Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Chicken & Dumplings Recipe

I adapted this recipe to a Crock Pot Recipe because we like it better cooked low and slow! I love to put everything in my crockpot in the morning, walking away and knowing that dinner will be ready late in the afternoon. This is my 13 year old daughters favorite crock pot meal. We haven't had it in a while and its on the menu for next Monday.

The recipe came from my Aunt Bernice.

Chicken & Dumplings

3 cans chicken broth
2 cans cream of chicken soup (homemade recipe below)
4 chicken breasts
2 cups water
10 large or 15 small tortillas (cut into strips or squares)

Cook chicken in the broth & water till done (this part is done on the stove top). Remove Chicken & cut. In the crockpot whisk cream soup into broth and water. Add the chicken. Season with salt and pepper to taste, Stir in the cut tortilla strips. Cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours.

*We use the regular flour tortillas. We tried the whole wheat tortillas and they didn't turn out right.

Homemade Cream of Chicken Soup ( yeild 3 cups which is about 2 cans)
Recipe from Tammy's

1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/2 tsp. poultry seasoning
1/4 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/8 tsp. black pepper
1/2 or more tsp. salt (sometimes we have to add extra salt)
1/4 tsp. parsley
1 1/2 c. milk
3/4 plain flour

1. In a med. size pan, boil chicken broth, 1/2 cup of the milk, and the seasonings.

2. In a bowl whisk together the remaining milk and flour. Add to the boiling broth mixture and continue whisking briskly until mixture boils and thickens.

We started making our own cream soups about 1 1/2 years ago when we realized that all the regular commercial brands contained MSG. I had just started reading all the labels of everything we bought (from reading "Nourishing Traditions) and was surprised to see how much MSG and HFCS was in all of our food. I do like the organic versions but sometimes they are not budget friendly. I usually quadruple the recipe and freeze the extra in 2 can measurements to use for future recipes.

Hope you enjoy making the Chicken & Dumplings - its a favorite at our home!

For more great crock pot recipes please visit

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Blueberry Muffins

Blueberry Muffins (recipe from my sister in GA)

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 c. sugar
2 c. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
2 1/2 c. blueberries (fresh or frozen)

Cream butter and sugar together. Add in all other ingredients except blueberries and blend well. Fold in the blueberries & spoon mixture into paper-lined muffin cups. Bake at 35o degrees for 15-20 minutes. Makes about 1 1/2 dozen.

*My variations on the original recipe
omit butter & use 1/2 cup coconut oil
omit sugar & use 1 1/4 cups sucanat
omit plain flour & use 2 cups fresh ground soft white wheat

These muffins are super yummy. I usually double or triple the recipe and freeze for breakfasts during the week. They thaw and reheat well! Everyone loves them. Enjoy!

For other cupcake and muffin recipes, please visit!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Lots of Menu's

Several years ago I asked everyone what their favorite dinners were, so that I could begin making menus. We had gotten to the point where I felt like we were eating the same things over and over. We made up the following lists on our drive to GA one day...

Homemade Macaroni & Cheese
Peas/green beans/ lima beans

Pirate Stew (Fix It & Forget It Cookbook)

Baked Hamburgers or country fried steak
Mashed potatoes or rice/gravy
crowder peas/green peas

Scalloped Potatoes & Ham (Fix It & Forget It Cookbook)
Green Vegie

Garlic Bread

Grilled Hamburgers/Hot Dogs
Baked Beans
Tater Tots/French Fries/Chips

Chicken & Dumplings
Lima Beans/Peas

Large salad with the following
eggs, cheese, croutons, popcorn chicken, garbanz0 beans, salad dressing
and whatever else we feel like that night!

