season and you are more likely to save on your vacation.

4. Buy during the cheapest time of the day such as early morning as airlines will often change their prices several times a day.

5. Scout out the internet and look for package deals. Even if you don't want one take a look anyways because they can end up saving you money. The travel industry if very competitive online and I bet you can find a deal somewhere.

Along those lines, I have found a great deal right here at our local airport:

You can fly to Phoenix from Grand Island for $30 in November (or vice versa)! This is a special price for just Wednesdays and Saturdays….and of course there are a few “add-on” fees. But, still we got a round trip ticket for Gramps to visit his mom for under $100. You can’t drive it for that! (Check out the Allegiant website.)

Bring on the Vinegar!

There are so many uses for vinegar besides cooking--we all know to put a bit in the water when boiling eggs, and how a teaspoon of vinegar makes rice fluffier, but here are some other (non-food) ideas for you:

HAIR RINSE/SHINE: Vinegar removes soap buildup. Combine 3 tablespoons apple-cider vinegar and 2 cups warm water. Use on your hair after you shampoo to make it shine. After your hair is dry, the vinegar smell goes away. And it helps prevent dry scalp (restores the pH balance), too. (This is something my own mother used to do when washing my hair when I was little.)

RINSE-AID: Use as a rinse-aid in your dishwasher to prevent spots or as a fabric softener in your washing machine. This helps clean the past soap build-up in your machines, too. It can help your garbage disposal smell better or help to unclog a drain. For clogs (or just to keep the drain running well), pour 1/2 cup baking soda and then 1/2 cup vinegar down the drain. Let stand for 10 minutes, and then pour a pot of boiling water down the drain.

CLEANER: Straight vinegar will work fine to clean your windows or eyeglasses, but for even better results, mix 1 cup vinegar and 1 teaspoon liquid dish soap in a spray bottle and fill the rest of the bottle with water. This works well as a quick spray for dirty dishes, too. Try straight vinegar on your shower, shower doors or curtains, walls or counters, or add vinegar to your toilet bowl and let it stand overnight. Use some baking soda to scrub. Flush clean.

SKIN APPLICATION: Before buying over-the-counter medications, try apple-cider vinegar. It often works well as a remedy for a mild sunburn, poison ivy, warts, acne, rash, mosquito bites and athlete’s foot. Simply soak a cotton ball and apply to the affected area, or add some vinegar to your bathwater. Try it as an alternative to deodorant or to remove cooking smells from your hands. Recently on an episode of The Doctors they mentioned a quick solution for “bacne” or back acne. Use white vinegar and scrub it on your back and then rinse off. They said not to do it more than once a day. Apparently the acidity of the vinegar cleanses the skin and kills the bacteria.

For more tips on what you can do with vinegar, see my website page on Vinegar.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Wednesday Grocery Shopping

It looks like I’ll be stocking up on canned veggies at SUPER SAVER this week. Their store brand is priced at 44¢ each. When I’m in a hurry (and when am I not in a hurry?) I am always thankful to have canned vegetables to add to my dinner. I personally like to serve frozen veggies, but in a pinch, I’ll grab the canned variety.

The produce department has a 5 pound bag of red grapefruit for just under $3 and fresh asparagus for $1.48 a pound.

Hot Pockets are on sale for $1.64—would you believe I was at SUPER SAVER yesterday and picked up a couple of packages (they were $1.98 yesterday, which was still good in itself!). I’ll still stock up at that price. They won’t go bad in the freezer. Other items I’ve circled in their ad are Hunt’s spaghetti sauce for 85¢, store brand yogurt for 3/$1, Peter Pan peanut butter is $1/38 for a 16 ounce jar, and 3 types of General Mills cereals are only $1.67.

Don’t forget SUPER SAVER'S online coupons—I just printed out the one for free Wimmer’s snack sticks. You can get it here.

SKAGWAY has a two-day sale (Saturday & Sunday) with some good deals: Duncan Hines brownie mixes for 99¢, Jack’s frozen pizza is $1.67, and store brand cake mix is only 49¢. (This would be a good time to check my website for my cake mix recipes!)

SKAGWAY'S produce department has a 2# bag of baby carrots for $1.99, navel oranges for 58¢ a pound, and Granny Smith apples are 99¢ a pound.

Bone-In Pork sirloin roast is marked down to $1.29 a pound. I also circled store brand yogurt (33¢), SKAGWAY brand bread for 99¢ (put an extra loaf in the freezer), and Colgate toothpaste for 99¢.

Swiss Miss hot chocolate packets are 99¢ this week—that’s my personal favorite brand if I’m buying packets. But most often I will make a batch of my own hot chocolate mix (find it here). Another good deal at SKAGWAY is an in-ad coupon for free bread when you buy two jars of Skippy Peanut butter (sale-priced at 2/$4).

HYVEE has a 5 pound bag of locally grown potatoes priced at 99¢ and Jonagold (or Braeburn) apples are just 88¢ a pound. Store-brand powdered or brown sugar is just $1.18. Campbell’s chunky soup is a good deal at $1.25 this week, too.

There are a few good in-ad coupons to clip: Grimmway Farms baby carrots for just 69¢, Hershey’s baking chips for $1.68, $10 off when you buy any 6 General Mills cereals, $1 off 10 Dannon yogurts, and canned Butter Kernel Vegetables are 3/$1.

I also see Edy’s Ice cream (they show pumpkin-flavored in the ad) for 2.99. I’m not sure if pumpkin flavored ice cream is a good idea….my daughter on the east coast tried a pumpkin flavored DQ blizzard, and she didn’t like it. I’m the same way: the only way to use pumpkin is in baked goods like cookies, bread, and of course pie.

