Thursday, July 29, 2010

Save your veggie scraps and make vegetable broth

I originally shared this tutorial with my readers on my other blog, My Vintage Kitchen

With so many of us tending our vegetable gardens these days, I felt that it was worth it to re-post it here as a reminder to save all your vegetable scraps to make easy, homemade veggie broth. 

After you strain the veggies from the broth, you can then add them to your compost bin and get every last bit of use out of those scraps! 

Except for the carnival links at the bottom, I've just copied and pasted this post in it's original form. 

~February 12, 2010~

I've said before that my Crock-Pot is one of my most-used appliances in my kitchen.  Only to be beat by my constantly running dishwasher! 

After making my own chicken broth (I'll post about that soon...I promise) last month, I decided to find out if vegetable broth can be made in the Crock-Pot.  Sure enough, it can!  Yay! 

Searching the Internet, I found a lot of information for making homemade vegetable broth.  Rachael wrote this post for Buffalo Frugal Living Examiner and it seemed to have the best information for me.  After reading her post and seeing how simple it was to make veggie broth, I wanted to jump right in and make it that very second.  But, it wouldn't have been a very good vegetable broth, since I didn't have any veggie scraps saved. 

I decided to share my  vegetable broth making experience with you and was even prepared with the camera close by  and took step by step photos of the entire process! 

I started by saving all of my veggie scraps while preparing recent meals.  I saved everything:  carrot ends and peels, potato peels, celery (tops, bottoms and leaves) onion peels and tops, bell pepper tops, garlic peels, broccoli stems, cabbage cores, etc. 

I stored the scraps in gallon size Ziplock Freezer Bags in my basement freezer. 

I poured the frozen** scraps into my Crock-Pot.  My oval Crock-Pot only needed one of the gallon-sized bags to fill it.  This particular bag was full of scraps from carrots, peppers, celery, cabbage and onions. 

**Remember:  if you are using cold or frozen vegetable scraps, to start off with a room temperature Crock-Pot.  If it's pre-heated, it may crack when the cold items are added.

I added COLD water to about 1/2 inch from the top.  Then I covered it and cooked on LOW for about 13 hours. 

After letting it simmer through the night, this is what it looked like in the morning.  I took the lid off and let it cool for about half an hour. 

I placed  a large bowl in my sink and then placed my colander inside of the bowl to strain the veggies from the broth. 

I used a large ladle to scoop out most of the veggies and broth and let it strain through the colander and into the bowl until there was enough removed so that I could pour it through the strainer without making much of a mess! 

After that, I just had to pour it into my large measuring cup to see just how much broth was made!  It's past the 8 cup line!  So, that's about 4 cans of broth.  Four less cans I have to buy not only means that I saved money, but four less cans to throw away recycle. 

My next step will be to pour it into Ziplock Freezer Bags when it's finished cooling.  I'll store them in 2 cup portions and freeze flat on the shelf of my kitchen freezer.  Once they are solid, they will stack nicely in my basement freezer! 

I will be sharing this blog post with the following blog carnivals this week: 

Before you take down that old wall paper....

We moved into our home 3 years ago.  When we first looked at the house, we knew we would be taking down the old wall paper in the kitchen.

A couple of months after we moved in, we had our three nieces overnight.  We didn't have any games or toys for them, so I planned for a craft day for that first day.

We started with painting a mural on the largest kitchen wall.  I dug out some little bottles of paint and some foam brushes from my craft stash and let the kids paint the wall!  The kids thought it was great! They thought I was great! 

I loved that this was a cheap activity.  It really didn't cost me anything, since I had the brushes and paints in my craft room already. 

Note:  I chose these pics of the kids since their faces aren't showing.  I have other pictures of them smiling prettily into the camera, but I didn't ask their mom's permission to post them. 