Fish Fillets
Corn/brussell sprouts
Baked Potatoes

Taco's with salsa, cheese, tomatoes
Refried Beans

Grilled Pork Chops
Corn on the Cob
baked or Sweet Potato

Chili with cheese/sour cream

Sloppy Joes
Tater Tots/chips

Split Pea Soup (Fix It & Forget It Cookbook)
Croutons/Oyster Crackers

Brunswick Stew

Barbeque Pork Shoulder
Potato Salad
Baked Beans

Mashed Potatoes/brown gravy
Carrots & Green Beans

Philly Cheese Steak Sandwiches
Broccoli Salad or Cole Slaw

Chicken Strips/fingers
Cheddar Broccoli Rice
Field Peas

Homemade Pizza includes...
cheeses, peperoni, italian sausage, ham

Garlic Bread

Spiral sliced Ham
Sweet Potatoes
green peas/black eyed peas

tater Tots
Jalapeno Poppers

Chicken Pot Pie

Loaded Baked Potatoes +
ham, cheese, sour cream

Steak Stir Fry with
onions, bell peppers, stir fry vegies

Steak Stroganoff (Fix It & Forget It)
Whole Wheat Noodles
Green Beans

Homemade Vegie Soup (Fix It & Forget It)
Cheddar Drop Biscuits

Greg's Awesome Baby Back Ribs
Baked Beans
Cole Slaw/Broccoli Salad

Thats 29 yummy menu's that we can choose from. Any of the vegies are interchangeable, it just depends on what we have and what we feel like that day. I really like to use my 6 qt. crockpot and my favorite crockpot cookbook is "Fix It & Forget It" And some nights, Greg & I sneak off for a date and the kids fix their own dinner. Greg usually takes leftovers to work for lunch and we eat them for lunches in the middle of our homeschool day.

I've been lazy lately with the menu planning and its time to start again. I started this morning and have the menu planned for this week!

Free Pasta from Ronzoni

Ronzoni is having a contest and giving away free pasta....

Copy and paste the link to enter the contest

Menu Plan Monday

Menus for the week...

Sunday: Grilled Pork Loin, Baked Beans. French Fries

Monday: Scrambled Eggs with Ham, Biscuits (Dad is out of town)

Tuesday: Chicken Alfredo with broccoli

Wednesday: Roast & Carrots, Mashed Potates & Gravy, Green Beans

Thursday: Spaghetti & Garlic bread

Friday: Hot Dogs, Chips & Dip (RV'ing at college football game)

Saturday: Grilled Burgers, Cole Slaw, Baked Beans

Head on over to "I'm an Organizing Junkie" at for more great weekly menu ideas!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Fall Decorations

Its beginning to look alot like Fall, at least in the house. I am ready for it to feel like it outside too!
I love the turkey! We found it at Lowe's and Greg bought it for my birthday! He is standing on the table runner I made last year. Happy Fall Y'all!!!!!!

Frugal Laundry Aids

As of Feb., I have joined the ranks of the legions of folks making their own laundry is so easy to do, lasts for a long time and is very, very inexpensive. When I first made it, I tacked a piece of paper above the washer and had everyone make a hash mark everytime they did a load of laundry. At the end of the first bucket of detergent, I added up the number of marks and divided it into the cost detergent and the result was 1/2 cent per load. My cost didn't include the water used to make the detergent. You can't beat 1/2 cent anywhere, under any label. And the detergent cleans well. I got my bucket and lid for free by asking at the Kroger Bakery Dept. if they had any extra and they gave me one. Their icing comes premade in large buckets and if you ask at the right time, you can get the bucket and lid.

Laundry Detergent
1 bar Ivory Soap
1/2 cup Arm & Hammer Washing Soda (not baking soda)
1/2 cup 20 Mule Team borax

Grate the bar of soap and put into a large pan. Add 6 cups of water and heat, stir until soap melts. Add Washing Soda and Borax, stir until dissolved. Pour 4 cups hot water into bucket, add soap mixture and stir. Then stir in 2 gallons of water. Let soap sit for 24 hours to gel. Then stir and use. I use 1/4 cup per load for my front load high efficiency washer.

For a top load washer you may need 1/3 to 1/2 cup. I use a long wooden paint stirrer stick from Home Depot to stir and the end.

Homemade Fabric Softener

3 cups water
1/2 cups white vinegar
1 cup hair conditioner

Stir together well and put into container. Shake well before each use. Use like downey.

I use the cheapest cond. I can find (usually the coconut scent). And I store this in an old fabric softener bottle. Works great and no static.

Also, I read about just using White Vinegar instead of fabric softener so I thought I would try it. I have used it on our whites for months now (1/3 c.) works really good and no, the whites don't smell like pickles. They don't have a smell at all. It is supposed to help cut down on the softener left in the towels and help them absorb better. Also, at Walmart you can buy a gallon of white vinegar for about $2.50 so this will last a good long time.

I had found a recipe for stain spray but wasn't please with the results. It just didn't cut through the grease, so for right now I am back to 409. I have been able to treat some stains by rubbing a little of the detergent right on the stain and letting it sit a little while. That has been a good alternative, but still doesn't work well on Allen's greasy spots waiter clothes.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Ultimate Recipe Swap

2 recipes that scream Fall at our house are Gingerbread and Macaroni & Cheese. Well, to be honest Macaroni & Cheese is a year round recipe but to me it says fall is coming.