Don’t forget that HYVEE gives you cents-off at their gas station when you buy groceries. The discount amount varies by day and I’ve even been known to call them to ask what that day’s discount is before driving across town to shop there. One day last week they had a 15¢ discount on their gas—a good thing these days now that gas keeps going up!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Homemade Cafe Mocha Instant Mix

I almost lost my recipe! I wanted to make a new batch of Café Mocha mix and remembered that it had a 1-2-3 list of proportions, but in my morning fog, I couldn’t remember which was which…it’s pretty obvious, but I went to my computer to search.

So now that it’s published, I’ll be able to find it easier. Actually, I think I’ll just post it on the inside of my cupboard doors with all the other important stuff there. (I’ll tell you about my cupboard doors another time…)

I made this up for Gramps last week and he loves it! He even takes a bit to the office so he can make his own there. Keep the mix in a plastic container with a good lid.

Café Mocha

  • 1 cup of instant coffee 
  • 2 cups of Nestles NESQUIK® 
  • 3 cups of powdered Instant Milk

To make your cup of Café Mocha; boil your water, pour into your cup and add 3 tablespoons of the mix. If you have a big mug you will have to adjust the number to tablespoons you add to it.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Quick & Easy Chocolate-Cherry Cake

Chocolate & Cherries always go together! Here is a very easy recipe for Chocolate Cherry cake.

Just three ingredients:

  • 1 milk chocolate cake mix
  • 1 (20-oz) can cherry pie filling 
  • 3 eggs

 Start by combining all ingredients in a bowl—mix by hand.

Pour into a greased and floured 9 x 13 baking dish.

Bake at 350° for 35 to 40 minutes. (Test with a toothpick for doneness)

Free College Classes Available Online

Open Courseware is the term for study material, courses and lecturers created by top universities and shared for free on the Internet. Some of the most popular courses are offered by Academic Earth. Here is an example of just a few of their free courses:

Introduction to Psychology - Yale, Political Science - Princeton, Entrepreneurship - Stanford University, and General Chemistry- Berkeley.

Here are the links to additional open courseware web classes offered at these top universities: MIT, Stanford, Utah State, University of California at Berkeley, Notre Dame, Yale, Tufts, and the University of Massachusetts, Boston.

If you are already a college student, you might download the free courses that correspond with the classes you are taking to use as a study guide and preview future classes. Deciding on a major? Take a look at the classes you will need to take.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Granny's grocery list for this week

There are lots of good deals out there at our local grocery stores this week.  I usually sit down at the table with all the ads spread out in front of me, and circle the items I'm interested in.  That way if I don't make it out right away I can find the deals I want later on without having to check through the whole flyer!

HyVee has some “hot deals” on the front of their grocery ad—store brand Chicken Noodle (or tomato) soup for 38¢ a can. It’s always good to have a can of Chicken Noodle soup in the cupboard! There is a coupon inside for Chicken of the Sea tuna for 58¢ (limit of one with coupon).

The inside pages of are promoting their private label (HyVee) products: cereal for $1.88, tortilla chips for $1, 6-ounce container of sour cream for 66¢. They also have HyVee little smokies for $2.49 (quick & easy fixed in barbeque sauce), and pork shoulder roast for 99¢ a pound. Slice & Bake cookies are $2 for a tube. Their olives (both black & green) are $1.18—I’ll stock up for Thanksgiving (one less thing on that list!).

I think I’ll also be getting some more Hot Pockets (great to tuck into lunches!) for $2 and the 24 ounce cottage cheese that is priced at $1.38, broccoli is 99¢ each, and there’s a coupon for large eggs for 99¢.

I noticed that HyVee didn’t have any limited day sales this week! Good! I don’t like having to make separate trips to get the really good sale items. But, I’d bet that they will have another “special deal” flyer in the Saturday or Sunday paper….

Skagway does have a 3-day weekend special flyer with Campbell’s chunky soup for 99¢, ½ gallon Land o Lakes orange juice for 88¢, and bananas for 33¢ a pound—all great deals!

Other things I’ve circled in the Skagway ad are the sirloin steak ($2.99 a pound), a 4-pound bag of sugar for $1.49, Taco Bell taco shells or refried beans for 99¢, and wood roses for 10¢. This one made me laugh: New York Texas Toast croutons for 99¢.

Super Saver has a week-end sale: bottled 6-pack Coke products for $2.87, StarKist tuna for 62¢ for a 5-ounce can, 5 pound bag of carrots for $1.46, Old Orchard juice (64 ounce bottle) for $1.36, and chicken drumsticks for 96¢ a pound.

Other good deals this week at Super Saver I see: Store brand bleach for 98¢, and boxed mac & cheese for 28¢. The produce department is always one of my favorite areas: Bananas are 38¢ a pound, head lettuce is 74¢ each, celery is 67¢ a package, and a 5-pound bag of red delicious apples is only $2.84.

I went checked their online-only coupons, too: Free (with $10 purchase) Wimmers Little Meaty Snack Sticks, Iams 15-pound dog food has a $2 off coupon, $1 off cherry tomatoes, and a 16-count package of AA batteries for just $3.98. Their ad says they have a twitter account now! I love twitter, so I’m following their updates now! They are also on Facebook—see this week’s flyer for details.

Ready to go shopping?  Remember to make (and take!) you list, get the coupons that you'll need, and grab a couple of the re-useable shopping bags!