Friday Finds

While browsing through blogs this week, I found these wonderful recipes.  I would like to try each and every one, but not sure my wasteline will be able to bear it.  What are your Friday finds? 

Smores Pie

The Pastry Affair

lemon pull aparts


Herbed Chicken--On the Grill

Picture from Food.com
This recipe is what we are having for dinner tonight.  I am using herbs I have grown in my garden and also using green beans from the garden.  I bought the chicken when it was $0.88/lb a very economical menu for this evening.
4 bone in chicken breasts

1/2 cup butter melted

rosemary, basil, and oregano chopped

1 clove garlic minced

melt butter, add garlic and herbs.  Place chicken on grill with medium heat.  While cooking baste with butter mixture at each turn of chicken.  Until chicken is fully cooked.

What's for dinner at your house?

Product review Lucky Charms Treats

I am a member of Psst from General Mills.  Every so often I am asked to review a product and let others know what I think.  They sent me a full size box of lucky charms treats last week.  Just perfect for the back to school time that it is.

My children just loved these.  They are perfect for an afterschool treat.  I would send these in a luchbox also.  I am not a person to buy many items that are premade, but I would definitely buy these for the occasional snack.  Even my pickiest child loved these. 

If you would like to try these treats, leave a comment.  I have 10 coupons for $1.10 off two boxes.  I will giveaway all 10 if I have enough response. 

Menu Plan Monday 8/22

This week is another week to ease us into the back to school routine.  We completed our first full week last week.  It seemed to fly by.  I was glad I had dinner plans because otherwise I am not sure we would have eaten.

Here is the meal plan for this week.  I am trying to not grocery shop this week.

Monday:  Grilled pork chops, veggie, and fruit.

Tuesday:  Chicken Casserole with cornmeal topping

Wednesday:  Mixed Pepper salad with grilled herb chicken

Thursday:  Manwiches

Friday:  Beef enchiladas, salad

Saturday:  Leftovers

This post is being linked with menu plan monday at orgjunkie.com

Garlic Pull Apart Bread

This weekend has given me hope.  I have made another wonderful bread recipe.  This weekend I made spaghetti and meatballs all homemade, and I felt that homemade garlic bread was needed to go along with it.  I was looking through my collection of cookbooks and stumbled upon a garlic pull apart bread recipe.  I researched many recipes and found most used frozen bread dough.  I was not particularly happy about the thought of buying bread dough. 

I was not particularly happy about buying bread dough, because I have been put on a no spend plan for at least this week.  I am only able to buy the necessities I need.  My paycheck was drastically cut and was about 1/4 of normal due to increased daycare costs of having both of my children in daycare for the summer.  So, as this news seeped into my head, I chose to have a homemade week.  I am going to make all my meals from scratch this week.  I strive to make all my food homemade, but typically I use some convenience products as needed. 

I am now on a mission to not spend more than $20.00 at the store this week.  Out of necessity.  I have a pretty well stocked freezer and pantry.  I know I have enough food to last me at least a month if not more.  I am going to see how resourceful I can be for the next week.  Hopefully, this will be a habit I will continue into the fall and winter.  I figure if I can save money for a week, I definitely will make it pay off and try to do if for at least a month. 

Anyone want to join me?

Here are my recipes for my bread I tried and the pull apart recipe.

Homemade Sandwich Bread
Adapted From the King Arthur Bakers Companion

2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast;

1 cup lukewarm water

3 cups All Purpose Flour

1 1/4 teaspoons salt

3 tablespoons sugar

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

1/4 cup Baker's Special Dry Milk or nonfat dry milk

1/4 cup instant mashed potato flakes

*Use the lesser amount in summer (or in a humid environment), the greater amount in winter (or in a dry climate), and somewhere in between the rest of the year, or if your house is climate controlled.

1) If you're using active dry yeast, dissolve it with a pinch of sugar in 2 tablespoons of the lukewarm water. Let the yeast and water sit at room temperature for 15 minutes, until the mixture has bubbled and expanded. If you're using instant yeast, you can skip this step.

2) Combine the dissolved yeast (or instant yeast) with the remainder of the ingredients. Mix and knead everything together—by hand, mixer or bread machine set on the dough cycle—till you've made a smooth dough. If you're kneading in a stand mixer, it should take about 7 minutes at second speed, and the dough should barely clean the sides of the bowl, perhaps sticking a bit at the bottom. In a bread machine (or by hand), it should form a smooth ball.

3) Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl. Cover the bowl, and allow the dough to rise, at room temperature, for 1 to 2 hours, or until it's nearly doubled in bulk. Rising may take longer, especially if you've kneaded by hand. Give it enough time to become quite puffy.

4) Gently deflate the dough, and shape it into an 8" log.

5) Transfer the log, smooth side up, to a lightly greased 8 1/2" x 4 1/2" loaf pan. Tent the pan loosely with lightly greased plastic wrap.

6) Allow the bread to rise till it's crested about 1 1/4" over the rim of the pan, about 1 hour. Again, it may rise more slowly for you; let it rise till it's 1 1/4" over the rim of the pan, even if that takes longer than an hour. While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 350°F.

7) Bake the bread for 15 minutes. Tent it lightly with aluminum foil, and bake for an additional 20 to 25 minutes, till the crust is golden brown, and the interior temperature measures 190°F on an instant-read thermometer.

8) Remove the bread from the oven, and gently loosen the edges with a heatproof spatula or table knife. Turn it out of the pan, and brush the top surface with butter, if desired; this will give it a soft, satiny crust. Allow the bread to cool completely before slicing. As soon as it's completely cool, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap; or in a plastic bag, air pressed and fastened securely at the top.

Garlic Pull Apart Rolls

1 recipe homemeade white bread after first rise

1/4 cup butter melted

1 clove garlic minced

2 tablespoons parsley

  1. Grease a bundt pan and preaheat oven to 350 degrees. 
  2.  Melt butter.  Add garlic and parsley. 
  3. Cut bread into 32 small pieces.  Roll each piece into a ball.  Dip each piece into the butter mixture.
  4. Place each piece into a bundt pan layerying as you go.  Depending upon how large your pan is will determine how many layers you will have.  I had about 2 layers in my pan. 
  5. Let rise until bread has reached top of the pan.  About 1 hour. 
  6. Bake for 30 mins.  Serve warm. 


Fresh Tomato Sauce

Slow Cooker Tomato Sauce Recipe

Today I made tomato sauce from all the fresh tomatoes I had coming off my vines.  I had an overabundance of cherry, grape, and roma tomatoes.  I chopped them all up and added them into a crockpot.  It filled up over half.  I added a can of tomato sauce, and 2 cloves of garlic.  I also added a chopped onion.  I then set it on low and let it cook away all day.  I made some meatballs later in the afternoon and added them into the crock.  This was the best dinner I have had in a while.  The best part is there are leftovers for tonights dinner. 

Hope you are having a great weekend.  Sometimes the best dinners are the super easy.


Frugal Cooking Tips and a Challenge

In the times we live in, do we need to sacrifice our health for our dollar?  Do we need to eat just rice and beans?  Here are some ideas I use to help save our money for other things. 

This next month I am going to be doing a freezer/garden/pantry challenge to help me save money.  The summer and increased daycare bills for two of my children instead of just one and the back to school fees are all taking its toll on my finances.  I am trying to spend no money, but it seems as if I am spending more.  Join me as I share tips and recipes I am using to save money. 

I just rarely cook any pasta, casseroles, sauces, ect. Our meals are meat & sides. to help with cost I watch meat sales very closely & buy the least processed meats. In other words whole chickens, roasts, raw fish, ect rather than bagged chicken pieces, pork chops, ect then I cut my meat myself - or have the butcher do it for free if your store has one.

I stretch meat with vegetables. Serve small portions of meat with large portions of salads, fruit, raw or cooked vegetables. I do serve one carb at most meals but serve small portions. Breads, potatoes, corn, pasta, beans, rice, ect only one of these kinds of things are served with a meal. I can never understand why I see corn & mashed potatoes as the two sides with a meat when they both are very high carb & starch? I never serve them together & in fact they are both rare foods at our house.

I've found that if I set a limit on my budget, buy the healthy foods first & stop shopping when I reach my spending limit that I really can stay within my budget & I end up not buying the processed junk foods so much. Think about what you spend the most on & look for cheaper, healthier choices. Here are some examples - I've already done meat, the most expensive.

cereals - buy old fashioned oats instead of boxed cereals or country breakfasts - save the country breakfast for holidays

drinks - drop sodas, sports drinks, flavored milks or coffees & save them for holidays or special days - instead drink water, make your own iced tea, serve one small glass of juice a day. Milk is the only expensive drink I don't cut back on with my family.

snacks - I've found that with counting calories & watching serving sizes I don't have room in my calorie budget for snacks most of the time. It saves me money! When I do snack it's usually yogurt, fruit, cheese, nuts, pretzels, vanilla wafers, ect & a very small serving of whatever I'm snacking on with a glass of ice water or iced tea.

