Archive | February, 2013

Homemade Lemon Pudding

Tags: Farm Eggs, Homemade Pudding, How To Make Pudding, Lemon

Homemade Lemon Pudding

Posted on 22 February 2013 by noelskitchen

When I’m blessed with an abundance of produce, I’m always looking to make something really good. Yesterday, I mentioned on my Facebook page I was testing a Creamy Cauliflower and Vegetable soup to include in my Busy Mom’s Kitchen Newsletter. It was taste tested and approved by my family and I’m looking forward to sharing it with my subscribers.

Along with all the vegetables, I seemed to have ended up with a huge bag of fresh lemons.  One of my favorite recipes to make with lemons is pudding. I love the tartness the lemon adds to the pudding and I always like to add in a little bit of lemon zest for more lemon flavor. I also like to use fresh farm egg yolks in my puddings. I think it makes the pudding even more creamier.

One of the things I’ve always enjoyed about making puddings is how simple they are. If my family is craving a quick little dessert after dinner, pudding is perfect and I always have the ingredients on hand in my pantry and fridge. It’s a great treat for our son who doesn’t care much for desserts with chocolate.

Homemade Lemon Pudding

Homemade Lemon Pudding

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup corn starch
  • 2 1/2 cups milk
  • 3 large egg yolks beaten (again, farm fresh eggs work best in my opinion for a more creamier pudding)
  • Pinch of salt
  • Juice of 1 1/2 fresh lemons
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon zest
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter

Directions:

  1. In a medium sauce pan on medium-low heat, whisk together the sugar and corn starch. Slowly add the milk and whisk until combined and smooth in texture. Approximately 2 to 3 minutes.
  2. Remove one cup of the milk mixture and add it to the egg yolks quickly whisking together to temper the eggs. 
  3. Add the tempered eggs into the sauce pan along with a pinch of salt. Reduce heat to low and while continuing to whisk frequently cook until thick in texture (it should coat the back of a spoon), then add the butter and whisk until combined.
  4. Add in the lemon juice and lemon zest.
  5. Remove sauce pan from heat. If you find any lumps in your pudding, you can strain the pudding. I find I never have to do this step  if I’ve paid close attention to the pudding as it cooks.
  6. Pour into individual serving dishes and place in fridge for 2 hours or until cool. Serve and Enjoy!

 Homemade Lemon Pudding with Strawberries

 

 

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Frugal and Easy: Homemade Chicken Stock

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Frugal and Easy: Homemade Chicken Stock

Posted on 21 February 2013 by noelskitchen

One of the easiest recipes I make from scratch is chicken stock. Every time we have a whole chicken for dinner, I save the bones, skin, and strain the drippings for a wonderful flavorful broth or stock to use in soups, casseroles, rice dishes, etc.

Chicken Stock Vegetables

Do you see what’s missing? I took the picture before I chopped the onion. It happens. Now on with the recipe.  Making your own chicken stock is easy and very frugal. Sometimes, I can’t always find a good deal on the stocks in the store and why buy them when you could make your own without letting good food go to waste. And besides, using your own broth is much more flavorful in my opinion.

Chicken and Vegetables For Stock

(I eventually did throw the roughly chopped onion in the pot before I turned the burner on.)

I usually freeze my broth in labeled zip loc freezer bags and lay them flat in my freezer. This way they lay flat and don’t take up a whole lot of room in my freezer. Now that we’re down to just one freezer, I can’t afford to waste any freezer space. I always do several  4 cup bags and a few 1 cup bags so I can just pull what’s needed and not let any stock go to waste.

