Mechanics Cookies

Adam loves chocolate chip cookies so I decided to make him a batch for his car ride down to Oklahoma yesterday. He loves my tried and true recipe but sadly I didn’t have enough chocolate chips or any table salt. Using what I could find around in the pantry I came up with this version that got raving reviews from Adam, our kids and the guys in Oklahoma where Adam had to work today! I’m calling them mechanics cookies since the guys went on and on about them. 


To make these amazing cookies preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Then mix together:

1/2 cup softened butter

1/2 cup crisco

3/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup brown sugar 

Blend well in mixer and add 

1 egg

1-2 teaspoons almond extract 

Blend together and add

2 1/4 cups flour-we love these with gluten free flour

1 teaspoon baking soda-use 2 teaspoons if using gluten free flour 

1 teaspoon kosher salt-this gave it an amazing pop of flavor!

Mix together and add

1 cup mini chocolate chips

1/4 cup chopped walnuts 

1/4 cup chopped pecans 

Dough will be thick, use cookie scoop or spoon and form into balls and bake for 8 minutes. Let cool on cookie sheet for 2 minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack. 

Makes about 3 dozen soft cookies that melt in your mouth! 


Hope you enjoy them as much as my family did! 

Much Love,

Amy

Feeding my Herd

Grocery shopping and preparing meals is just one of those things that has to happen in every home to get through each and every day, week and month. It is something that I use to completely dread and now that I’ve figured out some easy tricks and simple recipes I can quickly make a grocery list, drive to and from 2 different stores and buy everything plus get back home within a 2 hour period of time, which is nice that I’m not gone half a day just buying food for the herd. In the past I’ve been so discouraged reading how some people can feed a family of 5 for $50 a week and wonder where I’m going wrong, but I’ve came to the conclusion that A) those articles aren’t up to date for prices that I see on a regular basis and B) my herd eats a lot more then 1 piece of toast for breakfast, half a sandwich for lunch and a small serving of meat and a potato for supper. We are a family of 5 plus I have 10 daycare kids for breakfast, lunch and snack…yes, you read that correctly and I am crazy but I sure do love those littles so its all worth it. I’m not able to ever walk out of the store with only $50 of food to feed my herd for a week but I am able to walk out with plenty of healthy foods plus some fun things they enjoy for treats every now and then along with all of our cleaning and personal care items for $150-$200 every week…which I’m pleased with since this also includes all the daycare items. 

When meal planning for the week I like to use a form like this 


You can make your own or print this  Menu planning sheet. Just search for the free printable meal planner. To start  I will look in the freezer and pantry and see what wasn’t used up last week and start meal planning with those items and then will fill in with family favorites or new recipes I want to try from Pinterest, Facebook or cookbooks I already have. I also don’t add side dishes to my actual menu plan sheet because part of me really likes to wing things ? for the daycare breakfast they also get fresh fruit and for their lunch it will include fresh fruit, veggie and some type of grain per the guidelines I have to follow. I just stock up on a ton of these items and pull out whatever sounds good that day. I’ve found that buying fresh is usually the cheapest except frozen veggies are usually the same price or a little cheaper so I will also buy some frozen bags of veggies to keep on hand. 

After I get my menu plan all figured out I’ll start making my list. I always start at Aldi and then head to SAMs club, if needed I’ll finish buying items at Walmart and I buy all of our beef at our locally owned grocery store because I like it the best. Making AND following my list is key in staying in budget…bad things happen when I buy items not on this list! Like we end up with a jumbo tub of cheese balls that no one will finish before they go bad and all of a sudden I’m walking in the door with $300 worth of items and half of them weren’t needed. 


Using a clipboard works best for me because my list won’t get burried in the bottom of my purse and I can easily check the items off as I put them in the cart. I can also easily see what items Aldi or SAMs didn’t have that I need to add to my Walmart list.

Once I’m home from shopping I will prepare meals for the following week to help my evenings out or make lunch time go smoother…the majority of all your recipes can be frozen which makes meal prep easy and quick! Just don’t thaw meat and refreeze without cooking it first…I don’t exactly know what will happen to you but I’m terrified of stomach sickness so I’ve always followed this kitchen rule ?. I can usually get all the meals prepped within an hour or so!