Weekend To Do List

I have a rare three day weekend, and I am planning on getting my house whipped into shape.  I plan to take time for myself a little this weekend also.  This past week was very busy in my house.  I finished up my last week of my summer semester, and my daughter started her first week back to school. 

After a whole summer of fun and deadlines for my classes, my house has been overlooked.  So, this weekend is house shape up weekend.  I am going to find all the projects that need to be done and do them. 

Saturday:  1. laundry
                 2. vacuum
                 3. clean blinds
                 4. mop kitchen floor

Sunday:  1. work on sewing projects
               2. clean bathrooms
Monday:  Look around house and find some items to donate or place into a garage sale on Friday.


Friday Favorites

I have fallen in love with pinterest.  It is a great online community for sharing favorite pictures and blog posts.  I would love to have you join me.  Here are my friday favorites that I am featuring this week. I hope to try these recipes soon. 

Pumpking Cheesecake

Candy Corn Cheesecake

Photo of a pin
Birthday Cake Fudge

Share your favorite Friday Finds here by leaving a comment.

Contest Alert

I am offering a new contest. Like Frugal Cooking Corner on our facebook page and when I get to 100 followers I will be giving away a $10.00 gift card to Starbucks or Caribou Coffee.  This will be a great treat. 

Once I get to 100 facebook fans, I will post the rules for the giveaway. 


Crockpot Gingered Beef Sandwiches

Well, my week has gotten away from me. I forgot to take a roast out of the freezer to put into my crockpot the other day, so I changed up my menu a bit. Actually, I just moved hamburgers into Wednesday's dinner, and I am going to have crockpot beef tonight. This week has been a little bit hectic getting back into the routine of school for my children again. Here is my recipe for crockpot beef sandwiches.

Crockpot Beef Sandwiches

2 pounds boneless beef chuck roast
1 onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 large celery rib, thinly sliced crosswise
3 tablespoons minced fresh ginger root
2 tablespoons soy sauce, or to taste

1. add all to crockpot and cook on low for 6 hours until meat shreds. Serve on rice or on hoagie buns.


First Day of School

Today was the first day of school. What a great day it was. After I dropped off my daughter, my son wanted a mommy/son day. We went to the park this morning before it became too hot. Then we came home and had lunch. We had simple sandwiches and apple slices. After lunch we decided to make a snack for sissy when she came home. Here is what we came up with.

Chocolate Surprise Cookies

•2-1/2 cups flour
•1 tsp. baking soda
•1/4 tsp. salt
•3/4 cup sugar
•3/4 cup brown sugar
•1 cup butter, softened
•2 eggs
•1 tsp. vanilla
•3-4 pkgs. chocolate mint wafers (I use Andes candies)

In large bowl, combine all ingredients except mint wafers, and beat at low speed until dough forms. Chill dough at least 2 hours.
Shape a scant tablespoon of dough around each chocolate mint, making sure to cover the candy completely. Roll the ball between your hands to make it smooth and place on on ungreased cookie sheets at least 3" apart.

Bake at 375 degrees for 9 to 12 minutes, until light golden brown. Remove from cookie sheet immediately.

To freeze, divide dough into two teaspoon portions and freeze on a cookie sheet. Package into freezer containers, label, seal, and freeze up to 3 months. To use, let dough stand overnight in the refrigerator. Wrap dough around the mint candy and bake as directed.


Menu Plan Monday 8/15


Today is the first day of school for my children...This means back to reality for me.  Here come the nights of going to church and dance practice.  Many nights my running kids around doesn't stop until well after 7:00 pm.  This is after working a full day.  So how do I keep my sanity?  I plan my meals for the week.  I also will plan leftover nights on evenings that are very busy.  I also use my crock pot for the  nights I really don't have the time to cook. 

So here is my back to school menu!! 

For even more recipes look to OrgJunkie Menu Plan Monday's

Stay tuned for recipes for Chinese Chicken and Crockpot Gingered Beef later this week!

