Friday, September 4, 2015

Peanut Butter Blossoms

These remind me of my childhood. I hadn't even had them since then! Crazy, I know. I've been on this peanut butter kick lately and decided to give these a go. Actually, I made these Valentines guessed it...on Valentine's Day yesterday :) They turned out very well and actually would make an awesome base for peanut butter cookies.

The originals use Hershey's kisses, but why not jazz them up a little?
Check out those beautifully 80's counter topsLove 'em ;)
Peanut Butter Blossoms
Yield: 24 cookies

24 Hershey's kisses
1/2 cup shortening
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/3 cup white sugar
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
additional sugar

Remove chocolates from wrappers, set aside. 
Beat shortening and peanut butter until combined well.
Add 1/3 cup sugar and brown sugar, beat until fluffy.
Add eggs, milk, and vanilla. Beat well.
In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt.
Gradually add dry ingredients to wet ingredients. Beat well.
Shape dough into 1" balls.
Roll in sugar until lightly coated and place on ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake at 375 degrees for 6 minutes.
Remove cookies sheet from oven and press chocolate 
into the middle of each cookie.
Return to oven and cook an additional 2-4 minutes or until lightly browned with cracked edges. Allow to cool on cooling rack.

Adapted from Hershey's

  • May use heart-shaped chocolates in place of Hershey's Kisses like I did.
  • Cookies will get a crackled look around the edges as they cook, this is normal.
  • Overcooking will result in a crunchier cookie.
  • Try using a variety pack or chocolates.
  • As you are mixing the dough, it may seem to be too dry. Don't worry! It will come together as you form the dough into balls.
  • The peanut butter makes the dough slightly greasing, so the cookies do not stick at all and form balls nicely.
  • You may omit the chocolates to have regular peanut butter cookies.
  • The original recipes says you'll get 48 cookies out of this amount. Either that's a lie or what I think is an inch and what they think is an inch are two different things!
Note: This is one of our favorite cookie recipes. I originally posted it on my food blog "Ashley's Eats". I no longer run that blog, so I'll be moving several favorites ono this blog! 

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Meals Under $5: Baked Potato Bar

Here's a family favorite. My husband is all about meat and potatoes. One of our top go-to meals is baked potatoes. They're that old classic that you can never go wrong with. They're also amazingly cheap and versatile...and of so fast to cook!

Tip: baked potatoes can be cooked in the oven, on the grill, in the microwave, or even in a slow cooker! Pick whichever way suits your needs.

Our favorite toppings:
Crumbled bacon
Shredded cheese
Sour cream
Ranch dressing
Steamed broccoli
BBQ pulled pork
Steak sauce
Grilled peppers
Shredded chicken
Leftover meats
Seasoning salt
Cajun style seasonings
Home style gravy
Pepper jack cheese

What are some of your favorite baked potato toppings? 

10 Things You Need to Do this Summer to Save $$$

Summer is right around the corner! School is out, kids are playing outside, and temperatures are rising. As the temperature rises, so do our expenses... But it doesn't have to be that way! Here are 10 easy ways to save money this summer!

1. Turn down the air - Cooling your home is like throwing money into the air. Get out of the house and you don't need to worry about keeping the place cool. Set your thermostat at 78 degrees while you're out running errands, playing at the park, and taking kids to swimming lessons.
2. Buy a sprinkler - it doesn't need to be fancy, but it will save you big bucks. There will be no need to constantly spend money on pool passes. Plus, the kids will feel like the coolest kids on the block when all their buddies come to play.
3. Plan a staycation - Rather than spending hundreds or even thousands of dollars on a trip, stay! Staycations can be equally as fun as a big trip elsewhere. You can even set up a tent in the backyard and have your own camp out... And that's FREE! Use the money you would have spent that weekend on our emergency savings fund or paying down debt.
4. Grow your own food - without much effort you can provide fresh produce all summer long! A garden doesn't need to be huge or time consuming to get a lot of food back. It's also a great way to get kids out of the house and learning.
5. Re-think insulation - I'm not just talking about the insulation in your walls, but look for places where heat may be coming in and cool is going out. Front doors and unsealed windows are major culprits. Overtime, weather stripping and caulking becomes worn out and crack. Simple repairs around the house will pay back in reduced cooling costs.
6. Grill or slow cook - Summer is known for cookouts and delicious slow cooked meats. Try out some new recipes while preventing your house from heating up by the oven. You can also double recipes, freeze the extras, and have a quick a cheap dinner waiting for you!
7. Shop seasonally - all summer long certain fruits and veggies will go in and out of season. It depends on where you live, but buying a certain type of produce (like grapes!) the wrong time of the year will result in you paying several more dollars for under ripe or over ripe produce.
8. Go halfsies - If you decide to go on a trip, split room costs with friends. Nicer hotels and lodges become much more affordable when split with someone else.
9. Eat before... Or pack a lunch! - I can't even tell you how often we get to a fair or festival and we're STARVING. We didn't plan ahead, so we end up spending twice as much money as normal on junky food.
10. Buy clothes secondhand - There will be many events all summer long where you will want to buy a new outfit. Before splurging on new summer clothes, check out online deals -- and yard sales!!! on secondhand gently used clothes. You can find amazing deals on clothes that are even brand new.

Well, I hope you all have an amazing summer! What are your summer plans? 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Meals Under $5: French Bread Pizza

I'm not into spending $15 or even $10 on a meal. Spending $10 per dinner adds up to $300 a month! For dinners!
This is the start of my $5 Meals series!
French Bread Pizza
Serves vs 2-4
*French bread $1
*Pizza sauce $1.50
*8 oz cheese $1.50
*Desired toppings $1 each:
     Can pineapple, can sliced olives, can sliced mushrooms, pepperoni, veggies, etc.
*Desired seasonings: garlic salt, powder Parmesan, etc. $pennies
1. Turn oven to low broil.
2. Slice bread lengthwise, place on cookie sheet, and season as desired
3. Broil until lightly toasted
4. Remove bread. Add desired sauce, toppings, and cheese.
5. Return to oven and broil until sauce is hot and cheese is melted.
6. Serve warm.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

15 Date Ideas Under $10!

Dating is incredibly important in every relationship. My husband and I definitely need to do it more often. So we have been thinking of date ideas that are $10 or less! It's winter now, so some ideas are related to that. Put away your phone and...

1. Go get ice cream and walk through the park
2. Drive through neighborhoods looking at Christmas lights
3. At home game night!
4. Make a treat and leave it as a surprise for neighbors
5. Use up the last of gift cards
6. Go to a restaurant...just for dessert!
7. Night in! - who says you have to go somewhere? Dim the lights, light the fire, turn on a comedy, etc.
8. Check out a local farmers market/fair/museum
9. Check out some "how to" books from the library and learn how to do something new together - massages, cooking, etc.
10. Old school video game night
11. Pick a theme - Italian, oldies, comedy, etc - everything during the date must match that theme...and all be under $10!
12. Go to the dollar theater
13. Picnic lunch/dinner
14. Spread a blanket outside and just relax together!
15. Dinner in bed, or some other random place in your house