Here are my freezer meals I have ready right now! All I have to do is remember to pull them out the day before or bake them about double the time if they are still frozen. 

I want to feed my family healthy meals but I also don’t stress over it. We currently have Hot Pockets and Uncrustables in the freezer. I’ve been known to throw pop tarts at my children as they walk out the door in the mornings and we have boxed snacks on the pantry shelf all the time and a large assortment of cereals to pick from. If I got up early each morning to make a healthy breakfast for them I would be a grouchy momma bear and not someone they would want to see. So I don’t stress over it but do the best I can on the budget that works for my family. 

Some of our favorite meals include:

-sloppy joes

-tater tot casserole

-grilled hotdogs 

-chili and cinnamon rolls

-grilled cheese and tomato soup

-taco bar

-spaghetti 

-meatloaf 

-grilled hamburgers 

-baked potato bar

-BBQ pulled pork (I’ll make a large pork roast and use for sandwiches, nachos and pizza)

-homemade pizza night

-salad and sandwich night

-baked chicken with Olive Garden dressing

-Swedish meatballs

-BBQ meatballs

These are just some of our all time favorites that are easy and cheap to make. Pinterest is a fabulous place to find so many recipes but just don’t stress out if yours don’t come out looking Pinterest perfect! My herd will eat just about anything no matter what it looks like! If you struggle with spending to much at the grocery store or not knowing what to feed your herd hopefully these ideas will help you out some! 

What are some of your favorite recipes? Or how do you save money at the grocery store? I would love to hear from you and if you haven’t already would love to have you join us over on Facebook and Instagram where I share more about saving money, recipes and whatever adventure is going on at the time! 

Much Love,

Amy

A Birthday Celebration

Howdy friends! Is it summer time in your town yet? While school has been out almost a week here, the weather hasn’t been very summery yet! I loved the weather this winter since we had NO snow days and while I’d be completely happy with a cooler summer, getting to see the sun more then every few days would be nice!

My dad came down almost 2 weeks ago for AJ’s baseball tournament and while he was here we celebrated his birthday! We haven’t been with him in many years on his birthday so I knew I needed to make him something he would like and I knew that cake was out of the picture since I hardly remember him eating cake while I was growing up. I decided on chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwiches. He loves cookies and ice cream so put them together and you have a major winner!

These cookies are simply amazing and so easy to whip together! You can make them into ice cream sandwich cookies or spread them in a bar pan for a cookie cake! The possibilities are endless with the different flavors of chips you can add!

IMG_0245
Quick and easy cookie dough
Using a cookie scoop will help get perfect sized cookies!
Using a cookie scoop will help get perfect sized cookies!
Let them cool on the pan for 2-3 minutes!
Let them cool on the pan for 2-3 minutes!
Look at those beauties!
Look at those beauties!
Fill with your favorite ice cream and roll in sprinkles for an added special touch!
Fill with your favorite ice cream and roll in sprinkles for an added special touch!
Best Gluten Free flour we've found!
Best Gluten Free flour we’ve found!

Nu-Life all purpose gluten free flour is AMAZING!!! Everything we have made with it turns out perfect…except pizza crust! That’s one recipe we haven’t been able to master using gluten free flour. You can find this flour in a few select Costco stores or online from the Nu-Life website. (I am not an affiliate of Nu-Life or Costco, just really LOVE this flour!) We also double the amount of baking soda or baking powder when we use gluten free flour! Our items come out pretty perfect now!

After I assembled the ice cream cookie sandwiches I placed them in the freezer until it was party time! No need to thaw ahead of time~they are perfect straight from the freezer!

These are kid,
These are kid,
Husband and
Husband and
Dad approved!
Dad approved!

Happy Birthday, Dad! Hope you had a great day celebrating with us!

The Best Chocolate Chip Cooke Recipe

1 cup butter shortening

3/4 cup white AND brown sugar

2 eggs

2 1/4 cup flour

1 teaspoon baking soda, 2 teaspoons if using gluten free flour

1-2 teaspoons almond flavoring…the more the better is my theory!

2 cups chocolate chips, we prefer the mini size ones. Another favorite is 1 cup chocolate chips and 1 cup peanut butter chips!

