Friday, December 30, 2011

One Up On Chick Filet.

I know, technically it is Chick-fil-a, but there you go.  Youngest son, 22, home for the Christmas break from college, is in love with the new Chick-fil-a Banana Pudding Shake.  He requested that I see if I could find a recipe for it so we could make it at home.  Now, request like this are just to precious and too hard to pass up.  So, Google my dear friend, did not let me down.

The first recipe I found was this here.  It seemed pretty easy so I jotted it down. There were also a couple of other ones, but in the end I made my own recipe up.  Also, the original poster of the recipe uses soy milk, which is a bit pricey and am sure that the restaurant was not using soy milk so neither did I.   Son announced that mine was better than Chick-fil-a's.
Okay, so I can't figure out how to make the image stay turned the correct way, but you get the idea.  Being recently diagnosed with diabetes, I do tend to tweak the recipes a bit, aiming for lower sugar, carbs and calories.  That being said, here is my recipe.

Copy Cat Chick-fil-a Banana Pudding Shake

3/4 cup 2% milk
3 Tablespoons sugar free instant banana cream pudding mix
1 cup Blue Bunny Frozen Vanilla Yogurt
Whipped Cream
Vanilla wafers

I have this really cool little gizmo that I got on clearance at Walmart last year.  It is like a bullet or single serve size blender.  That is what I used.

Pour the milk into the blender, mix in the instant pudding mix.  This is the key, mix this first.  Then added the frozen yogurt and blended.  Poured it in to a cup, garnish with whipped cream, slices of banana, crumbled vanilla wafers and a cherry.  For a diabetic, it still falls under the "Once In A Great While" category, but for the most part, it is a bit healthier than with whole milk and ice cream.  It was absolutely a huge hit with the family.

As for Christmas leftovers, there isn't any.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that the family has managed to eat up just about all of it.  Now it is time to cook again for New Year's Day.  On the planned menu is Ham, macaroni and cheese, black eyed peas, potato salad, fruit salad, and kicking around possibly making some carrots and brussel sprouts.  I was a bit shocked to find that over the week the family hit the pies, the pumpkin is all gone as well as one buttermilk pie.  I still have the cheesecakes and one buttermilk pie. Oldest son will not touch a carrot, we both worked for the company that raises and sells carrots and vegetable products (actually, about 85% of the world's market), while I worked in the construction division, he worked electrical in the shipping department and he cannot even stand to smell a carrot anymore.

I will post how it turns out.  Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Tis done.

The day is done, the food put away, and I am ready for bed.

My cousins sent mom this wonderful flower arrangement.  She was so very touched that they would remember her in such a way.  Since she came to our house for Christmas and the Christmas meal, she brought along her flowers to share with all of us.  I  think mom is looking pretty good for 85.

Well, if feels like today was just one single meal, about 4:30 pm.  I have been cooking for three days straight and my back is feeling it.  Now, my children informed me that we are not supposed to have turkey, which is what I had planned, for Christmas.  Was told several times that we never have turkey for Christmas, only Thanksgiving.  So, even thought I don't remember it that way, because I know I cooked a big old turkey last year, I gave in and made ham.  Actually our meal today was ham, green beans, dressing, sweet potatoes, fruit salad, pistachio salad, deviled eggs, rolls and then for dessert there were cookies, pumpkin pie, buttermilk pie, cheesecake, and pumpkin roll.  I also made ice tea in my new tea maker I got as a gift.  My youngest son, G, invited two of his friends that were not able to be with their families for the holidays.  One of the boys/men is not allowed to eat pork so I cooked a turkey breast for him.   I swear, like I do every year, that I am not going to make any deserts again.  There was one piece of buttermilk pie eaten, a couple of cookies as well.  I still have two buttermilk pies (well one piece missing out of one of those), two pumpkin pies, and two cheesecakes (already have one in the freezer) so it would seem I have a ton of sweets around here.  Just glad I didn't get around to making caramels or toffee.  I don't know what was going this year.  I usually run out of deviled eggs, have a whole tray full left over.  I even have a whole pan of dressing left over because I was afraid that with the extra guest there would not be enough and made an extra pan of it. Still have half of the first pan left over.  I will say that there were 9 of us for dinner and the 10 pound ham I cooked is almost gone.  I saved the bone for making beans though.  I know my bunch well enough that for the next week we will be eating beef for the most part.  Next Sunday I will do it all again for New Year's day.  Another ham, will have another bone for beans, but no dressing this time.  Am making mac and cheese.  Looks like I have the sweets all done though. Just going to put the leftover pies in the freezer for New Year's day.

