Saturday, September 24, 2016

Breakfast Blueberry Muffins

Is there anything better than the smell of homemade muffins baking on an early Saturday morning?!  My kids come running to the kitchen to see which flavor I'm going to make that day.  One of my dreams as a Momma was to make things like this for my family. It saves us money, it's an easy to way to love on them and the come together very quickly.

This recipe is the base for all muffins I make at home.  Strawberry, apple, raspberry, choc chip....the combos are endless.  You could also add lemon flavoring to this batter as that pairs extremely well with blueberries.  My children adore this recipe as the muffins come out more dense than the store-bought mixes.  They like feeling full after eating one muffin instead of eating 3-4 of other brands you'll find at most grocery stores.  

Feel free to make any substitutes needed for food allergies or health requirements.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Spray muffin tins (this recipe usually yields about 18 smaller muffins or 12 large ones).

2 Eggs
1/2 cup butter melted
1 tbsp vanilla
1 cup milk (I use almond milk)
1 cup sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups flour
1 cup blueberries (any berry would work or you can sub choc chips as well)

Mix wet ingredients and then incorporate dry ones.  Don't over-mix the batter.  Fill muffin tins 1/2 or 3/4 full depending on desired size of muffin.  Then bake for about 18-25 minutes (depending on size) or until done on the inside and golden brown.  Place on cooling rack immediately out of the oven. While they are cooling, this is when I clean the kitchen. 

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Banana Choc Chip Muffins

Since our son, Ethan, can't tolerate eggs or cheese, he really is limited to his breakfast options.  We are trying to stay away from cereals as they provide very little, if any, nutrition to the children.  Muffins are his favorite and we ALWAYS have bananas that need to be used instead of trashed.  

These muffins freeze extremely well and taste just as fresh/yummy.  Either defrost overnight on the counter (keep covered) or reheat in the microwave about 20 seconds.

Preheat oven to 350.

1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 tbsp vanilla
1 egg
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 cup semi-sweet choc chips ( I use the mini's)
5 1/2 tbsp butter melted
3 over-ripe bananas

Combine wet ingredients and bananas.  (I use our Kitchen Aid mixer since it mashes the bananas very quickly and effortlessly.  
Then mix in dry ingredients leaving the choc chips until last.  Gently fold those in.

Spray muffin tin and fill 2/3 with batter.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 18-20 minutes or until done.  

Freezer Breakfast Sandwiches

My family LOVES a Saturday morning trip out for breakfast and Erick always asks for one of the fast food places that serves sandwiches.  (Ethan isn't a fan as eggs/cheese make him sick).  I decided it was time to make them in bulk since Adam and I love them, too.  But I needed a recipe that was healthy, quick and easy.

My favorite part about making these is that Adam can warm it up (from freezer, warm for 1 minute) and head off to work.  Erick gets the extra protein he needs and I get to enjoy a fresh breakfast sandwich without worrying about the calorie content.

I used turkey bacon, thinly sliced sharp cheddar, 100 calories muffins, and large eggs.
Each sandwich is 245 calories and tastes AMAZING!

Start by cooking your turkey bacon while the eggs are baking in an extra large muffin tin.  This will give your eggs the perfect shape for muffins.


I sprayed the muffin tin and then sprinkled a little salt/pepper on top of the eggs.  

Baked them at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes.

When they finish, allow them to COMPLETELY cool on a rack before assembling sandwiches.  This will prevent them becoming mushy when re-heating.

Once turkey bacon is finished and completely cooled, off you can begin assembling.

When all of your sandwiches are completed, wrap tightly and securely using clear wrap and then freeze.  They will keep for about 3-4 weeks.  Ours never last that long.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Meal Ideas

Ok so we're all familiar with Pinterest and the typical money-saving meal ideas.  But here are maybe 3 you haven't thought of that we use often around here.  

BLT's in lettuce using Turkey bacon with eggs on the side.

Avocado, corn and salsa in lettuce wraps.

Corn, ground turkey, onions and tomatoes

I think you get the point.  I try to think of our typical meals and then get creative.  So far, no one has complained and the boys actually LOVE all of these.  

Free Haircuts!

One of the ways we've begun really saving is doing all haircuts at home.  The boys are still quite okay with Adam cutting their hair (it's so dang hot and humid here in Miami that we keep it short).  I have recently begun cutting Libby's. Hers is so straight that I just trim the ends and that's it.  We'll keep this up until the children are really asking for formal haircuts. At that point, I plan on hiring girls from church that are much more skilled than we are.  For now, this works.

Because I have curly hair, I can also cut my own (I'll get it professionally done once a year for re-shaping).  I also color my own. I know, I know!!  But I'll start getting that professionally done with we meet a couple more financial goals. 

From Scratch

One of the best ways for us to save money is for me to start making things from scratch.  We go through lots of pancakes, muffins, and bread.  I got into a bad habit of buying the pre-mixes.  Sure, they are cheap enough, but we have financial goals and the budget had to be cut.  I began searching on Pinterest for ways to make my own baked goods from scratch. Turns out, it's actually cheaper to make things the way MawMaw (Grandmother) did.  

So now, I make muffins and pancakes enough to freeze in between finding cereals on really great sales.  We tend to rotate between bakes goods and cereals for breakfasts since they need to be fast and fit the budget.  (My kids HATE oatmeal no matter what I do and I don't have time to cook per their schedules).   This is also how I use up bananas that are over-ripe.

I have also begun making my own chicken broth from the left overs when I cook whole chickens.  IT IS BETTER THAN ANY STORE-BOUGHT, I promise you!  It freezes very well.  Just make sure you leave room for it to expand. Don't ask me how I know this. ;-)

I then use this broth to cook our rice in or for soup. It came in handy this weekend when I came down with the summer cold that's been going around. Oh my word it was sooooo good!

Small Steps

It's amazing to me that one of the ways we stay more organized and save money is for me to stay on top of house chores.  Yes, the children have chores they are responsible for and they are huge helps.  But there are daily things I do to help us feel less stressed.

I begin every single morning putting away dishes from the night before and clearing the counter tops. Is it just me or does your counter collect E V E R Y T H I N G from everyone??  Like we are all allergic to putting away anything and it all accumulates on the kitchen counters. And it drives me bonkers!  So my goal is to get up early every morning and clear them off as much as I can and get dishes put away.  (And notice dinner already going in the crockpot)

I then put on at least 1 load of laundry by 6AM. It's ready for the dryer around 7AM when I leave to start taking kids to school (s). Yes I have 3 kids in 3 DIFFERENT schools with all DIFFERENT schedules. It's maddening but what can ya do?! 

Anywho, I try very hard to get it all dried by 8AM and ready for folding after they are all gone and the house is quiet. I cram in my workout between 8 and 9, then shower, and get started on folding mine and Adam's clothes (the children do their own, PRAISE THE GOOD LORD).

This pic is from this morning. I have a terrible summer cold and was in bed all weekend - hence the mountain of laundry. Usually it's only 1 load.

I then go through the house picking up odds and ends and putting them away. Usually my house is clean by 11 AM. I then relax, read, have lunch and enjoy the quiet knowing my chores, workout and budgeting are done for the day.  I am definitely a morning person so I work very hard from about 6AM-11AM and then I am done the rest of the day.