Monday: Nachos

Tuesday:  Restaurant Style Chinese Chicken
Wednesday:  Crockpot Gingered Beef
Thursday:  Leftovers--Beef Sandwiches with coleslaw

Friday:  Hamburgers and Corn

Saturday:  Shrimp pasta

Sunday:  Lemon Chicken and roasted new potatoes with green beans

Roasted Onion Foccacia Bread

I needed a recipe for bread to accompany my roasted tomato pasta I made last night.  Since I am the queen of homemade, I chose to make my own foccacia bread.  This recipe turned out so wonderful.  I am not the best bread baker, so I was a bit nervous about making this bread.  My family thought this bread was something that could be served at a restaurant.  If you think you can not make bread, I encourage you to try this bread.  Next time I am even going to add roasted sliced tomato to the topping. 

Roasted Onion Foccacia Bread

Adapted from original recipe by Tyler Florence


 2 teaspoons rapid-rising dry yeast

1 cup warm water

2 tablespoons sugar

3 1/2 to 4 cups flour

1 tablespoon coarse salt

 1/4 cup olive oil


 2 tablespoons olive oil

1 red onion, sliced
 2 garlic cloves, minced

 10 Kalamata olives, pitted and quartered

 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan

 1 tablespoon coarse salt

Freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons fresh rosemary


In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a dough hook, proof the yeast by combining it with the warm water and sugar. Stir gently to dissolve. Let stand 3 minutes until foam appears. Turn mixer on low and slowly add the flour to the bowl. Dissolve salt in 2 tablespoons of water and add it to the mixture. Pour in 1/4 cup olive oil. When the dough starts to come together, increase the speed to medium. Stop the machine periodically to scrape the dough off the hook. Mix until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes, adding flour as necessary.

Turn the dough out onto a work surface and fold over itself a few times. Form the dough into a round and place in an oiled bowl, turn to coat the entire ball with oil so it doesn't form a skin. Cover with plastic wrap or damp towel and let rise over a gas pilot light on the stovetop or other warm place until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.

Coat a sheet pan with a little olive oil and corn meal. Once the dough is doubled and domed, turn it out onto the counter. Roll and stretch the dough out to an oblong shape about 1/2-inch thick. Lay the flattened dough on the pan and cover with plastic wrap. Let rest for 15 minutes.

In the meantime, coat a small saute pan with olive oil, add the onion, and cook over low heat for 15 minutes until the onions caramelize. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Uncover the dough and dimple with your fingertips. Brush the surface with more olive oil and then add caramelized onions, garlic, olives, cheese, salt, pepper, and rosemary. Bake on the bottom rack for 15 to 20 minutes.

Roasted Tomato Pasta

Sunday Blog Hop Shibley Smiles

My cherry tomatoes were turning red and then a few days later I had so many I didn't know what to do with.  I looked around and found a recipe I modified to use ingredients I had on hand.  My family exclaimed this was one of the best dinners we had in a while.  We ate outside on a cool summer day and I felt like I had escaped reality and transported myself to Italy. 

Pasta with Baked Tomato Sauce

Adapted from The Best American Recipes 2000 via Epicurious.com

Serves 4

1 lb. shrimp or chicken

3 to 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 pound very ripe cherry tomatoes, halved

1/3 cup plain dry bread crumbs

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

2 tablespoons freshly grated romano cheese

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1 pound linguine

1/4 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves, torn

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Grease a 13-by-9-inch baking dish with 2 to 3 tablespoons of the oil.

Place the tomatoes cut side up in the dish.

In a small bowl, combine the bread crumbs, cheeses, and garlic and toss with a fork to mix well. Sprinkle the bread-crumb mixture over the tomatoes, making sure that each cut side is well covered with the crumb mixture. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and then the final tablespoon of olive oil. Bake until the tomatoes are cooked through and starting to brown on top, about 20 minutes.

Cook shrimp for about 5 mins in a small saute pan.  Add garlic and a couple teaspoons olive oil. 

Combine tomatoes and shrimp in a large bowl.

Cook linguine as directed on package for al dente.  Drain pasta and add to tomaotes and shrimp.  Mix together and enjoy.


Foodie Friday


I am definitely a day late writing this post. I am not sure where this week has gone.  I feel like I blinked and it passed me by.  I am featuring a great new cookie recipe I tried this past week.  It is from the food network.  I absolutely loved this recipe.  I made a few changes which are highlighted in red. 

