Sunday, July 29, 2018

How to Make Scones

The scone is the English cousin to a baking powder biscuit.

You can make sweet ones for breakfast or savory ones to serve with dinner.

The only limit is your imagination.

The basic sweet scone is:

2 cups flour
1 T baking powder
1/2 cup sugar, with extra to sprinkle on top
1/2 cup cold butter, cut into the flour mixture with a pastry cutter or two knives
milk, start with half cup.  You can also use yogurt if you like or sour milk.

Extras:  cinnamon, nutmeg, cinnamon chips, chocolate chips, raisins, craisins or whatever your heart desires.

For a savory scone:

 substitute a tsp. of salt for the sugar and add your favorite herbs and spices such as garlic, onion, rosemary or tarragon, or whatever you like.  Cheese is always a good addition.

When mixing either type, add just enough wet ingredient to make a dough that holds together.  Try to not over handle the dough and make it tough.

Form into a round about an inch and a half thick.  Score the top for 8-12 wedges.

Bake at 400 until golden and a cake tester comes out clean.

Serve while warm and enjoy.  Butter is good with them but not necessary.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Very Easy Frozen Yogurt

I recently made some frozen yogurt for the first time in years.  I had forgotten how easy it is, and only three ingredients.

1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen fruit
1/3 cup brown sugar, or more to taste, depending on the sweetness of the fruit
4 cups vanilla yogurt, I used homemade non-fat

Mix the sugar and fruit and heat until the sugar is dissolved and the liquid is syrupy.  I used the microwave.  Chill until COLD.

Process according to the directions that came with your ice cream maker.

If you don't have an ice cream maker, combine well and  freeze until firm in a container, stirring frequently.

We made red raspberry and it was delicious.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Old Fashioned Raisin Pie

My grandmother used to make this pie in the winter when fresh fruit was scarce.  I don't know why, but I felt the urge to make one recently.  It was just as delicious as I remembered.

Have or buy the pastry for a two crust pie.

Put two cups raisins into two cups water.  Bring to a boil and cook about five minutes until the raisins are plump.

 Mix together 1/2 cup sugar and 2 T flour.  Stir these dry ingredients into the raisin mixture.

Cook this mixture, stirring constantly, until the mixture comes to a boil.  Cook, stirring, one minute longer.

Add one quarter cup lemon juice and stir well.

Pour on top of bottom crust. 

Add top crust and cut air vents.

Bake thirty to forty minutes at 425 or until crust is browned and juice begins to bubble through the slits in the pastry. 

Can be served warm or cold.

Especially good served with vanilla ice cream or yogurt.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Easy Homemade Yogurt

No formal machine is needed to make yogurt at home.  I use a small cooler for incubating the milk, two mason jars, an instant read thermometer , a container of yogurt with ACTIVE yogurt cultures (I use plain or vanilla with the later giving a less acids taste to the batch), milk and a large bowl.

Scald the things you are using with boiling water to kill any stray bacteria.

Get the milk ready.  You might want to make a quart to start with.  I make it two quarts at a time.

You can use fresh milk, dried milk, soy milk.  Anything you have.  If I use dried milk or soy I add some extra dried milk to the mix, about a half a cup for two quarts, to give it more thickness when done because I like the consistency of Greek yogurt.

Heat the milk up to 180 degrees.  I do mine in the microwave at 50%
power because you don't want it to boil over.  I don't like scrubbing scalded milk of the bottom of saucepan.

Cool the milk to 110 degrees.  This is IMPORTANT.  If you kill the active yogurt cultures it will not work.

Add the yogurt with ACTIVE cultures to the mason jar(s) and stir.  SLOWLY add the 110 degree milk, stirring constantly.  Put the lid(s) loosely on the jar(s).

Put the jars into a small picnic cooler.  Fill the chest with warm water up to the neck of the jar.  Place the cooler in a turned off oven to help retain the warmth.
Let incubate, without disturbing it, overnight or about 12 hours.

Refrigerate for up to 2 1/2 weeks.

Use as yogurt (add jam for fruit yogurt and to impart sweetness), sour cream, to replace buttermilk, in salad dressings.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Buying and Eating: July 1-15

We started the month with an allocation of $369.00 and a cushion of $489.05 ytd and $872.64 in total.