If you decide to do this with your kids, make sure you have a plan.  We thought we would have the kitchen painted shortly after I let the kids paint on the wall.  But that didn't happen.  I lived with this on my wall for almost a year.  As cute as it is, the novelty wore off after a couple of days. 

I'll be linking this post to the following blog carnivals: 

Dairy Queen: Miracle Treat Day ~ August 5th, 2010

August 5th, 2010 is Miracle Treat Day at Dairy Queen. 

What this means is, that for every Blizzard treat sold on that day, $1 or more will go toward helping sick or injured children at Children's Miracle Network Hospitals. 

DQ has been raising money for Children's Miracle Network Hospitals since 1984 and has raised over $81 million dollars so far! 

Check out the Miracle Treat Day website.  You can enter your zipcode to find a participating DQ in your neighborhood, you can RSVP on facebook, you can read more about Children's Miracle Network or just make a donation. 

I read about DQ's Miracle Treat Day on Freebies For Friends.  I was going to post this with other deals I found on FFF but felt this deserved a post of it's own.  If you have a facebook account, I definitely think you should check out the Freebies For Friends page! 

I'll be linking this to the following blog carnivals. 
Please, feel free to repost this.  It's for a wonderful cause!

Freebies For Friends: Smucker's Recipe Booklet and Gorton's seafood coupon

I want to share a  couple deals that I read about on Freebies For Friends.  If you have a facebook account, I definitely think you should check out the Freebies For Friends page! 

Today, while catching up on my facebook reading, I came across this deal from Smucker's posted at Freebies For Friends. 

They are offering 2 free recipe booklets mailed to your door!  To request your free Smucker's Recipe booklets, you'll have to send in postcards.  Click on the previous link to find out where to send your requests!   

I also found out about a 50 cent coupon for Gorton's seafood.  Go to the coupons and promotions page on the Gorton's website to get your printable coupon.  You can also enter a giveaway that they are running, but you have to enter soon, since it ends on July 30th. 

If you want to find more deals like this, join Freebies for Friends by clicking the "like" button on facebook!  Last week, I mentioned that they were hoping for 300 members by last Friday.  They reached 300 members and are well past 400 now!  So, the new goal is for 500 for this Friday! 

I'll be linking this post to the following blogs: 

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Earn Money from Home: Survey Savvy ~ Join today!

Do you want to earn some extra cash?  It's just about time for school shopping and before you know it, Christmas will be here!  I know.  I'm sorry.  That's a scary thought. 

I've posted about Survey Savvy before, but I figured they are worth mentioning again.

What I like the most about Survey Savvy is that you earn money right away from doing surveys.  You don't have to do a lot of surveys to add up points in order to get paid.  You also don't have to wait until you earn a certain dollar amount. 

It does take a few weeks for the compensation to show on your account, but once it does you can request a check.  For me, it just makes sense to let it add up a bit before making a check request.  If it's not in my hands, I can't spend it.  If I let it accumulate, I can use it towards Christmas. 

They offer a fabulous referral program, too:

Not only do you earn incentives when you complete a survey, but also when your referrals complete surveys AND when the referrals of your referrals complete surveys. 

I haven't earned a lot, but that's my fault.  I haven't been taking the time to do as many surveys as I could.  The more you complete, the more you earn.

These days, for my family, every little bit helps.  So a few minutes here and there to earn a few extra dollars is worth it to me.

Join Survey Savvy now and start earning some extra CASH! 

I will be linking this post to the following blogs:  

Giveaway News: Susie's South Forty Confections

Real quick, I want to share with you a giveaway over at my friend Colie's blog.  I totally dropped the ball on this one.  I really should have mentioned this giveaway sooner, but stress got the best of me.  Sorry, guys! 

Welcome to Colie's Kitchen has teamed up with Susie's South Forty Confections to give one of her lucky readers some Pecan Toffee and Texas Trash! 

Colie is offering you 10 chances to win this tasty prize, so hurry over to her blog and ENTER!  Giveaway ends on August 4th at 10:00 p.m. EST. 