Dried Cherry and Almond Cookies with Vanilla Icing

Recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis



• 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

• 1/2 cup, plus 2 tablespoons sugar

• 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

• 1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract

• 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

• 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

• 1 large egg

• 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

• 3/4 cup coarsely chopped dried tart cherries (see Cook's Note)

• 1/2 cup slivered, blanched almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped (see Cook's Note)


• 2 3/4 cups powdered sugar, sifted

• 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

• 3 tablespoons water, plus extra, as needed

1/2 tsp. almond extract

1/4 cup chopped almonds for sprinkling on top of the cookies


For the Cookies:

In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, beat the butter, sugar, vanilla extract, almond extract, cinnamon, and salt until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes, then beat in the egg. Add the flour and beat on the lowest speed until just blended. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the dried cherries and almonds.

Transfer the dough to a sheet of plastic wrap and shape it into a log, about 12-inches long and 1 1/2-inches in diameter. Wrap the dough in the plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. (Dough can be made up to 3 days in advance).

Arrange an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 heavy baking sheets with parchment paper.

Cut the log crosswise into 1/2-inch thick slices. Transfer the dough slices to the prepared baking sheets, spacing them about 1-inch apart. Bake until the cookies are golden around the edges and puffed, about 15 minutes. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely before icing, about 30 minutes.

For the Icing:

Put the powdered sugar in a medium bowl. Gradually whisk in the vanilla extract and water, adding more water, 1 teaspoon at a time, until the mixture becomes a drizzling consistency. (Makes about 2/3 cups icing, enough to ice both variations.)

Put the cooled cookies on a wire rack set over a baking sheet. Using a spoon or a fork, drizzle the cookies with the icing, allowing any excess icing to drip onto the baking sheet. Allow the icing to set before serving, about 1 hour.

Cook's Note: To toast the almonds, arrange them in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake in a preheated 350 degree F oven for 6 to 8 minutes until lightly toasted. Cool completely before using.

Cook's Note Alternative:

Replace the dried cherries with 1/2 cup coarsely chopped dried apricots and add 2 tablespoons of toasted pine nuts. Also, use 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and omit the almond extract.

© 2009 Scripps Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved

Weekend Plans

I am joining in the weekend planning blog hop with My happy house this weekend.  In my house it is the weekend before school starts and I am starting to feel overwhelmed.  All school supplies are bought.  My children have a new outfit for the first day, but what am I forgetting?

The Snacks

1.    Ugh!!  The afterschool snacks.  My children are used to healthy home baked snacks for their afterschool treats.  Usually afterschool we have to scoot right off to practice for dance or another sport.  Usually, we are out until dinnertime.  This means we must have good snacks in the meantime.  So, for the weekend ahead I am going to bake a few different must have snacks. 

2.   I also have high hopes to organize the toy area in our house and pull out the toys that are not played with anymore and donate these to a worthy cause. 

That is what is in store for my wonderful Saturday!

Girls Night Out

Last Night, I went Out with some wonderful fun friends.  We went to a fun restaurant called Americana in downtown Des Moines.  It was a good time and wonderful food.  If you have the time I definitely would check it out!

Here is what I had on the menu:

Ravioli Americano

13House Ricotta herb raviolis

                                                                  Roasted criminis

                                                                  Oyster mushrooms

                                               Smoked & spiced tomato cream sauce

                                                                   Shaved Parmesan

And for Dessert:

Bacon Brownie Sundae with some kind of wonderful delicious Ice Cream. 

I can't even describe this dish.  It was so wonderful! I am looking for a recipe to try so that I can recreate these brownies. 

This was definitely a great girls night out!  And a great before school starts splurge for mom.  I have a great group of foodie friends who love to get together to talk.  What more could a girl want.


Menu Plan Monday August 8

Menu Plan Monday

This week, I am getting very excited for the fair.  I have been spending all my free time, which isn't much, looking for great recipes to make this week.  This week is going to be very busy for me cooking.  We are also going out of town to visit some family later this week.  So, I need quick meals this week.

Monday-- grilled lamb gyros I am making these in honor of the fair.   I am hoping  for a healthy gyro option I can make at home.

Tuesday-- Honey Chicken Stir Fry

Wednesday--Out of Town --We will have leftovers if we get home at a good time

Thursday--Cheeseburger Casserole

Friday--Dinner out with Friends

Saturday  Fish

Sunday Pork Chops

A great end to the Summer Pie...

