Snacks on Demand

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That little voice inside your head that wants a snack gets more insistent the longer you try to ignore it. By the time you finally break down and grab a treat, you might reach for a candy car or something else that contains a high amount of sugar, fat and calories. Whether you crave something sweet or salty, you'll find dishes and treats that you can make ahead of time and freeze or store to eat on the go.

Trail mix is possibly one of the world's greatest foods, and the best part is that you can completely customize it to fit your preferences. Trail mix is essentially just a mixture of nuts and a few other ingredients. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and arrange a layer of your favorite nuts on a cookie sheet. Once the oven reaches the right temperature, place the cookie sheet inside. As soon as the nuts are slightly brown, remove the sheet from the oven and set aside to cool. Mix the nuts with pretzels, chocolate candies, dried fruit and anything else you want, and store the mixture in airtight containers or bags.

If you have a food dehydrator, the sky is the limit. Turn thin strips of beef into beef jerky by marinating the meat in a mixture of Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, a little garlic, black pepper and some beer if you like. Place the mixture in the refrigerator overnight. Remove the beef from the liquid, and pat some of the liquid off with a dry paper towel before placing in your food dehydrator. Another easy make ahead snack is dried fruit or fruit leather. With dried fruit, you can simply wash and cut the fruit into smaller pieces. For fruit leather, puree the fruit with a little water until a thick paste forms. Pour the mixture onto wax paper before putting in the dehydrator. You can make fruit leather, dried fruit and beef jerky in an oven on low heat, too.

Once you try a few different make ahead snack ideas, you might want to segue into full meals. Lasagna is one of the easiest meals to freeze, but you can also freeze broth-based soups, macaroni and cheese and meals that you make in the slow cooker. Keeping those meals on hand ensures that you and your family will always have something delicious and healthy to eat even when you don't have a lot of free time.

 

Canning 101 Video – Home Canning Basics

With grocery and gas prices continually on the rise it is important to find creative ways to save money.

I've am a freezer-cooking fanatic and love the money I save by buying food in bulk and storing meals in my deep freezer.  For me...freezing is quick and simple, "canning" on the other hand, scares me.

I thought I'd share this "canning basics" video with you which has inspired me to give canning a try this Fall. I'm planning to start with pickles..what about you?

Home Canning Basics - Part 1- Introduction

Debbie Meyer’s Green Bags – A Review of an "As Seen on TV" that Really Works

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For me, "As Seen on TV" ads are like a bad car crash.  I know I shouldn't look..I really don't want to look...but I look anyway, and can't turn away.

I'll admit...I've actually been convinced a few times that the stuff they are peddling works.  I recently bought that foot file shaped like an egg after watching a recent infomercial.  Did it work?  Yes.  Was it worth $10.00 + shipping?  Probably not.

I had a retail therapy moment the other day when I was bored at our local Walgreens and decided to try the green bags that were taunting me from the check-out aisle.   As the checker scanned my items she squeeled like I'd just purchased a cute pair of shoes, "oh I love those - they are fantastic".  

I headed home and excitedly bagged up my bananas, apples, & grapes.  A week later...everything looks fresh and there is this cool little "gassy film" on the bag.  (I am sure that's the technical term).  😉

Even better, I love to buy bananas at Costco but they only seem to last a day or two (I am hoping it is because they use less preservatives than grocery store fruit).  So far, my little banana bag has lasted a week...much to the dismay of my hubbie who loves banana bread. 

So...just a quick post to let you know that the Green Bags work.  I have a feeling they will save me lots of money...and a few extra trips to Costco.

Strawberry Freezer Jam

A quick and simple recipe for Strawberry Freezer Jam.

Click the link to learn more...

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Save Money by Freezing Milk

Yes, you CAN freeze milk...and it tastes just fine.  Every two weeks we get  a few groceries at our local Costco Wholesale store.   I can get two gallons of milk at Costco for the same amount as I pay for one at other stores.

There's one catch, however.   By the time I am ready for the next Costo-trip, we've gone through our two gallons...and then some. 

One afternoon my husband suggested that we freeze the milk.  "Won't it explode?" "Won't it taste watery?"....It's worth a try, I thought. 

It worked great.  When we were half-way through with one gallon, I would "defrost" the second one in the fridge.  We gave the frozen one a good shake...and it tasted just fine!

Here's a quick excerpt from Answerbag.com about freezing milk.

"Freezing Milk: Although we do not recommend freezing milk products, for some it is a necessity. Milk may be frozen for as long as 3 months provided the sealed container is frozen prior to the best before date. Skim and 2% milk freeze better than Homo milk (whole milk). Thaw frozen milk in the refrigerator. The milk will still have the same nutrients, but it may separate. If it does, shake well or beat with an electric mixer or rotary beater.

With milk prices skyrocketing...I would say that "necessity" is an understatement.