Menu Plan Monday: week of July 26th ~ Goodbye July

These late Menu Plan Monday posts are starting to become a habit.  I like to work on my Monday posts during the weekend but the past few weekends really haven't allowed for that "schedule". 

July is almost over and honestly, I'll be glad to see it go.  This month has been really stressful mentally and financially. 

Here's a bit of what's been going on with us this past month:

Grace is getting four of her top teeth all at once.  Although, teething hasn't been as bad as I expected, she's still not her normal, happy baby self. 

My dad was in the hospital this month and for the three days the doctors were running tests on him left me very nervous and stressed.  The not knowing is pretty awful.  Add to that, my new-found Grey's Anatomy addiction and all sorts of scenarios were running through my head! 

The two things above are pretty much mental stress.  The financial stress also contributes to mental stress. 

This month, we've had a lot of added expenses.  Dental bills, hospital bills for Grace's bloodwork that wasn't covered by insurance.  We just can't seem to get ahead. 

A few other issues that I don't want to share  at the moment, but they are bit of both the mental and financial stress put together. 

I'm hoping that August will be a better month for us. 

This week, in order to attempt to recover from the extra expenses, I'm going to do some cooking from the pantry and freezer.

Here's what is planned for this week: 

  • Monday:  Leftovers
  • Tuesday:  Chili (from the freezer) served over white rice
  • Wednesday:  Scallops and vegetables over pasta
  • Thursday: Chicken, baked potatoes, veggie
  • Friday: Leftover night
  • Saturday: breakfast for dinner
  • Sunday:  Spaghetti & meatballs 
I assigned days for the menu plan, something I don't always do.  But for this week, I felt the need for a bit more structure.  That's not to say that I won't just switch things around anyway! 

I don't have any links for you this week.  My chili is different every time I make it and I never get around to writing it down as I make it.  I'll have to remember to do that the neext time.  I'm using store bought frozen meatballs this weekend just to use them up and get them out of the freezer, I'll probably use jarred sauce too, since I don't have any homemade sauce left. 

I do have a picture of the scallops and vegetables over pasta to share with you.  I took the picture the last time I made it, but forgot to write the measurements down as  I prepared it.  I'll try to remember this time.  For now, here's a picture: 

Pretty much the only thing we'll be buying at the store this week will be milk, fresh fruit and veggies.  I'm pretty sure we have everything else we'll need for meals.   

Saturday, July 24, 2010

My baby, the TV Junkie

Grace is a TV junkie.  She was barely a few weeks old when she started to notice the TV. 

It started with America's Next Top Model.  Everytime she heard Tyra's voice, she'd turn to try to see the TV. 

I blame myself.  I watched WAY too much TV while I was pregnant with her.   And ANTM was is my biggest guilty pleasure! 

Soon after noticing that she was drawn to the television, we started keeping kids' shows on for background noise during the day.  Grace likes anything with lots of music, singing and dancing! 

She seemed to like Yo Gabba Gabba the most and it's still one of her favorites!  (My favorite is the episode with Jack Black!) 

Once she was able to pull herself to her feet, she would crawl over to the TV and stand in front of it.  It's to the point that if we have company, I have to turn off the television or else she will ignore anyone that is visiting. 

Since she's been walking, it's gotten a little better.  She'll run around the house, stop and watch a minute or two of TV, then run and grab a toy, then right back at the TV.  And it doesn't matter if it's one of her shows or something that we prefer to watch, she'll be right there in front of the TV. 

Here's a picture of my little TV junkie in her favorite spot, watching her favorite show: 

I have a lot of pictures of her in that spot.  She's not going to be a happy camper when Joe hangs the TV above the fireplace!  I'm hoping he'll do it before Christmas so we have room for the Christmas tree! 