As you can tell, I love pie.  I have won many blue ribbons with  my pies at the Iowa State Fair.  I loved this coconut cream pie.  The toasted coconut gives it a wonderful flavor.  Stay tuned within the next week, and I will have some other great new recipes.

If I win any ribbons this year, I am going to share my winning recipes with all of you!!  I am embarking on entering other divisions this year, so I am not counting on any winning recipes, but I am guessing the recipes I have are unique and unusual.  This usually gives you an edge with the fair competition.  Anything to get the attention of the judges. 

Here is the recipe I am featuring today. 

Lotta Coconut Cream Pie


1 1/3 cups pastry flour

8 tbsp butter

¼ tsp salt

1/8 tsp baking powder

2 ½ -3 ½ tbsp. ice water

1 ½ tsp cider vinegar


2 cups shredded coconut, divided

8 egg yolks

1 ¼ cups sugar

2/3 cup cornstarch

2 tbsp butter melted

2 ½ cups milk

1 cup coconut cream

2 tsp pure vanilla

2 cups heavy cream, divided

3 tbsp confectioners sugar

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Crust preparation:

All ingredients need to be cold. Place flour, salt, baking powder in food processor. Pulse 6 times. Place butter in to flour mixture and pulse until butter is the size of peas. Add water and vinegar until mixture just comes together. Take out of food processor bowl and place on plastic wrap and form into a disc. Chill for at least 30 mins. Roll out crust and place in 9 inch pie plate. Chill for 10 mins in freezer. Line pastry shell with parchment paper and baking beans. Bake for 20 mins. Cool.

Filling Preparation:

Toast 1 cup of shredded coconut in oven. Remove and cool. Combine egg yolks and sugar. Beat with electric mixer until pale yellow and fluffy. Add cornstarch and melted butter. Blend well and set aside. Heat milk but do not boil. Stir in coconut cream. Gradually add egg and cornstarch mixture, stirring constantly over medium low heat until filling begins to thicken. Add 1 teaspoon vanilla. Remove filling from heat and let cool. In a mixing bowl, whisk or beat 1 cup heavy cream on high until it begins to thicken and forms stiff peaks. Set aside. Strain cooled filling through sieve to remove lumps. Fold in whipped cream and 1 cup of shredded coconut with pie filling and pour into prepared piecrust. Whisk or beat remaining heavy cream on high until it begins to thicken. Gradually add confectioners sugar and remaining teaspoon of vanilla. Continue until stiff peaks form. Fold in toasted coconut and spread over top of pie. Refrigerate until mixture has cooled and set.


The fair is getting closer....Great pie to make to spend the time!

Chocolate Caramel Pecan French Silk Pie


1 cup flour

½ cup shortening

¼ cup cold water

Pinch of salt

Cut shortening into flour and salt. Sprinkle the water into the particles until all the flour is moistened. Gather the pastry into a ball and refrigerate until chilled. Roll our until it is about 2 inches larger than the pie plate. Nake at 475 degrees for 8-10 mins until lightly browned.

Caramel Pecan Layer:

Combine 20 caramels with 2 tbsp milk in a saucepan on low heat. Stirring until smooth. Stir in ½ cup chopped pecans. Pour into baked pie crust and cool.

Chocolate French Silk:

1 ½ cup whipping cream

4 oz. German Sweet Chocolate

1 oz. semi sweet chocolate

1/3 cup butter

1/3 cup sugar

2 egg yolks, lightly beaten

In a heavy saucepan, combine cream, both chocolates, butter and sugar. Cook over low heat for 10 mins. Or until chocolate melts, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Gradually stir half the hot mixture into the beaten egg yolks. Return to pan and cook until it bubbles. Remove from the heat. Place the saucepan in a refrigerator for 25 mins. Until cooled. Put the chocolate mixture into a mixing bowl and beat until light and fluffy. Spread the filling over the caramel mixture. Cover and refrigerate at least 5 hours. Garnish with sweetend whip cream.

1 cup whipping cream to ¼ cup powdered sugar.


Frugal Funday Bloghop!!!