Chicken Stock

Homemade Chicken Stock

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole chicken or 2 to 3 pounds bony chicken parts
  • 2 Tablespoons vinegar
  • 2 carrots, peeled and coursely chopped
  • 3 celery sticks with leaves, coursely chopped
  • 1 large onion, coursely chopped
  • 4 quarts cold water
  • 1 Tablespoon parsley

Directions:

  1. Place chicken pieces in a large stainless steel pot with water, vinegar and all vegetables except parsley
  2. Let stand 30 minutes to an hour
  3. Bring to a boil, and remove scum that rises to the top
  4. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 6 to 24 hours
  5. The longer you cook the stock, the richer and more flavorful it will be
  6. About 10 minutes before finishing the stock, add the parsley
  7. Remove chicken pieces with slotted spoon
  8. Strain the stock into a large bowl and put in the fridge till the fat rises to the top and congeals
  9. Skim off this fat and reserve the stock in covered containers in your fridge or freezer

Family Home Remedy Tip: Did you know that chicken stock heals the nerves, improves digestion, reduces allergies, relaxes and gives strength?

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Save Those Kitchen Scraps for Compost

Tags: Compost, , ,

Save Those Kitchen Scraps for Compost

Posted on 19 February 2013 by noelskitchen

This year, as our family decides to live more frugal, we decided on kicking it up a notch in our composting. We’re looking forward to a bigger and better family garden this year and that’s going to require us to pay more attention to the soil we grow our foods in. All those wasted food scraps that didn’t go to the chickens, will be re-purposed as wonderful organic compost. I’ll also be a little curious on how much less garbage we put out (it’s usually a lot) and how much more recycling we have each week.

Right now, I’m re-purposing an old Folgers coffee canister placed on our kitchen counter to save our kitchen scraps. When it’s full, we’ll take it to the garden. To keep it fresh smelling without all those nasty odors, I’m using my baking soda shaker to sprinkle in every once in a while to balance the chemicals and reduce odor.

Kitchen Compost

 

Here’s a list of what kitchen scraps we’ll be saving for composting:

  • Peels and rinds from fruits and vegetables
  • Coffee grounds (we don’t have paper filters but you could compost those too)
  • Tea bags and tea grounds
  • Paper towels, paper napkins, brown paper grocery bags (use these all the time in the garden to keep weeds away)
  • Cardboard boxes
  • Egg shells and egg cartons (not the Styrofoam ones)
  • Stale bread
  • Potato peels
  • Old newspapers

Just throw all of your scraps into your kitchen counter top compost bin, coffee canister or bucket and empty into the compost pile once it is full.  Just make sure to “stir” your kitchen compost frequently while it “cooks” to give it a little air–you can also add a little dirt/soil from the garden to the mix to speed up the process and minimize smell.

Saving those kitchen scraps is just another way our family is living more frugal these days. How about you? Is your family saving kitchen scraps for compost?

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A New Family Lifestyle Change and a Weekly Meal Plan February 17-23, 2013

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A New Family Lifestyle Change and a Weekly Meal Plan February 17-23, 2013

Posted on 18 February 2013 by noelskitchen

Happy Monday my friends! Did you enjoy your weekend? It was beautiful up here in the sierra foothills. After the cold bit of weather we were having, the sun feels very good.

When I woke up this morning, I wasn’t in my “get up and go” mode. I feel much more relaxed, organized and composed. Not that I’m not like this normally, but today feels different.  Maybe, because today is my first day of being a “temporary” SAHM. I say temporary because I don’t know for how long. After 7 1/2 years, my employer decided to do some “re-structuring” and I was let go. I was given the opportunity to work two more weeks and last Friday was my last day. I’ve been a working mom outside of the home (over 22 years) for so long do I really want to go back? Financially yes, maybe,  mentally no.

I’m sure or hoping there are lots of moms out there who can relate in some way or another. I don’t feel as stressed as maybe one should. Financially speaking that is. Not that we’re Richie Rich, just that I’m a very determined minded person who is resourceful and will look at all avenues of saving my family money. With me not working, that is a huge financial chunk of change gone for us. But, I think we’ll be alright. There’s an upside to every drastic lifestyle change in a person’s life. We’ll just have to see where this road takes us. But I can say, it’s truly a blessing to be able to stay with the kids and hubby more.

In preparation for this family lifestyle change, meal planning has been crucial. Groceries are a huge part of our family’s budget. Now that we will be living more frugally, I’ll be using crock pot freezer cooking a lot more. And you probably already know by now how much I love my crock pot. Yep, I pretty much had to invest in a second one months ago because it makes dinner time so easy. If you don’t own a crock pot, you need one. Seriously. Everyone should own one. This week’s meal plan is based on  the comforts and savings of crock pot meals.