My Vintage Kitchen: Gooey Butter Cookies

The recipe that I am sharing today, was originally posted on my other blog, My Vintage Kitchen

My friend Lisa shared this recipe with me after I mentioned many times that I was looking for a cookie just like this one!  (She now makes a gluten free version of these cookies!)

I first made these cookies last Christmas.  These were my contribution to the dessert table for Christmas Eve dinner with Joe's family and Christmas Brunch with my family.  I stuck to the original recipe and used a yellow cake mix for the base.  They were a hit! 

I also made them for New Year's Eve.  That time, I also made a chocolate version by switching out the yellow cake mix for a chocolate cake mix.

Since they are so easy to make (and usually the first dessert to disappear from the sweet table) I figure I'll be making these for Thanksgiving!  This time, in additon to the chocolate and yellow varieties, I plan to try them using a spice cake mix! 

Gooey Butter Cookies


  • chocolate cake mix
  • 1 egg
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1 stick of butter, softened
  • powdered sugar
  • Add cake mix, egg, cream cheese and butter in a bowl. Mix until well combined.
  • Chill over night (or at least 4 hours)
  • Roll into balls to desired size.
  • Roll in powdered sugar.
  • Bake at 350* for 9-12 minutes.
Since then, I've also made them using lemon cake mix and we really enjoyed them!  They are so light!  A perfect dessert to pair with a spring or summer meal!  My sister-in-law suggested making strawberry cookies using a strawberry cake mix.  I haven't tried those yet.
Usually, when I make these cookies, I'll make 3 different flavors at a time.  After mixing up the cookie dough and letting them chill, I'll bake about 2 dozen of each flavor.  The rest of the dough freezes well.  Especially if they are rolled into balls before freezing.  (I don't add the powdered sugar until I am ready to thaw them out and bake them.) 

You can find this recipe linked to the following blog carnivals: 

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Freebie For Friends ~ Save on Coffee-Mate Creamer

I want to share another deal that I read about on Freebies For Friends.  If you have a facebook account, I definitely think you should check out the Freebies For Friends page! 

Today, while catching up on my facebook reading, I saw this Coffee Mate deal that I wanted to share with you. 

Check out the Coffee Mate website and find 2 printable coupons for your choice of liquid or powder creamers. 

If you want to find more deals like this, join Freebies for Friends by clicking the "like" button on facebook!  They are hoping for 300 members by Friday! 
They are pretty close right now! 

I'll be linking this post to the following blogs: 

Last chance to enter Colie's Kitchen CSN Stores giveaway!

Just wanted to give you all a final reminder to enter  Welcome to Colie's Kitchen's CSN Stores Giveaway!  This time she is teaming up with for a "Bring More Light in Your Life" giveaway!  You are able to get up to 10 entries and the  giveaway prize is a $40 gift certificate! 

Hurry and enter!  The giveaway ends tonight at 10:00 p.m. CST. 


Click here to enter!

Isn't this pretty?  This will look nice in our guest room if I ever get it cleaned out and decorated!  I think I might choose this if I win Nicole's giveaway!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

I have a button! Grab it!

I'm so excited!  Thanks to my "forever friend" Lisa, I have a button in my sidebar! 

I mentioned to her over the weekend that I wanted to add a button to my sidebar. 

Knowing that I'm pretty clueless when it comes to computer stuff and also knowing that my computer is rarely cooperative (it's old and slow), she created a button for me. 

Then, being the great friend that she is, she also installed it for me!

I love it!!!! 

I love her!!!! 

I really like the way my blog is starting to look with the new design, background, the category tabs at the top (still a work in progress) and now my new button!   

I can't believe it's almost a year since I started this.  I really wasn't sure I would last this long!  But I'm having so much fun and  I still have so much to I said, I'm pretty clueless about all of this computer stuff! 

Check out Lisa's blog: 

She has some really great recipes posted.  Her latest recipe is for a gluten free Cinnamon Coffee Cake!  Mmmmm!  Can't wait to try this one!