Old-Fashioned Gingerbread

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 cup Molasses
2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup hot water

Cream butter and sugar, add egg and molasses. Add sifted dry ing. and hot water, beat until smooth. Batter will be soft (runny). Pour into a greased shallow pan and bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.

I got the gingerbread recipe out of an old Southern Living desserts cookbook by grandmother gave me in 1982. It is the best gingerbread cake recipe I have ever tried. I use "Grandma's Molasses" when I make it and bake in a glass Pyrex rectangle dish.

Macaroni & Cheese

1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup plain flour
1tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. white pepper
2 cups milk
8 oz. elbow noodles
1/2 - 3/4 lb. cheddar cheese

Cook elbow noodles as package directs. Drain and set aside. Over low heat, melt the butter. Remove from heat and add flour, salt & pepper- stir until well blended. Return to low heat and slowly add milk - stir continously until mixture thickens and begins to boil. Then turn burner down to simmer and cook 1 more minute, then remove from heat. Stir in 1/2 of the Cheddar Cheese - stir until melted. Pour over cooked noodles and stir well. Place in a pyrex baking dish and top with the rest of the cheese. Place in a 350 degree oven until cheese melts.

This recipe easily doubles, triples or quadruples. It can be frozen and reheated. Its great as a meat substitute in meals with vegies or served as a side dish. Right before Greg and I got married 4 years ago, we did counseling with my Pastor. When he asked Greg "why do you want to marry Donna", Greg looked at him with a straight face and in a serious voice answered him"Have you tasted her Macaroni and Cheese". My honey certainly does enjoy his mac & cheese dinner nights!

For more great Fall recipes please visit

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

turning 50

The following was on a card from my 20 year old son.....

WOW! 50 years is a long time!
Do you realise when you were a kid.....

Remote meant a secluded spot off the beaten path.
Cable was something that supported a bridge.
A video game was trying to make out what the fuzzy images were on a snowy black & white 10 inch tv screen.
A cell phone was what you used to make your one phone call from jail.
A calculator was the accountant who did your taxes.
An airbag was some guy who talked too much.
Digital computing was counting on your fingers.
High Speed Access was an on-ramp to the freeway.
Surfing was something done on a board in the ocean.
And a birthday was actually something you actually looked forward to!

Sounds alot like my "I Remember" post!

Here are a few I forgot...

going to Disney World in the first year it opened
riding Space Mountain for the 1st and only time
Watching "Wonderful World of Disney" every Sunday night
hunting for indian relics before Indian Trail Road was constructed
Riding all the way around I-285 when it was completed

It was a great day filled with surprises! And since I am the teacher and make the rules, it was also a school holiday! We worked on our projects for the fair, watched some episodes of the Waltons and had a lazy day! Then Greg took us and 6 of our kids to Applebees for dinner (Rob was up at school). Thanks guys for a wonderful 50th birthday!

I Remember

Since today is my birthday and I have reached the young, young age of 50, I thought I would do a I remember post.....

I remember...

watching the tv and seeing the funeral procession for JFK
having yellow jackets or bumble bees building a nest in my wall when I was younger than 3
McDonalds before Ronald and his gang
most Moms were stay at home Moms
having measles, mumps and German Measles
the long white dresses all the girls wore when we graduated from Stephens Kind.
the school year was day after Labor Day to Friday before Memorial Day (every year)
lining up in elementary school and everyone getting inoculations
boys & girls having separate classes to discuss "body changes" once a year
watching the 1st man walk on the moon and Daddy taking pictures of the tv screen
writing pen-pal soldier in Vietnam as a school assignment in 4th or 5th grade
shopping at Cofer Brothers on Main Street in Tucker
having TV channels 2,5,11 and sometimes 8 in Atlanta
Eating dinner as a family everynight (except Tues., Daddy's bowling night)
hanging clothes on the line and not liking it then!
going to Tucker High football games from childhood on
wearing gym suits for PE
when girls wore dresses and boys wore pants & button up shirts to school
getting a automatic dishwasher, air conditioner and color tv when I was 12
getting our first Microwave when I was a teenager
loving our church youth group and youth choir
going to Farrells Ice Cream Parlor after Sunday night church and after Fri. night bowling
my first trip to Florida, we went to Jacksonville
Roller skating, bike riding and swinging all summer long
going to Hilton Head and having the beaches to ourselves
learning to waterski at Lake Lanier
babysitting and getting paid .50 to $1 an hour
graduating from kind., elementary school, high school, and college
my first car...1965/66 Mustang - no air, no power steering or brakes
my Mom grocery shop. 1x per month & cramming lots in our little icebox in the fridge
2 Turkey dinners every Thanksgiving...lunch at one grandma's & dinner at the other
Easter was the same as Thanksgiving, after church the meal rotation started
Christmas Eve at Mama's house (Mom's mom)
Christmas afternoon at Grandma's house (Daddy's mom)
going from records to 8 track to cassette to CD (I haven't gotten past that!)
getting our first VCR and now DVD
the incredible joy at being a Mom
giving my life to Christ & being baptized at the age of 12 at Tucker First Baptist by Randy Mullis