Meal Plan

I meal plan at the beginning of each week. For me, it’s Sunday mornings when the house is quite and everyone’s still sleeping. I try and manage a decent frugal grocery budget and not go to the grocery store on a weekly basis unless we need dairy products like milk. Weekly meal planning saves our family money, reduces food waste, and keeps us from the urge to say, “Let’s eat out!”

Here’s our plan for the week.

My weekly meal plan and shopping list is completed and posted on our fridge:

weekly-meal-plan

Breakfast options:

(served with fruit)

French toast casserole
Pancakes
Waffles
Biscuits and Sausage Gravy
Cereal
Scrambled, Fried, or Hard-Boiled Eggs
Breakfast Burritos
Quiche
English Muffins
Homemade Bread
Biscuits
Muffins
Breakfast Cookies
Breakfast Potatoes
Mini Apple Pies or Turnovers

 Lunch options:

Sandwiches or Wraps (Tuna salad, egg saladchicken salad, turkey salad, leftover meats, grilled cheese, blt, pb&j)
Quesadillas
Smoothies
Leftovers from dinner
Salad
Baked Potato
Homemade Pizza Pockets

Suppers Your Family Will Love

Need ideas for your weekly meal plan? It’s time for another weekly menu.  I enjoy menu planning because of  the simplicity it provides for my life. It enables me to decrease my grocery shopping excursions to twice a month and it allows me to  have more free time to focus on my family and home. For ideas in the weekly meal plan, we’ll be focusing on a variety of family meals. You’ll find the recipes on the weekly meal plan also available on my Recipe Index page with a grocery list included.

Dinner (recipes will post throughout the week, given time to cook and photograph :) )

Note: an asterisk* means it’s from the freezer

Sunday:  Sunday Supper~ Crock Pot Lasagna, Garlic Bread* –used second crock pot to roast a whole chicken for tomorrow night’s dinner.

Monday: Crock Pot Chicken Tacos

Tuesday:  Crock Pot Italian Sausage and Peppers served over white rice

Wednesday: Crock Pot Spaghetti with Homemade Sauce and Garlic Bread*

Thursday: Crock Pot Mexican Chicken Soup, served with tortillas

Friday: Family Favorites Night, Crock Pot Baked Potatoes, Garden Salad

Saturday: Crock Pot Stuffed Bell Peppers, Cornbread

For more great family recipes, be sure to visit my new recipe box page.

What’s cooking at your house this week? Has your family gone through any lifestyle changes?

 

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Frugal Grocery Budget Savings: Powdered Milk

Tags: DIY, , Handy How To's, How To Make Powdered Milk, , Make It At Home,

Frugal Grocery Budget Savings: Powdered Milk

Posted on 17 February 2013 by noelskitchen

So far my grocery budget has worked well. I haven’t had to run to the grocery store for anything yet but I noticed we were running low on milk. When we had our second fridge/freezer in the garage, I was able to purchase milk and store half gallons in the freezer. Since that fridge/freezer broke down and it wasn’t worth the money to fix, I’ve been just using the one in the house. So when it comes to buying milk, I’m down to just buying two gallons.

So with just a little bit of milk left in the fridge, I decided to give powdered milk another try. I tried it before with just straight powdered milk and couldn’t fool my kids and had to use it just for cooking with because they wouldn’t drink it. This time, I’m trying a mixture of 1/2 powdered milk and 1/2 real milk to see if they notice. So what do you think the odds are of them noticing the 50/50 mixture?

Powdered Milk

 Clearly, I won’t tell my kids about this little experiment. So after I mixed the 2% milk with the powdered milk, I used a permanent marker and put a black dot on the milk jug and placed it into the fridge to get cold.

I’ll let you know later in the week how my experiment goes. Hopefully, they won’t notice the difference and this will be an ongoing way to frugally save on our grocery budget.

Does your family drink powdered milk? Do they like it or not like it?

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