Just a reminder: Colie's Kitchen CSN Stores giveaway

Today has been a rough day.  (Maybe that should say "yesterday" since it's officially Tuesday morning since it's now past midnight.)  I guess I am still recovering from my lack of sleep last week.  I had huge plans to work on several blog posts today, but my brain just wasn't allowing me to focus. 

Before I go to bed, I wanted to post this reminder: 

My friend, Nicole, from  Welcome to Colie's Kitchen is hosting another CSN Stores Giveaway!  This time she is teaming up with for a "Bring More Light in Your Life" giveaway!  You are able to get up to 10 entries and the  giveaway prize is a $40 gift certificate! 

Enter now, since the giveaway end on July 21st. 

Click here to enter!

Isn't this pretty?  This will look nice in our guest room if I ever get it cleaned out and decorated!  I think I might choose this if I win Nicole's giveaway!

Monday, July 19, 2010

I'm going to lose it! My weightloss journey

I learned something last week: 

stress + sleepless nights = stress eating

stress eating does not = weightloss 

Luckily for me though, stress eating didn't equal a gain either!

I started the week off okay.  Other than the fact that I had a huge headache.  I believe it was from lack of caffeine.  I went from drinking sugar filled iced tea, to drinking water. 

On Wednesday, I was craving cookies and asked Joe to buy some when he stopped for diapers on his way home from work.  Wednesday night, my mom called to tell me that my dad was in the hospital and the stress eating began. 

I hardly slept that night and on Thursday night, I was exhausted.  But Grace had other ideas and kept me up all night.  She didn't fall asleep until 5 a.m. and I  needed to be up at 7:00. 

I didn't exercise at all this week.  It was too hot to walk and I didn't get the Wii set up yet.  I did manage (with the help of a friend) to get the guest room cleared out enough that I will be able to use the Wii Fit. 

We moved the guest bed into Grace's room, so now the guest room isn't a guest room anymore, I guess it's the office now.  We'll be moving the exercise bike into the "office" and getting a cable box for the TV.  I'm hoping that will inspire me to get some exercise time in each day. 

I cannot tell you how relieved I was when I stepped on the scale this morning and saw that I am the same weight as last week.  Sure,  a loss would have been more pleasing.  But I had to be realistic when I stepped on the scale this morning.  I had to be honest with myself and know that a gain was possible and a loss was not. 

A gain would have been a set back and this soon in the game, could have been a major set back and knowing my track record with past diets, could have caused me to give up.  So, the fact that I'm the same as last week, is a huge blessing! 

I'm only going to make one new goal for this week and that is to increase the amount of fruit and veggies I eat each day.  That may not reflect in my menu planning but I am going to try to snack on the fruits and veggies when I am in the mood to just munch on something.

Aside from increasing the fruits and vegetables, I want to work on my missed goals from last week
  • increase begin exercising
  • drink more water
Something else that I need to do is to remember not be too hard on myself for my failures.  I'm really good at giving that advice to others.  I'm not so good at following that advice myself. 

I hope you all have a great week! 

How To Homemaker

I'll be linking this post to the "How To" Homemaker's Healthy Living blog carnival.

Menu Plan Monday ~ week of July, 19th

I have no memory of meals from last week.  I know I didn't stick to any type of plan. 

For starters, Joe had some dental surgery in the beginning of the week and wasn't really in the mood to eat more than just a couple of bites of this or that. 

I had a stressful week and 2 sleepless nights, so aside from feeding the baby, Joe and I really just winged it when it came to dinners. 

This week, I'm wanting to use up some stuff from the freezer so I can start doing some freezer cooking in either August or September.  Here's what's planned for this week: 

  • meatloaf, mashed potatoes, corn

* From the freezer.

Usually, if I plan 5 meals, there are plenty of leftovers for the rest of the week.  If for some reason there aren't any leftovers, I will fill in the rest of the week with grilled hot dogs or something easy! 

