Saturday, February 6, 2016

Buttermilk Biscuits

1/2 C buttermilk
1/2 C sour cream
2 C AP flour
1 TB baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp salt
8 TB (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4" pats
2 TB unsalted butter, melted

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Whisk together buttermilk and sour cream.
  2. In food processor, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, and process until blended.  Scatter the butter evenly over the flour and pulse until you have a pebble-like consistency.  Transfer to a large bowl.
  3. Add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture and fold with rubber spatula until combined.  Transfer the dough to a floured work surface and knead just until it comes together.
  4. Roll the dough into a 12 in square.  To make the layers, fold the right third over the center, then fold the left third over the center so that you have a rectangle.  Then fold the top third onto the center, and the bottom third onto the center so you have a square.  Roll it into a 12 in square and repeat the process so that you end up with a 12 in square.
  5. Cut biscuits out with a floured biscuit cutter, making sure not to twist the cutter.  Transfer to parchment-lined or greased baking pan, leaving around 1 in between each biscuit.
  6. Brush the tops of biscuits with melted butter and bake until golden brown and risen, about 15 mins, rotating the pan halfway through.  Allow 5mins to cool and serve.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Smoked Gouda Mac 'n Cheese

The recipe that everyone has requested!

1lb pasta
1/2 stick of butter
1/2C flour
1T salt
1/2 T pepper
4C milk
6C grated cheese - I use 4C smoked gouda and 2C cheddar
Optional: 1C panko crumbs mixed with 4TB melted butter if you would like a crunchy topping.

Preheat oven to 350. Grease 9x13 pan with either cooking spray or butter. Set aside.

Boil pasta as directed on package.  Drain and pour into a large bowl. Pour grated cheese on top so it can start melting.

In a saucepan, melt butter. Add 1/2C flour and cook 30-60 seconds while whisking.  Add milk while continually whisking to prevent any lumps.  Cook on medium-high heat until the sauce thickens.  Add salt and pepper.

Pour white sauce on top of cheese and pasta.  Mix thoroughly.  Pour into greased 9x13 pan.  Add crunchy topping or extra shredded cheese if preferred.  Bake 25mins.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Old School Pumpkin Bread

This is my recipe for pumpkin bread, retrieved from one of my great-grandmother's recipe book.  I make substitutions based on what I have on hand, or my mood that day.  The original recipe called for three cups of granulated sugar, but it was too sweet for us. Feel free to add more if you like. The recipe is really forgiving.


  • 3C all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1C granulated sugar
  • 1C brown sugar
  • 1C butter, room temp or softer
  • 3 large eggs
  • 16-24 oz of pumpkin puree (16oz is a normal can size. I add more when I am using fresh because I love pumpkin)
  • 1/2C chopped pecans (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 and spray two loaf pans.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix the first seven ingredients- flour, spices, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  3. In a stand mixer, cream warm butter, sugar and eggs until fluffy. Add pumpkin puree and mix well.
  4. In three batches, add the dry ingredients and mix gently just until incorporated. Scrap the sides of the bowl after each batch. 
  5. Pour half the batter in each pan. Bake for one hour or until toothpick comes out clean. Freezes well.

For the bread above, I used 1/2C of butter and 1/2C of applesauce, and it turned out great!  With butter priced at $5/lb right now, I was happy to make the substitution.  I just finished canning a lot of applesauce so I could use it as a substitution in recipes. It adds nutrition and costs less- win, win!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

No Spend October

After I last blogged about only purchasing enough food for six weeks during a sale, I went to the grocery store yesterday and hit the motherlode of meat markdowns.  Apparently, this particular grocery store had a lot of meat expiring at the beginning of the month and marked down at least 30% of their stock.

I purchased two packs of chicken thighs for 0.53/lb, steak for $2/lb, organic grass-fed ground beef for $2.19/lb and I also picked up two gallons of milk for $2.00/each.  My one caveat to purchasing a large quantity of food is if it's under your price book minimums, and these prices were definitely below that line.  So needless to say, my end-of-month spending is not going to look great, but the savings will add up long-term.

This has also inspired me to do my first no-buy month. Since we are stocked on meat, and I normally keep a small stockpile of basic groceries, I think we should be able to go through October without purchasing many groceries. I will use fresh produce as my one exception since I go to my local farmer's market every Friday. For that, I will budget $15/week, so I am going to try and keep our grocery budget to $60.00 this month. Anyone care to join?

Monday, September 29, 2014

Pantry Stockpile

When a couple of friends came over last week, they asked if they could see what I put in my pantry stockpile.  I had mentioned in passing that I thought that having a well-stocked pantry was a great way to save money on groceries.  However, I had never said much about what I actually buy to help stock my pantry. Super unhelpful, as knowledge is in the specifics!

My pantry is stocked according to sales cycles. Most products go on sale every six weeks.  The goal of my pantry is to have it stocked with enough canned and dry goods to last through the next time the item will go on sale. The exception to that is if the product is on sale and I have coupons for it.  If the sale makes the item ridiculously inexpensive (according to my personal price book), I buy as many items as I have coupons.

The one warning I would give is- don't become a hoarder!  If you find that you have enough food for a year, or if there are boxes of pasta under your bed.... you might not want to buy anything else for a long time. Every item goes on sale again. A good test- if you have enough stockpile to go on a reality show, you have gone too far.  :)

So here is a look at what is in my pantry...

Basics: all purpose flour, bread flour, salt, white and/or brown rice, granulated sugar, brown sugar, unsweetened cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and rolled oats.

When I am currently using the stock, I store them in plastic jugs that are from my son's animal crackers. They are 5lb and 3lb containers, so they are perfect for fitting in my pantry.

When I am storing the excess, they are stored the unfinished part of my basement in storage bins. A better alternative for storing flour and sugar would be in the freezer, but I don't have the room in my freezer.

In February, my local grocery store had a great sale on a lot of dry items. I stocked up on lots of lunch and dinner items. This is a typical pantry stockpile for my family: Pasta sauce, alfredo sauce, dry pasta, peanut butter...

Egg noodles, cereal, canned vegetables including carrots, corn, creamed corn, beets, green beans, spinach, peas, diced tomatoes...

Condiments such as salad dressing, mayonnaise, ketchup, hot sauce, teriyaki sauce, soy sauce. Olive oil, coconut oil, spray oil and shortening are used in all of my cooking and baking. All of the macaroni and cheese, stuffing and gravy is from when my local Aldi clearanced it all after Christmas- everything was 25 cents. And the flavored water was a free-with-purchase find from another local store.

Spread throughout, I also have dried beans, crackers, pretzels, dried potatoes, popcorn, onion soup mix, canned fruit and pumpkin, canned beans, cake mixes, pickles, white and apple cider vinegar, tomato sauce, apple juice, beef and chicken bouillon cubes, spices, jam, instant pudding mix, tuna, coffee and tea, soy and coconut milk, evaporated and sweetened condensed milk, honey and extracts.

Every pantry is obviously different based upon the preferences of the family, but most of these are basics that every family would use.  I have mostly basic items since that is the least expensive way to cook, but I also have items for a quick dinner if I don't feel up to cooking from scratch.  This is a very small stockpile compared to some, and a large stockpile compared to others (most specifically, my city friends!).  

If you want to start your own stockpile, start it week-by-week. Choose one thing that is on sale, and buy enough for six weeks.  It will only take a few weeks before you see your weekly shopping list get smaller, and your savings get larger.  You never know when a medical emergency or job loss will hit either, so it's always good to have some pasta in the closet for a rainy day.