October 13th, 2013General
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The holidays are coming, and with it, the need to entertain guests and/or feed the kids while they are home from school and usually cooped up indoors due to colder weather in the Northern Hemipshere. The holidays hold enough time and financial pressure, without the constant wail of “Im’ hungry! What is there to eat?”
One of the best ways to handle the holidays and save money at the same time is through Make and Freeze recipes. As the name suggests, you make the recipe and eat it, then freeze the leftovers. Or, you can batch cook, making a week or two of meals all at the same time, which you can then freeze for later use.
Make and freeze recipes made from scratch help ensure that you know exactly what is in the food you and your family are eating. If anyone in your house has food allergies, this is a must. It also saves a lot of money, because properly portioned out make and freeze meals cost pennies on the dollar compared to microwave meals from the supermarket or take away from your local restaurant or fast food joint.
Package up your food into TV dinners with the help of sturdy freezer containers. Color code the lids so that anyone who has allergies or a special diet, such as vegetarian or vegan, can always spot exactly what they can and can’t eat. If you are working and the kids are home all day, there is no need to worry about getting a hot meal on the table. You can rest secure knowing that there is a freezer full of food for the kids to choose from, heat and eat.
If you and the children and your spouse want to spend as much of the holidays together as possible without slaving in the kitchen, cooking make and freeze recipes now, when you are in the kitchen cooking anyway, can help you get well ahead of the game by the time the holidays ever roll around.
Get recipes ready now for holiday pot lucks, covered dish suppers, dessert or cookie swaps, and even gifts that you can make and bake, parcel up, and give as presents.
Do you have guests coming to stay? Feeding them three meals a day plus snacks can be hard work, and expensive too, especially if they want to eat out while there are there. Get organized now and you will be amazed at how easy it is to entertain them this year.
If you dread the holidays because you know how much cooking you are going to have to do, it’s time to end the pattern of slaving over a hot stove just to try to enjoy the holidays. Make and freeze recipes are easy enough to cook each night, and versatile enough to multiply 2 or three times so that you can parcel up and freeze the rest. Or, go shopping, unpack your groceries, roll up your sleeves, and make about a month of meals in a single day.
Packing your freezer with recipes made with the freshest ingredients means you will never have to waste food or eat lame leftovers again. Best of all, they can give you a great head start on your holiday cooking, making Thanksgiving and Christmas entertaining and socializing easier than ever. If you want a more stress-free holiday season, with better budgeting as you spread out the cost of food over 2 or 3 months instead of only a week, make and freeze recipes are the solution you’ve been looking for.
Further ReadingTags: make ahead meals, make and freeze recipes, microwave cooking
October 17th, 2013News and Views
Massachusetts honor student punished for driving drunken friend home from party
Even though she was sober, the girl still got into trouble for going to the aid of her friend.
A girl who went to the aid of her friend had the book thrown at HER even though she had not attended any party and was completely sober. The school says they have zero tolerance for alcohol, but someone gave the one underaged girl alcohol to drink. When she knew she could not get home safely on her own, she called her friend to help her. The friend did the responsible thing and went to go get her.
No one should allow a drunken girl to make her way home by herself. If women do not protect other women, we all run the risk of becoming victims of badly intentioned people.
The school board should reconsider punishing someone for only trying to help and be a good friend and responsible person.
Alcohol impairs judgment; this is why it is supposed to be legal only for older people who, it is assumed, can behave responsibly when they drink. The laws are there to protect teens, but we know that they want to try the ‘forbidden fruits’ of alcohol. It is a real issue in modern society, and needs to be dealt with realistically.
October 16th, 2013Pets
We just spotted this disturbing story of a teenaged girl being unkind to a kitten, along with several friends, who then threw the kitten into traffic so that it was hit by a car and killed. She was also heard to say that if she had the chance, she would do it again.
Other recent animal cruelty headlines involving teens include:
8 week old kitten has to be put down because injuries were so bad after it was shot with a pellet gun
Maine teen girls caught putting kitten in microwave
Burned kitten recovering after being doused with gasoline and set on fire
Judging from where it was found, still burning, we are going to guess that this kitten was also thrown out of a moving car after it was set alight.
And this is a crime an adult committed -kitten survives being thrown of third floor window by ex-boyfriend
Next year, animal cruelty complaints in New York City will be handled by the police first, who will then involve the ASPCA. With any luck for the poor animals, people will start to think twice about these sorts of actions once they know it means the police will immediately be involved.
All children need to be taught respect for living beings and for the property of others. There is nothing amusing or ‘cool’ about harming an animals. If any one of those 6 children involved in throwing around the kitten had just stopped and tried to protect it, keep it away from the others, ask an adult for help, or behave in a responsible way, the kitten would probably still be alive.
Remember, those children had choices. The kitten had none.Tags: animal cruelty, aspca
The autumn is here, and with it nature’s bounty. All of the fresh fruits and vegetables that ripen in the fall are at their peak of freshness. Why not make the most of them with some great recipes. Eat some now, and freeze the rest?
Make ahead and freeze cooking can help you save time and money. You will waste a lot less food if your family stops doing the ‘leftover shuffle’, pushing last night’s delicious dish to the back in favor of something freshly cooked, or even worse, take away food.