I haven't decided what recipe I plan to use for the meatloaf.  There are a few different recipes that we like.  Lisa's Old-Fashioned Meatloaf is one of our favorites. 

As always, I'm linking this post to I'm an Organized Junkie's weekly Menu Plan Monday blog carnival! 

Friday, July 16, 2010

Giveaway News: Debbi Does Dinner & CSN Stores

  Have I told you how much I love CSN Stores?  I'm sure I've mentioned it before!  Here's one of the reasons I love them: 

Debbi Does Dinner...Healthy & Low Calorie is celebrating her 200th post with a CSN Stores giveaway!  Yay! 

One of Debbi's lucky readers will win a $40 CSN Stores gift certificate!  I sure hope it's me!  I have my eye on a few things from their online stores! 

Bissell Flip-It Bare Floor Cleaner

Squeak Me Shoes Mary Janes

Bai Design Satin School Retro Modern Wall Clock

You have to enter to win! 
So, follow this link to Debbi's giveaway! 
Hurry!  Because she's picking a winner on Monday! 
Good Luck! 
I hope it's me! 

Happy Friday!

Happy Friday, everyone! 

I just want to wish everyone a wonderful weekend!  I'm hoping for a restful weekend, since in the past couple of days, I've only managed a total of 4 hours sleep. 

Before I go and try to begin my lazy weekend, I wanted to ask you all to keep my parents in your prayers.  My dad hasn't been feeling well and my mom finally talked him into letting her take him to the hospital.  They admitted him on Wednesday and are running a lot of tests to see what's going on.  Mom has been running from the hospital to her job, to home and then to the hospital again and I hope she doesn't get sick herself with all that running around.

I really can't share any more information than that, since that's all I know myself.  Plus, my parents are super-private people.  But I'm sure they'd appreciate knowing that my friends are keeping them in their prayers. 


Giveaway News: Colie's Kitchen &

It's been a heck of a morning already and it's only 5:30 am.  I didn't get any sleep last night, unless you count the 5 minutes I dozed off before Grace decided to use my face for a pillow. 

She woke up at midnight and I changed her diaper and gave her a bottle.  I'm not sure what her problem was last night, I just couldn't get her to go back to sleep. 

I finally got her to sleep about a 1/2 hour ago and I want to take a nap before we step out for the morning. 

But before I go take a short nap, I wanted to share the latest giveaway news. 

My friend, Nicole, from  Welcome to Colie's Kitchen is hosting another CSN Stores Giveaway!  This time she is teaming up with for a "Bring More Light in Your Life" giveaway!  You are able to get up to 10 entries and the  giveaway prize is a $40 gift certificate! 

Isn't this pretty?  This will look nice in our guest room if I ever get it cleaned out and decorated!  I think I might choose this if I win Nicole's giveaway!

Frugal Summer Fun ~ Check out your local Community Days

On Sunday, Joe and I took Grace out for some Frugal Summer Fun. 

Well, sorta. 

Oh, it was frugal! 

And it was summer! 

The word in question right now is FUN! 

Let me explain: 

We live near a park that has a wonderful, old carousel that is only open a few Sundays out of the year. 

A couple of weekends ago, I checked to see when they would have the carousel open so we could take Grace for her first ride on the merry-go-round. 

I was so happy to see that they were open last Sunday and we didn't have any plans.  We called Grace's aunt and uncle to see if they would meet us there.  I had her dressed in a pretty, red dress and had her hair up in pig tails, hoping to get a perfect picture of her on the carousel horse. 

When we arrived, we found out that the next park over (they are joined by a walking bridge) was hosting the town's community day. 

Grace was too young for the activities going on at the community day, but seemed to enjoy being outside and watching all the people and listening to the band that was playing at one of the nearby booths. 

As long as we didn't sit still for too long, she was fine!  Grace likes to keep moving when she's in her stroller! 