Many thanks to God, my Mom & Dad and friends for a great 50 years!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And as my dear 20 year old son just reminded me....I am half way to 100!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Where to find Coupons on the Internet

Here is a list of internet sites you can visit and print coupons. You will have to install their coupons printer to your computer, I've never had a problem with the installation or using them.

Smart Source

Betty Crocker

Box Tops 4 Education


Eat Better America

Coupon Bar

You can also go to company or product websites and see if they have coupons available. Sometimes you can sign up for a monthly newsletter that will come to your email address with special offers or coupons. 3 or 4 times a weeks I get a email from someone with coupons attached, so its a great resource. Many companies that produce organic products have special mailouts/booklets with lots of coupons in them.

At Walmart, look for the "All You" magazine. It is a treasure trove of coupons every month.

I have also used a site called "Coupon Clippers". You pick the coupons you want (some may have a minimum order) and pay a small handling fee per coupon. Then she mails the coupons to your home. I've always gotten mine within a couple of days. This is an excellent way to get multiples of coupons you really want and need. I've stocked up on my Lipton Tea Bags and my Knorr Rice and Pasta packages this way. She lists full details for each coupon, so when you order, you know exactly what you are getting.


I have really gotten back into using coupons thanks to Crystal always has great posts about how little she spends at the grocery, CVS, Walgreens, etc. I have learned alot from her posts and others that leave comments on her blog. Its great...go check it out.

So here are some tips you may not know Walgreens and CVS will accept their store coupon AND a manufacturers coupon for the same item. Its an added bonus if you get Extra Care Bucks (CVS) or Register Rewards (Walgreens) and if the item is also on sale. However, if you have a coupon and store coupon for deodorant, you can use them but you must also have a 2nd item to equal your number of coupons (for example...a deodorant and pack of gum). It takes a little getting used to but it does work.

Target will take their coupon and a manufacturers coupon too and you can combine it with a sale. These combinations make this stuff almost free. Their coupon policy states that if your coupon value is more than the cost of the item they will adjust it and you will get this item free. It might come in handy to go to the site and print off the policy to carry with you. I've argued at 2 different Targets and lost...but now the policy is clearly stated and I've got a copy in my purse for the next time. So if your coupon states $1 off any cheerios and you go in, you can get the .97 cup of O's for free.

Kroger 's had some awesome deals lately. My favorites are the buy 10 special products and get $5 off your order. It could be Keebler, or Nestle or whoever. And you can do this deal multiple times in the same grocery order. The items have been on sale, I've had manufacturers coupons for them, and the $5 comes off at the end. Last week Lean Cuisines, Juicy Juice, and Kraft cheeses were included. In Miss. our grocery sales cycle Wed.-Wed. so the new ads come out tomorrow. And the coupons are a better deal at Kroger too because they double up to .60 here.
I've got many suave deodorants for free with a .50 coupon, because it was doubled to $1. And when the Meat Managers section is full of meat...we go through all the packages to find the real cheap bargains. I've gotten ground chuck for $1.25 lb and will buy every package when I find it at that price. I also buy the cheap steaks $2 and under and freeze them till I have collected enough for either Steak Stirfry or Steak Stroganoff.

We have a very generous grocery budget every month, but I still like to find the bargains and stock up when I can. I will never be one of those people that buys $300 in groceries and pays $9 at the register. It can be done but we have particular brands we like, dietary needs to consider and food additives to avoid. So, I don't just go buy anything...if your family isn't going to eat it or use it you wasted your money. OR go ahead and get the item, especially if you can get it for free, and donate to a shelter or food bank.

