Sunday, October 12, 2014

What to make yourself to save money

First, not that I have many followers, but let me apologize for my year hiatus.  I guess raising a two year old and being pregnant will do that to you.  Now that I have a 2 1/2 year old and a newborn I don't have any more time then I did a year ago, but I need a good distraction.  If nothing else a great outlet for displaying recipes I've enjoyed or adapted over the last year.

So let's talk about saving money.  I love to save money.  Today I saved 39.41 on my grocery bill and then came home and saved another 2.50 using the "Snap" app on my phone.  Wahoo! 

So here is a list of the things I make myself at home to save money.  Most, if not all, of these items I make in bulk and freeze:

You might think that the time invested in making these items isn't worth it, but hear me out. Last week I bought 3 whole organic chickens, a bag of organic carrots, organic celery and turned it into 42 cups of chicken stock/broth that I could freeze in plastic restaurant style soup containers.  Of course I added pantry items like peppercorns, bay leaves, water, and garlic to flavor it.  Three stock pots on the stove all at once, one mess in the kitchen, and 3 hours later I had a years supply of chicken stock.  Sounds like a good deal to me.

Two years ago when my migraines were out of control I decided to go 100% organic and 100% MSG free.  In order to reduce the stress of this my husband bought me a freezer so that I could make the most of my time.  When I make muffins I double the batch and freeze the muffins in the plastic take out containers you can buy in bulk at Costco.  Then I take them out as needed.  When I make my bread recipe I make 10 loaves at a time, cut them in half, wrap in clear wrap and then put them in plastic freezer bags and pull out as needed.  For my vanilla extract I buy my vanilla beans in bulk (see link above) and make a years supply at a time.  This year I made extra so that I could give it away as gifts. 

I could keep breaking down the savings for you, but the reality of it is you have to shop smart, make the best of your time, and choose which things make the most sense to you.  Shop when you have coupons, shop when things are in season, shop when there are sales.  All of the items that I make in bulk and freeze (not the vanilla extract or sunflower seed butter), freeze well and defrost well.

Happy baking, happy cooking, happy shopping and happy savings to you!  Enjoy!

Homemade Organic Chicken Broth

I started making homemade chicken broth a long time ago.  I've had a lot of luck with Tyler Florence's recipe.  I've used it in my Chicken Pot Pie and different soup recipes with lots of success.  The only adaptions I made to his recipe were that I don't use the turnips (because I have never tasted them...use them if you like them),  I used spring onions instead of white onions (about half of one bunch per recipe) and I bought all organic vegetables. 

When I make this I put three really large stock pots on the stove top and make three batches all at once.  If you're going to go through all the work of making the broth why not do it once.  The broth freezes very well and mine lasts up to a year in the freezer.  Here is a big HINT....spend the 10.00 that you saved by making it yourself on buying restaurant style plastic soup take out containers.  Here's why...stock freezes well in them, their stackable in the freezer, they won't spill or leak out and they defrost well.  I used to freeze the broth in plastic freezer bags but the bags would get a hole in them or explode.  After two episodes of leaks and a huge mess to clean up I can't tell you how much easier it was to just use the containers.  I put 3 cups of broth in each container which is the perfect amount for my chicken pot pie recipe and most soup recipes. 

Here is Tyler Florence's original recipe:


Homemade Ketchup

Awhile back I found Wellness Mama's recipe for homemade ketchup.  I've tried others in the past, but this one is the best (

Let me break down how I've adapted the recipe for you.

  • 3 cans of Tomato Paste (find one without citric acid...also she doesn't tell you the size...I used 24oz total).
  • 1/2 cup vinegar (make sure you use clear distilled vinegar...all others cause migraines)
  • 1 tsp organic garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup organic spring onions diced
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Grandma's unsulphured molasses
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp organic dried mustard powder
  • 1 pinch of the following; organic cinnamon, cloves and cayenne
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp chia seeds- I did not put them in powder form first
I used a blender, but you could use a food processor, blend all the ingredients until smooth.  Here is where I differ with the method.  You could put it in freezer or fridge at this point, but I transferred it to the stove and brought it to a boil and then simmered it on low for about 15 minutes.  My OB GYN suggested doing this because when you heat tomatoes you bring out their natural lycopene, which is good for fighting off cancer. 

This usually makes 3 of the small Ball glass jars.  I keep one in the fridge until it is gone and I freeze the rest until needed.  Yummy!