All of the prices at the community day were really reasonable.  It looked as if the activities for the kids were either free or they were taking a small donation.  They had lots of booths selling fair-type foods.  I settled for a big tray of fries.  (Only $2)  They were yummy and I really enjoyed them since I only managed to eat a yogurt  just before we walked out of the house and it was well-past lunch time! 

After we all grabbed something to eat, we decided to walk over to the other park to put Grace on the carousel.  

To get to the carousel, we had to walk up a huge mountain hill.  You can read more about that here

Grace wasn't thrilled about the hill.   Her daddy and uncle carried the stroller with her in it to the top.  And she was a little more than cranky by the time I got up there. 

The guys found some seats and bought some drinks while her aunt and I took her inside the building that houses the carousel and let her watch the horses go round and round.  She seemed to be pretty interested. 

I ran over to buy some tickets.  They were 3 for $1.00 so I bought 9 tickets thinking that we could all ride 3 times.  (I'm pretty sure the proceeds go to the maintenance of the ride.) 

The line was already too long to get on the very next run, so we let Grace watch the horses again before it was our turn. 

Finally, the ride stopped and it was our turn.  We grabbed 2 horses next to each other.  I climbed on and put Grace on my lap.  She wasn't thrilled.  The carousel started to move and she hated it!  She screamed and squirmed the entire ride!  She managed to kick off her shoes and lose both of the rubberbands that were holding her pigtails! 

When the carousel finally stopped, we gathered up the stuff Grace dropped (shoes, pacifier) and went to sit with the guys.  Grace was still fussing and squirming, so I took her outside the building.  She could still see the carousel through the open windows, but wasn't as worried that I'd force her to ride it again! 

After she calmed down, we went back inside.   There were a few tables with postcards and other souvenirs.  I bought Grace a little plush stick horse (made us all think of Jose Jalapeno...on a stick!) that she just loves to wave around like a baton! 

Grace was calm and I took her over to see her daddy and we were visited by our nephews and their friends.  We tried to give them our extra tickets but they didn't want them.  The tickets would be good for the rest of the summer, but chances are Grace won't like the carousel before the summer is over.  So, we left the tickets on the table hoping that the next family to sit there would be able to use them. 

We finished up our drinks and decided to leave.  We tried to find another way to get to our car so we could avoid that mountain hill, but that would have taken us really out of our way, so we had one of our nephews carry the diaper bag down the hill while Joe carried Grace and I pushed the empty stroller. 

When we got to the truck, I was emptying my pockets and realized that we really didn't spend that much  money.  $2 for the fries, $3 for the carousel tickets, $3 for the bottles of water and $2 for the stick horse.  (We could have spent less if we took our own drinks, but I already had Grace's bag with us and that was pretty heavy.)

A total of $10 for a summer afternoon activity for the three of us.  Not bad.  It may not have turned out as wonderful as I would have hoped with the cranky baby, but we will definitely keep our local towns' community days in mind for next summer!

I'll be linking this post to the following blogs: 

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Freebies For Friends ~ Fla-Vor-Ice Flavor Finder Giveaway

I want to share another deal that I read about on Freebies For Friends.  If you have a facebook account, I definitely think you should check out the Freebies For Friends page! 

I love Fla-Vor-Ice!  I especially love the sugar-free variety Fla-Vor-Ice Light.  They are sweetened with Splenda and a great sweet treat when your dieting!   Right now, I don't have any room in my freezer for these frozen treats, but when I was dieting and working, I kept a box of these babies, in the lunch room freezer! 

Today, Freebies For Friends shared a link to the Fla-Vor-Ice Flavor Finder Giveaway.  Where you can play for a chance to win one of over a hundred prizes!  Some of the prizes include beach towels and gift cards! 

I played today, but I didn't win.  I'm not giving up though, since you can play everyday for a chance to win! 