What We Ate:  Jambalaya, fried green beans, cornbread muffins; homemade sausage, peppers and onion pizza; brats and pasta salad; scalloped potatoes and ham, cheese bread, three bean salad;  leftover smorgasbord;  deli sandwiches and pretzels;  chef salads and Italian cheese bread with raisin pie;  pasta with Serrano ham, edemame and creamy cheese sauce, watermelon, cheese bread and pie;  quinoa salad with egg salad wraps; grilled ham steak with pear jelly glaze, cauliflower with three cheese sauce, quinoa salad, watermelon; meat, bean and rice stack enchiladas with corn and watermelon;  ham and smoked turkey Stromboli with popcorn; pasta, salad and garlic bread

What We Bought:

Save A Lot:  spare ribs, hot dogs, olives, bbq sauce, peaches $ 14.41

Aldi:  onions, pretzels, colored peppers, cucumber, tomatoes, spring mix. $ 10.24

Save a Lot:  butter, cinnamon, baking powder.  (In the RV and forgot.) $ 5.18

Save a Lot:  T-bone steaks (3), peaches (3), plums (3), nectarines (3), orange mint thins. $ 16.03

Save a Lot:  Smith's bacon (12 pounds), olives. $30.04

Giant Eagle:   sea salt, yogurt ( starter to make a batch), McDonald's coffee frappe. $3.93

Total Groceries:  $49.83

Eating Out:
 Taco Bell on way to New York. $ 8.35
 Lunch in New York.  $ 12.85
Lunch going to New York. $10.15

Total Eating Out:  $31.35

Total for First Half of the Month:  $ 81.18

Remaining for the Second Half of the Month:  $288.82

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Slow Cooker Tea Cake

I wanted something special for breakfast.  But I wanted easy.  And since it's summer, I didn't want to heat up the kitchen more than necessary.  So in the afternoon I made a tea cake, literally.  It contains tea.

Mix together the following:

1 cup sugar, we found it to be over sweet so will cut the sugar next time
1 cup tea, I used orange spice but any tea would work
1 cup dried fruit such as raisins, I used dried cranberries.  Next time I'll try prunes
1 cup flour, I used whole wheat and upped the liquid some to compensate, I used orange juice but you could just use more tea to keep costs down
1 tsp baking powder

Cook for 1 1/2 hours in a container that fits into your slow cooker.  Cooking times will vary  with the type of slow cooker so add time as you need to.  Cook on high.  Put a tea towel under the lid to absorb condensation.

This is a very simple British  recipe updated to bake in the slow cooker.
I baked a treat without heating up the kitchen.  WIN!

Monday, July 9, 2018

Two More Inexpensive Vegetarian Meals

Bean and Rice Burritos:

Either cook up some beans from dry (cheaper) or drain and rinse canned beans, either pinto, kidney or black beans will work.

Mash the beans and season as you like.  I add cumin, garlic and onion powder, and chili powder.  If cooking from dry, add some salt.

Cook some white or brown rice. Feel free to cook more than you need and freeze the extra for quick future meals.

Season the rice with your favourite salsa.

Place beans and rice on a flour tortilla.

Add sour cream or Greek yogurt, chopped tomato and onion, lettuce, cheese or whatever you like.  Some more salsa is also good.

 Roll and enjoy.

Meatless Taco Soup:

Cooked or canned beans:  pinto, kidney, black or a combination.

Whole kernel corn.  Canned works well and is often cheaper.

Rotel tomatoes.

Tomato juice.

Chopped onion.

Spices such as garlic, cumin, chili powder.

Heat through slowly to blend flavors.

Crumbled corn tortilla chips on top when serving for garnish.

Some cheese is also good.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Five Ways I Saved Money in June

1.  We used points to pay for our Hotel rooms in both Amsterdam (x2) and Dresden.  As a very conservative estimate, that saved us over $300.

2.  Parking the car at a Park and Fly in Toronto that was running a special:  pay for a week, park for a month.  That saved us about $375.

3.  Shopping at local grocery stores in Dresden, Prague, Budapest and Amsterdam for most of our meals rather than paying restaurant prices.

4.  Drinking the free coffee on the boat rather than paying €4 for a cola.

5.  Downloading only the free books on Amazon.

An Extra:  We saved $48 in speciality food for our cat Max because we were willing to take food three days beyond its best by date.  It pays to use the same vet for 30 years.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Buying and Eating: End of June and Half Way Through the Year

I allotted $61.55for the last five days of the month  plus we have a cushion of $455.78 YTD and $839.37 in total.

What We Ate:
Grilled steak, rice, corn, strawberry shortcake (all from freezer);  black bean casserole, Mac and cheese with salsa,  lima beans and strawberry shortcake;  pasta with meat sauce (using meatloaf from freezer), garlic cheese bread, three bean salad, fruit salad and cookies;  Italian beef stir-fry and cranberry apple muffins;  homemade pizza with three cheeses,sausage, onion and peppers

Eating Out:
Aunt Millie's on trip home from Toronto  $14.22
Lunch with Bill and Ginger. $14.06
Total:  28.28

We were able to eat from the freezer and the cupboard so our only cost were two meals out for a total of $28.28.  That leaves $ 33.27 to add to the cushion.  So, our YTD  cushion is now $489.05 and our total cushion is now $ 872.64.

We are 181 days into the year and in total for groceries and meals out we have spent $ 1739.06.  That averages out to $9.66/day and $ 4.83/person/day.

So far this year we have spent $ 207.41 eating out or $1.15/day.
For groceries we have spent $ 8.51/ day or $ 4.25 /person/day.