I would love to hear about your shopping adventures. They are an inspiration to me and help me look at things in a whole new way. AND it you don't want your coupons....send them my way!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Magic Lemon Meringue Pie

This summer we started having Sunday Night Dessert Night. It is becoming a yummy tradition that my family loves...especially Greg. This week he requested a pie. I got this Lemon Meringue
Pie recipe from my Mom. So here goes.....

Magic Lemon Meringue Pie

1 graham cracker crumb crust
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 tsp. grated lemon rind
14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
2 eggs, separated
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
4 tbsp. sugar

Combine the lemon juice and rind and stir in condensed milk. Add the eggs yolks and mix
well. Pour into the pie crust.
Add cream or tartar to egg whites and beat till
almost peak stage. Add the sugar gradually
and continue beating till stiff but not dry.
Spread over your lemon mixture in the crust
and bake at 325 degrees till light brown
(about 15 minutes). Cool and eat.

This was a hit with everyone and in my dear
hubbies words..."y'all did really good with that
lemon pie".

I was very thankful for my Kitchen Aid mixer when beating the egg whites. It did all the work and we just watched!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

New Frugal Website

Here is a new website about frugal living and saving money...

The economy is tough for a lot of families and I don't see prices going down for the things our families need (or want). This looks like it would have a lot of ideas you could customize for your family!

2 Yummy Cake Recipes

Both of these cake recipes came from my Mom. She has baked this pound cake recipe for nearly 50 years...its a classic and it just can't be beat. It has wonderful flavor and texture and we all love it. My kids and I will fight over licking the beaters and the bowl (yes, raw eggs and all). Allen requested a bowl of pound cake batter for his birthday one year but he got it cooked instead.

Pound Cake

2 cups sugar
3 sticks butter
3 cups plain flour (I use unbleached)
6 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Soften butter, add sugar and cream until fluffy. Add eggs and mix well. Then start adding flour 1 cup at a time, mixing well after each addition. Now stir in the vanilla. Cook in a tube pan in a 350 degree oven for 1 hour (top will be golden brown and will split).

Note-only grease the bottom of the tube pan. The cake will not be able to climb the sides of the pan if they are greased. Also, DO NOT substitute self-rising flour for the plain flour, from experience, I know this won't work.

This next cake came from a recipe booklet that came with a General Electric hand mixer my grandmother gave Mom for Christmas. Mom was thrilled with the mixer cause now she could mix up the pound cake and not have to stir it by hand (what a chore). This recipe is our "Birthday Cake" recipe. The page in the booklet is stained and spattered with cake batter, vanilla, etc and the booklet automatically drops open to this page.

2 Egg Quick Cake

2 cups plain flour
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 1/3 cups sugar
1/2 cup shortening
7/8 cup milk
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs

Sift flour, sugar, baking powder & salt into a mixing bowl. Add shortening, vanilla & all but 1/3 cup of milk. Beat at medium speed for 2 minutes. Add eggs & remaining milk. Beat at med. speed another couple of minutes. Pour batter into 2 greased 8 inch round pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.
Cool completely before frosting.

Makes 2 8 inch round cake layers or 24 cupcakes or a sheet cake pan. Freezes great! 1 recipe will also fill a "Wilton" character pan.

If milk allergies are a concern in your family, you can substitute water or apple juice for the milk. It still tastes really good.

Friday, September 18, 2009

New Blog Adventure in Mississippi

Greg and I are blogging about homeschooling, our family and our travels on Tiki Travelers. This is our diary of our daily lives to keep everyone updated, especially our family and friends in Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama and Virginia.

But, for the last several months I have wanted a blog dedicated to my adventures in homemaking, couponing, bargain shopping, cooking, baking, and crafting. I am a stay at home Mom and am homeschooling our youngest 3 children. I am wading through lots of information about food additives, organic shopping and cooking, and cooking from scratch. So expect lots of posts and explanations about why we do what we do & what works and doesn't work for us. I have large cookbook collection and love to find new recipes. Clipping and using coupons for groceries is a new passion. Its fun to see how cheap I can buy an item (or 2 or 10). Which currently translates into we have a good stockpile on some items.

Then there is crafting...sewing, cross stitch, smocking, modge podge, quilting, scrapbooking, and card making. The girls want to add in soap and candle making, so thats on the "to learn" list.

I hope you enjoy our adventures, recipes and crafts.