I'm linking to the following carnivals:

Announcing the CSN Store $40 Gift Certificate Giveaway Winner

I'm sorry, I should have made this announcement earlier today, but I received some stressful news last night just before the giveaway closed.  I picked the winner last night but today I spent a lot of time on the phone and away from the computer.  What time I wasn't on the phone, I was chasing Grace around the house. 

Before I announce the winner, I want to thank Caitlin from CSN Stores for giving me the chance to offer this great giveaway to my readers!  It was a lot of fun and I hope I'll be able to offer some more giveaways in the future! 

I also want to thank all of you that took the time to enter by following, subscribing, blogging and checking out the CSN Stores website.  It was a lot of fun reading the comments and finding out just what is on everyone's CSN Stores Wish List! 

Now that the thank yous have been taken care of, let me announce the winner....

Stacy from Moderate Means

Congratulations, Stacy!  I'll be contacting Caitlin from CSN Stores to give her your information!  Have fun shopping! 

My Vintage Kitchen: Homemade Barbecue Sauce

This recipe originally appeared on my other blog, My Vintage Kitchen.  I wanted to repost it here to share with my Under the Big Oak Tree readers!  I hope you enjoy this recipe. 

We usually use store bought barbecue sauce but we ran out a couple weeks ago. The store was sold out of our favorite brand (Famous Dave's Sweet & Zesty) and I didn't care for the brand that Joe bought instead. It had way too much smoke flavor for my taste. 

I checked out my Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book (it's seen better days) and found a basic recipe. I was happy that I had all of the ingredients needed. As always, I adapted this recipe to suit our tastes and added or switched some of the ingredients.

Easy Barbecue Sauce


1 C. ketchup
1/4 C. apple cider vinegar
1/2 C. water
1 1/2 T. brown sugar
1 T. Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce
1 T. brown mustard
3 T. finely diced onion
1 T. finely diced celery
1/4 tsp. celery seed
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 oz. liquid smoke
several dashes of Tabasco Chipotle Pepper Sauce
ground black pepper to taste


In a small sauce pot, stir together all ingredients. Bring to boil over medium heat, stirring often. After sauce comes to a boil, reduce heat and simmer (uncovered) until sauce is thick, stirring often.

A couple of years ago, I never would have made my own barbecue sauce.  I wouldn't have even thought to do it.  I'm so happy that I made this sauce, it was so easy and so much cheaper than the store bought sauces.   I think we'll be sticking with this sauce for more daily use and save our favorites store bought brand as a treat. 

I'm linking this recipe to the Ultimate Recipe Swap hosted by Life As Mom.
Check out the "So Long to Summer Blog BBQ" over at Singing with Birds: 

Singing With Birds

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Coupon: Check out the Tabasco Sauce Website

My husband uses a lot of hot sauce.  He'll try any brand or variety of hot sauce, but his favorite brand is Tabasco.  It's a classic. We always have the original Tabasco in our fridge, as well as, the Chipotle Pepper Sauce

I add them both to a lot of recipes and if I don't, Joe will usually add a few dashes of hot sauce to his own serving. 

I was recently checking out the Tabasco website.  Their site it fun and very informative.   

Did you know that you can order Tabasco Sauce by the gallon

Or that (for an extra charge) you could have that gallon jug of hot sauce personalized

There are all sorts of fun hot sauce oriented products in their online Country Store:  

Tabasco boxers, anyone? 


I really love this platter! 

You can search for recipes using the Tabasco products or see  cooking demos with step by step photos.

You can even learn about the history of the McIlhenny Co. and watch how Tabasco Sauce is made in an audio slideshow. 

I'd love to get my hands on some of those vintage ads!  They would look great, framed and hung in my kitchen!  Especially the one with the checkered table cloth! 

You can also find a printable coupon on their website!  Follow this link to find out how you can get a coupon for  50 cents off any size, any pepper flavor Tabasco Sauce. 

I'll be linking this post to the following blogs: 
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