Friday, September 6, 2013

Simple Pizza Sauce and Oven Fried Pizza

Boy have I missed pizza!  I'm sure my husband misses it even more, because we not only don't do take out, but I haven't made homemade pizza in forever.  Well that's about to change.  I found and adapted an awesome recipe for Oven Fried Pizza and Simple Pizza Sauce.  Both recipes are Migraine safe and MSG free.  After my husband and I devoured our pizzas he instantly went into inspiration mode and started coming up with different ways to have the pizza....buffalo style, Italian style, with a cream sauce, white pizza, you name it.  As we experiment I will make sure to add to the recipe. 

Side Note: This is the pan I used for the pizza.  I swear by it.  I use it for my steaks in the winter, paella, and now oven fried pizza dough.  My pan might be 12" and definitely was twice the cost when I bought it 5 years ago.  Anyway....

Start with your dough first. 

Oven Fried Pizza Dough (inspired by Alex Guarnaschelli)
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water (about 110 degrees)
3 1/2 cups Bob's Red Mill Organic White Flour, plus about 1 cup for rolling
2 teaspoons sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 scant tablespoon organic/local honey
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, plus more for coating the bowl.

In a large bowl mix the water and yeast and stir.  Allow to sit about 5 minutes until the yeast is dissolved. 

Using a sieve or strainer, sift about half of the flour right over the water mixture.  Then with your hands mix it together.  Once smooth, add the salt, pepper and honey and mix by hand to blend.  Then sift the remaining flour over top and mix to blend. 

Heavily flour a cutting board and turn the dough out onto the board.  Knead the dough for 3 to 5 minutes adding flour as needed to prevent dough from being sticky.  Once the dough is smooth and all of the ingredients are integrated, place it inside a lightly oiled bowl and cover with clear wrap.  Place in a warm dry place and allow dough to rise at least 1 1/2 hours or until doubled in volume.  I let mine rest for 5 hours because I left and came back to it. 

Press gently on the dough and turn out onto a floured surface.  Divide the dough into 2 equal portions.  Roll each half into a loose ball.  Cover the dough with a clean towel and allow it to rest for an additional 15 minutes. 

(use this time to make the sauce- see below).

Once dough has sat 15 minutes take your cast iron pan and place it over medium high heat on your stove.  Add 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil to the pan.  Once the oil is smoking add one stretched by hand pizza dough round.  Use the back of a spatula to spread the dough clear to the edge.  Salt and pepper the top of the dough.  Once the under side is browned flip the dough.  Salt and pepper the top, add the homemade simple pizza sauce, and I then added browned ground beef that was seasoned simply with salt and pepper.  Add a couple pinches of crushed red pepper flakes and once the underside is browned place the whole pan in the oven for 5-8 minutes or until pizza is done.

Repeat with remaining dough and toppings.  My husband topped his the same but the last layer was mozzarella cheese, then more salt and pepper and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.  Yum!  Just remember mozzarella cheese is not migraine safe...and unless its made from pasteurized whole milk and has no preservatives it's not MSG free.  You could make your own ricotta cheese and add that.  I've done a layer of that below the sauce and it was delicious!

Now on to the simple sauce.

Simple Pizza Sauce:  (adapted from Don Pintabona)
1 28 ounce can Bionaturae Whole Canned Tomatoes
1/4 cup Organic Spring Onions sliced thin.  Using white parts too
1/2 tsp minced garlic
3-4 fresh basil leaves
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 tsp or more sea salt
pinch of ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil

Sauté the spring onions in the olive oil over medium heat for 3-5 minutes or until the start to turn a little brown.  Add the garlic and sauté an additional minute.  Take your whole tomatoes and dump them in a bowl, juice and all, and use your hands to crush the tomatoes.  Add the tomatoes, basil, oregano, salt and pepper to the sauté pan.  Bring to a simmer and then continue simmering on low for 15 minutes.  Can be stored in the fridge for up to one week.  This sauce recipe perfectly covered both pizza rounds from the recipe above. 


Monday, August 26, 2013

Roasted Tomato Basil Soup

It's tomato season!  Yummy!  Are you looking for an innovative new recipe to use up all those home grown plum tomatoes?  Well you've come to the right place.  This recipe is zippy and fresh and totally delicious. With a side of homemade bread it hit the spot! 

The original recipe inspiration came from Barefoot Contessa and here is her recipe.  I didn't even try to make the original recipe, I adapted it from the get go.  I've been getting better on spotting a good recipe...and boy is this a good one! 

Karin's Roasted Tomato Basil Soup


3 pounds ripe plum tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise (I also trimmed off the stem end)
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tablespoon Sea Salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground pepper
1 whole bunch of spring onions diced
3 teaspoons of minced garlic or 6 cloves minced
1 (28 ounce) can whole tomatoes, with their juices (Bionaturae- has no MSG or citric acid)
2 cups fresh basil leaves- I honesty didn't measure, but I don't think I used 4 cups like the original recipe called for
4 cups Homemade Chicken Stock I use this recipe but without the turnip and I use 1 bunch of spring onions instead of regular onions.  I also use organic whole chicken.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Place fresh plum tomatoes on baking sheet and drizzle with 1/4 cup EVOO, salt and pepper.  Roast for 45 minutes. 