Let’s face facts. We all love variety. Sadly, a lot of us are also carrying around a few extra pounds. Portion control and packaging up leftovers into ‘TV dinners’ is one way to get the range of foods we love and still stay slim. Serve with a salad and you have a complete meal for pennies on the dollar compared to takeaway.
Make and freeze recipes are also perfect if you have special diets to cater to. Color-code your container covers. Write on the lids or sides using freezer tape, and your picky eater or person will allergies can be sure that they are eating what they want and what’s safe for them.
Many people used to can or jar their produce to preserve it before it spoiled. Packing your freezer with recipes made with the freshest seasonal produce is even better, saving you time and money. Never again do you have to wonder what’s for dinner, and whether it will be delicious.
Further ReadingTags: cooking, make and freeze recipes, microwave cooking, seasonal recipes
Halloween is nearly here, and with it the chance to decorate!Tags: decorating for the holidays, halloween decorating, Halloween Decoration, holiday decorations
Get even more exciting ideas on how to host a wonderful Halloween party without breaking the bank.Tags: halloween costumes, halloween decorations, halloween recipes
Halloween Magic Even on a Budget: Halloween Activities, Costumes, Crafts and Recipes (Holiday Entertaining)
Get great ideas here on how to throw a super Halloween party; costume ideas, recipes and other holiday essentials:Tags: halloween, halloween costumes, halloween party, halloween party recipes, halloween recipes, holidays
October 2nd, 2013Baked Foods, Cooking, Dessert Recipes, Halloween, Halloween Recipes, Holiday Recipes, Holidays, Recipes
In the last section, we discussed how to make a fast and easy Tombstone cake. Now we are going to look at how to create one or more attractive pumpkin cakes to add to your holiday buffet spread or potluck.
Your round pans will be perfect for making a pumpkin face. You can then use the wedges left over from the tombstone cake to make stems for two pumpkin cakes by frosting them green and positioning them over the round cakes. (If you have not made a tombstone cake already, not to worry. We will tell you what to do when it comes time to decorate and assemble the cake.)
For the pumpkin faces, once your round layer cakes are completely cool, you will be ready to frost. First dye your white frosting orange, or use ready-made orange frosting. (We recommend trying to make your own natural food colorings rather than buying commercial products. There are many recipes online that can help.)
If you need to create a stem, cut off about an inch of one side of the cake and then cut it in half or into a stem shape and position it on top of the cake. Frost it green and set aside until it is time to assemble the cake.
Frost the whole cake ‘face’ with your orange frosting, and then decide how you wish to create the features of the pumpkin face.
There are a number of options for creating the faces. Again, if you are a green mom, you might want to create these as naturally as possible. If you are calorie or sugar conscious, this will also help you select the right choice for your whole family and any guests you might be serving cake.
You can draw eyes, nose and mouth with frosting gel or make some very dark black frosting with red and blue drops of color and create triangles for the eyes and nose and some jagged ‘teeth’ for the mouth.
You can also make the facial features using a number of pieces of candy corn. Make two triangles pointing downwards for the eyes and one triangle pointing upwards for the nose by positioning the candy corn as needed. The mouth can be as jagged and snaggle-toothed as you like, positioned in the center of the cake under the nose.
You can add the lines of the pumpkin down the cake in slightly curved lines parallel to each other like parentheses, starting on either side of the face, with the left-hand-side lines curving out to the left, and the right-hand side line curving out towards the right like this: ((*^*))
You can also use icing gel, sprinkles and so on to fill in the features. Don’t forget to color green the stems of the ‘pumpkins’ (your leftover cake wedges from the tombstone cake) using some green frosting or green sprinkles or colored green sugar.
These are quick and easy cake ideas that will feed a large number of people for gathering at a school, church hall or other community group . An attractive cake also works very well as the centerpiece for a Halloween buffet table. Best of all, you can use any recipe you like, so you can be sure of how wholesome the ingredients are. You can even make your own buttercream frosting or a festive-colored cake glaze using natural ingredients, without a lot of fat and sugar or food coloring, in order to avoid gaining weight or feeding your family and friends too many unhealthy items.
If you are really in a hurry, you can resort to boxed mixes, pre-prepared frosting, and food color, but remember that one drop of color can go a long way and use it sparingly.
If you make a mistake frosting your cake, just scoop it off and start again. If the worst comes to the worst, you can even cut off one part of the cake and start again or use it for cake pops and bake another one.
And no matter what it looks like, there is no such thing as a bad cake as long as you follow instructions for the recipe you are using or the mix you are making. Don’t burn your cake/s, time everything carefully, and test it for doneness according to the package instructions.
Note to beginner bakers:
Your oven may vary in terms of temperature, so always check for doneness about 5 minutes before the lowest recommended time. For example, if it says Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, check its progress at the end of 25 minutes. Our oven is so good that if it says 350 for 30 minutes, it will be done to perfection in 30 minutes. 35 would be overdone.
We once had an oven that was 100 degrees cooler than it should have been and one that was 75 degrees hotter than it should have been. If you want to save a lot of money and calories by learning to make and decorate cakes yourself, it is a fun hobby the whole family will love, but you might want to invest in an inexpensive oven thermometer just to check your oven so all your cakes will come out great.
Further Reading:Tags: halloween, halloween cakes