In mixing bowl mix shortening and both sugars together. Add in eggs beating well after each one. Slowly add in flour and baking soda mixing until all combined. Add in almond flavoring then chips of your choice!

For cookies bake at 375 for 8-9 minutes, for bar pan cookies bake at 350 for 20 minutes.

Makes about 3 dozen cookies

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Much Love,

Amy

 

Perfect Banana Muffins

Who doesn’t love banana muffins, well besides my Elle??? I’ve been making these for over 20 years and even though I’ve tried other recipes for them I keep coming back to this one recipe. I submitted it for the church cookbook when I was only 14 or 15 and for as long as I have been making them should have the recipe memorized, but I still love pulling out this book that reminds me of my growing up years!

The beloved church cookbook!
The beloved church cookbook!

I make these at least twice a month or more depending on our ripe banana inventory. Did you know if you peel and freeze rip bananas in a zip lock type of bag that when they thaw they are perfectly mashed and you just have to squeeze them out into your batter! If you’re like me and like change you can add in some crushed pineapple or shredded coconut to give it a tropical beach taste! I also always double the recipe because just 12 muffins that taste this good won’t last long at all!

Whipping up a batch of these is so easy to do early in the morning!
 Whipping up a batch of these is so easy to do early in the morning!

All you need are 9 ingredients and about 45 minutes to whip them up, bake them and then let them cool before you can gracefully devour them!

Heavenly yumminess, done to perfection in just  22 minutes!
Heavenly yumminess, done to perfection in just 22 minutes!

My daycare littles, oldest and youngest children love these! I always double the recipe and the 24 muffins never last long! They also make your home smell amazing which I absolutely love!

Look at those muffin tops!
Look at those muffin tops!

Banana Muffins~makes 12

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 cup sugar

1 egg

1 cup mashed banana

1 1/2 cups flour

1 tsp baking soda dissolved in 3 tablespoons warm water

1 splash vanilla, 1 tsp if you are a measurer

several good shakes of nutmeg

pinch of salt

Cream butter and sugar together then add the remaining ingredients. Mixing after each one or every few if you’d like! Fill muffin cups about 3/4 full and bake in a 350 degree oven for 20-22 minutes or until done to your likeness. Let cool in muffin tin for 15 minutes then enjoy!

Hope you enjoy them as much as we do!

Much Love,

Amy

Cinnamon Swirl Bread

I love to bake~it relaxes me and puts a smile on my face when I can create something in our kitchen that my family or daycare littles will love! Anyone else feel this way? I know for some baking can be scary or intimidating but I want to encourage you to give it a try and maybe you will find out it really isn’t that bad! Those are also words that I need to tell myself for my dentist appointment that I was suppose to have today but moved to next Monday! But, that’s a post for another day!

Last week I made this cinnamon bread for breakfast and it was delicious, simple and made 2 large loafs. The best part of this bread is you don’t have to knead or wait hours to let it rise!  I will post the recipe below but wanted to share some pictures of the cinnamon goodness first!

Doughy, yummy batter coming up!
Doughy, yummy batter coming up!
All ready to bake and make your home smell amazing!
All ready to bake and make your home smell amazing!
Look at that cinnamon and sugar top!
Look at that cinnamon and sugar top!
Looks at all that cinnamon swirled around!
Looks at all that cinnamon swirled around!

I wish I could transfer the amazing smell that this bread left in my home when it was finished baking! The kids were going crazy waiting for it to cool off so they could dig into their very own piece! Hope you enjoy making this for your family!

Much Love,

Amy

Cinnamon Swirl Bread

Batter:

1 cup softened butter

2 cups sugar

2 eggs

2 cups buttermilk~if you don’t have any buttermilk put 2 Tablespoons of vinegar in a liquid measuring cup and fill to the 2 cup mark with milk.

4 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

Cinnamon mixure:

2/3 cup sugar

1 Tablespoon cinnamon

Cream together the first 3 ingredients then add the milk, flour, baking soda and mix well. Divide among 2 bread pans and place 1/4 of the cinnamon mix on top of each loaf. Using a knife swirl the cinnamon mixture into the dough and then top with the remaining cinnamon mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-55 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pan then remove and enjoy!