In an 8 quart stockpot over medium heat, sauté the spring onions and garlic with 2 tablespoons of EVOO for 3-5 minutes until fragrant.  Add the canned tomatoes with juice, basil and chicken stock.  Add the oven-roasted tomatoes along with their juices from the baking sheet to the stockpot.  Bring to a boil and simmer for 40 minutes uncovered.  Let soup cool down a bit, and then add to a blender and puree until smooth.  I had to do it in two batches. 

To eat- I prefer mine warm.  Return to stove and reheat until warmed through.  I served mine with a side of toasted bread.  Yummy!


Fruit Pizza

Awhile back I put a challenge out there for my friends and family on Facebook to challenge me to try a new recipe.  I asked people to send me their favorite dessert ideas and then I picked one and challenged myself to make it.  Fruit pizza was the idea and I had never heard of it.  Fruit tarts I've tasted, but never made...but fruit pizza????

So I needed recipe inspiration.  That's where Pinterest came in hand.  This is the original inspiration...and a mighty fine recipe just as it is.  However, I adapted it to be migraine friendly and MSG free. 

Here goes nothing:

Karin's Fruit Pizza

1 1/2 cups pure can sugar
2 1/2 cups Bob's Red Mill Organic White Flour
1/2 teaspoon Debbies Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
14 tablespoons organic unsalted butter, softened (I use Wegmans Organic Brand)
2 teaspoons Organic Vanilla Extract
2 large eggs

1/2 cup Spectrum Naturals All Vegetable Shortening, Organic
1/2 cup (1 stick) Organic Unsalted butter
1 teaspoon Organic Vanilla Extract
4 cups (1 lb) Organic Powdered Sugar Sifted- Wholesome Brand carries one variety without cornstarch
2 -3 tablespoons Organic Pasteurized Whole Milk


  • Beat the butter and 1 1/2 cups sugar in a stand mixer until fluffy (about 3-5 minutes).  Add vanilla and eggs and mix until well combined.  In a separate bowl mix the flour, salt and baking powder.  Add this mixture to the butter mixture and mix until just comes together.  Chill the dough at least one hour, up to over night. 
  • Preheat oven to 350.  Spray your tart pans with organic canola spray.  (I used one 10" tart and six 4" tarts with one dough recipe).  Working on a flat surface covered with organic white flour, roll your chilled dough out to shy of 1/2 inch thick.  Lay greased side of tart pan bottom face down on dough.  Using a knife cut dough out to size of pan.  Flip over and place in tart pan.  Repeat with left over dough to fill smaller tart pans. 
  • Sprinkle dough with a total of 2-3 tablespoons of sugar.  I went for the lesser amount. 
  • For large pan bake 15-18 minutes.  For smaller pans bake 10-12 minutes. 
  • When sugar cookie is done, remove from oven and take sides of tart pans off so they chill faster.  Let chill at room temperature.  Meanwhile prep your fruit and frosting.
  • In a stand mixer mix 1/2 cup shortening and 1/2 cup softened butter together.  Mix in vanilla and sifted confectioners sugar slowly.  Once blended add in 2-3 tablespoons whole milk.  Beat until creamy.
  • First frost your cookies using about 1/4 inch of icing as an even layer.  Then start from the outside working in and lay your strawberries, then kiwi, then blueberries, raspberries and then kiwi, then blueberries.  Keep this refrigerated because of the icing.  Let come to room temperature for about 5 minutes before serving. 


Sunday, August 25, 2013

Amazing Green Beans

I've always struggled with green beans, but I finally found a winner with a little inspiration from Tyler Florence. 

Karin's Green Beans:

Take 1 pound of green beans, washed and ends trimmed.  In a wok or deep sauté pan fill with water until about 1 inch from the top.  Boil the water with about 1/2 tablespoon of sea salt.  When water comes to a boil add the green beans and cook for 5 minutes.  Green beans will be crisp, but cooked.  Pour green beans into a strainer and run under cold water to stop the cooking.  Meanwhile return the empty walk or sauté pan to the stove.  Over medium high heat add about 1/2 - 3/4 cup of scallions diced with about 1/2 tablespoon or 2 turns of the pan of EVOO.  Add 1 tsp of garlic and cook for about 3 minutes or until tender. Dish up and enjoy!

Serves about 4 people.