Frugal Funday

It is time to start a frugal funday weekend!!!  I am hosting a Frugal Fun blog hop this weekend and feel free to link up~  I am excited to be able to offer this great opportunity for all.  The idea is that we will link up a favorite frugal recipe or other idea for the week.  This is a great opportunity to get others looking at your blog.  Please Follow the rules and follow the host blog and remember to have fun!!  I think we will all gain some great ideas from this blog hop. 

Pecan Pie

Smart and Trendy Moms

Pecan Pie

Crust Ingredients:

1 1/3 cups pastry flour

8 tbsp butter

¼ tsp salt

1/8 tsp baking powder

2 ½ -3 ½ tbsp. ice water

1 ½ tsp cider vinegar

Crust preparation:

All ingredients need to be cold. Place flour, salt, baking powder in food processor. Pulse 6 times. Place butter in to flour mixture and pulse until butter is the size of peas. Add water and vinegar until mixture just comes together. Take out of food processor bowl and place on plastic wrap and form into a disc. Chill for at least 30

mins. Roll out crust and place in 9 inch pie plate


1 c. white corn syrup

1 c. brown sugar

3 eggs

½ c. butter melted

Dash of vanilla

Pinch of salt

1 ½ c. pecans coarsely chopped

1 unbaked pie shell

pecan halves

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine first 6 ingredients in medium bowl and mix well. Stir in chopped pecansPour batter into shell. Arrange pecans decoratively around border of pie. Bake until center is set and crust is golden brown. About 1 hour. Serve at room temperature.


Blue Ribbon Fun

In honor of my blue ribbons above, I am going to give you all a wonderful treat this week leading up to the fair.  This is my most favorite time of the year.  I love harvesting all my great garden fresh foods and cooking with these.  One of my favorite types of pie is apple.  This recipe has to be one of my all time favorite recipes.  This pie has not won any ribbons as of yet, but it is a wonderful creation. 

 Apple Pie


Enough pie crust for double crust pie
For the filling:

4 tablespoons butter

6 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, sliced in large chunks

1 Vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped

1 teaspoons Ground cinnamon

1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon Salt

1/4 cup Apple cider

1 tablespoon heavy cream

For the egg wash:

1 egg

1 tablespoon of cream



Prepare the dough and place in deep dish pie pan.

Prepare the apples:

Add the apples and all ingredients except cider and cream.  Mix together. 
Add the apple cider and cream, stir to incorporate.
Finish the pie:

Take second dough disc and roll out to a 12” circle on a lightly floured surface. Place on top of the apples and pinch the top and bottom dough edges together to enclose the apples. Add decorative edge if desired, and slice 1” air vents around the top of the pie.

Make the egg wash:

Beat the egg in a small dish and mix in cream. Lightly brush the egg wash over the top of the pie and along the edges. Sprinkle with coarse sugar.


Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes. Cover edges with aluminum foil if browning too quickly. Turn the pie in the oven, and continue to cook for another 15 minutes. Continue to cook for 7 minutes, as needed, until the crust is golden brown and flakey.  Depending upon your apples, you may need to bake this pie unitl it bubbles out of the vents or until apples are soft.


Remove from oven and allow to cool for at least two hours before cutting and serving.  This pie needs to be cool to properly set up.

Daily Deals Des Moines

If you live in Des Moines, IA and want your chance at free fair tickets!!!  Follow my lead and sign up for DSM Daily.  It is a great website that offers daily deals for Des Moines.  Who doesn't love a deal?

Please sign up at DSM Daily to earn your chance at free Iowa State Fair Tickets. 

Great Summer Custard Pie

This has to be one of my favorite pies I have ever made. It is a very simple, but elegant pie. Top it with a little bit of whipped cream and it is sinful. If you are looking for a great pie that will be perfect for late summer entertaining this is it!!

Lemon Custard Pie
Crust Ingredients:

1 1/3 cups pastry flour
8 tbsp butter
¼ tsp salt
1/8 tsp baking powder
2 ½ -3 ½ tbsp. ice water
1 ½ tsp cider vinegar
Crust preparation
All ingredients need to be cold. Place flour, salt, baking powder in food processor. Pulse 6 times. Place butter in to flour mixture and pulse until butter is the size of peas. Add water and vinegar until mixture just comes together. Take out of food processor bowl and place on plastic wrap and form into a disc. Chill for at least 30 mins. Roll out crust and place in 9 inch pie plate.

½ cup light cream
1/3 cup sugar
5 large egg yolks
1 cup heavy cream
¾ tsp lemon extract
½ tsp vanilla
1 -2 tsps finely grated
lemon zest
Partially prebake shell at 400 degrees for 10 mins. Reduce oven to 325 degrees. Gently whisk the light cream, sugar, egg yolks together in a medium size bowl. Add the heavy cream extracts, and lemon zest. Whisk again, briefly, just until blended. Pour into cooled pie shell. Bake for 30 mins. Reduce oven temp to 275 degrees continue to bake until center is just barely set. 20 mins. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours prior to serving.

Fair almost here!!!

Next week the State Fair is upon us!!! This means for myself that I will be entering a few items. I am entering some cinnamon rolls, a pasta salad, and cookies. That being said, I am trying to find the best recipes this week. Many of the recipes I use are family favorites that I try and make just a little bit better by adding different spices of flavorings to enhance the flavor. In honor of the fair I am going to post a few of my favorite winning recipes as a countdown to this years fair to get me into the mood of baking.

Cherry Sour Cream Fudge Pie

Crust Ingredients:
1 1/3 cups pastry flour
8 tbsp butter
¼ tsp salt
1/8 tsp baking powder
2 ½ -3 ½ tbsp. ice water
1 ½ tsp cider vinegar

Filling Ingredients:
3/4 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 eggs, separated
2 tablespoons water
1/4 cup sugar

Topping Ingredients:
1 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup canned cherry sauce

Crust preparation:
All ingredients need to be cold. Place flour, salt, baking powder in food processor. Pulse 6 times. Place butter in to flour mixture and pulse until butter is the size of peas. Add water and vinegar until mixture just comes together. Take out of food processor bowl and place on plastic wrap and form into a disc. Chill for at least 30 mins. Roll out crust
Heat oven to 350°F. Line 9-inch pie pan with pastry; crimp or flute crust. Set aside.

Melt 3/4 cup butter in 2-quart saucepan over medium heat. Stir in 3/4 cup sugar and 6 tablespoons cocoa. Remove from heat; cool 5 minutes.

Stir in flour. Beat in egg yolks by hand, one at a time, until well mixed. Stir in 2 tablespoons water.

Beat egg whites in small bowl at high speed, scraping bowl often, until foamy. Continue beating, gradually adding 1/4 cup sugar, until soft peaks form. Gently stir chocolate mixture into egg whites just until mixed.

Pour filling into prepared pie shell. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes.

Stir together sour cream, 2 tablespoons sugar and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla in medium bowl. Spread over warm pie; top with spoonfuls of cherry pie filling. Bake for 5 minutes.

Drizzle with ice cream topping, if desired. Serve warm or refrigerate until serving time.


Caprese Pizza

Yum!!! I am so glad I finally am getting some tomatoes out of my garden. My all time favorite use of tomatoes in the summer is to pair them with Mozzarella and basil. Simple yes. Easy yes!

1 9 inch pizza crust

1 garden fresh tomato sliced

1 ball fresh mozarella sliced

6 basil leaves cut into small pieces

1 clove garlic crushed

olive oil for drizzle

Place tomato, mozarella, garlic and basil on pizza crust. Drizzle with olive oil (only a little bit). Bake at 425 degrees for 10 mins.


Garden Fresh Summer Pasta Salad

Well, I didn't have enough leftovers tonight so I had to make a pasta salad. I felt this was the perfect way to use up a few of my tomatoes that I have had growing in my garden. I love fresh veggies and try to find ways to get my kids to eat them. Here is the salad!!

Garden Fresh Summer Pasta Salad

3 cups cooked macaroni

3 cups assorted veggies

1 cup ceaser salad dressing

3 tablespoons salad seasoning

Mix all together and chill a few hours until ready to serve.

Almond Peach Bread

This past week I tried to make some peach bread. My bread was not a pretty site. The loaves broke as I took them out of the pan, but the bread was very good. I recommend cutting the peaches into very small pieces when making this bread and I believe it will hold together a bit better than mine did.


5 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup sugar

1 cup brown sugar

2 tablespoons puls 1 teaspoon baking powder

2 teaspoons salt

6 tablespoons cooking oil

2 1/2 cups milk

2 eggs

2 cups peaches chopped

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 teaspoon almond extract

1/2 cup chopped almonds (optional)

Mix together dry ingredients. Add the remaining ingredients and mix. Pour into 2 greased loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Makes 2 loaves.