So, am still determined to get back on track with my menu plans, so will be re-purposing the left overs from the two holiday meals.  Just not letting the family know that.  However, I am thinking that one of those ham bones is going to season a big old pot of brown beans and will be making the trip up the mountain with us for this ski trip my hubby has planned, and which seems to get growing in numbers as well.  This has been a such a budget wrecking month, between Christmas gifts, added groceries for everyone being home, the two holiday meals with in the same pay period and now this trip, that I will be concentrating an awful lot of energy on crunching our budget back in to shape for the new year.

Let me know if you have any favorite frugal recipes to share.

Saturday, December 24, 2011


So...I have been cooking all day and feel as if I have nothing accomplished.  I was only able to get about half of what was planned actually cooked.  I was lazy and waited on dish washer to clean dishes.  Of course, I was gone about an hour trying to finish up last minute Christmas gifts.  I got completely put out with the crowds, so decided to just get up 6 am...and run to Walmart to finish up a couple of things.  For the most part I am done, just need to wrap up my daughter's gifts.  However, I did get some dishes made ahead of time for Sunday's Christmas dinner.  The dressing is made (including a small pan of no sage for mom), a batch of Jubilee Jumbles cookies (Christmas tradition around here), and a pumpkin roll (my first ever).  Also cooked a lasagna for the meal tonight and am now waiting for a batch of chicken wings to cool down so I can box them up for mom.  All of this while trying to keep my wounded thumb out of water or contaminants.  I was slicing potatoes the other night and some how lost a chunk of my thumb.  It burns like crazy when it gets wet, throbs like a heavy metal drum when I touch it against something.  So, not real impressed with my final offerings though, while they are still completely edible are just not really up to my personal standards.  The cookies - the recipe calls for evaporated milk or sour cream.  Now, for more years than I care to count, the cookies have always been made with sour cream.  I know this, even had the sour cream sitting out.  I of course went right ahead and made them using the evaporated milk.  The glaze on the cookie is a browned butter glaze (which is misleading because the butter is not browned or turns brown, just melted until it just gets a dark golden color) which the past two years when I made the glaze I burned the butter in the first batch having to start over.  True burnt butter does not have an appealing taste at all.  Knowing this, I had this wonderful idea to just melt the butter in the microwave instead of using a sauce pan.  It tasted okay, but did not thicken as much as when using the sauce pan method.  Even though my youngest son G is still sneaking them (they are his favorite) which proves that they do taste good, am sure I will be making another batch tomorrow.  Will also be making another pumpkin roll, using a different recipe, as I do not like my first attempt.  I will say it was much easier than I had anticipated, so that first has at least gotten me past that "trying something new block".  I had made some cream cheese icing for my youngest daughter J's birthday cupcakes, had a whole bunch left over, so had saved it to use for the filling.  While it was still tasted good, the end result was just not what I was looking for.

On the list for tomorrow:  pumpkin pies, buttermilk pies, cheesecakes, fruit salad, deviled eggs, all for Sunday dinner.  I just found out that I will be having a couple of extra boys over for the meal.  They are my son's friends and they have no family here so they are coming to eat with us.  One of which cannot eat pork, and of course we are having ham, so need to figure out something for him.  I am going to be totally exhausted for sure.

Speaking of crowds, if we are living in a recession the shopping around here just does not reflect it.  People were packed in there buying high dollar items.

What is more expensive is food.  I read somewhere that the department of agriculture reported a 28% increase in food items.  Personally, I believe it is a larger increase, but that's is just the opinion of this mom who even though we are down the number of people to feed, the cost to feed us is up.  Way up.  For just the basics.  It is just a struggle to keep the budget and yet feed us healthy tasty meals.  In an attempt to get healthier, trim hubby and I, trim the cost of food, I am working on spending the holidays on menu planning. I have been  printing off a huge stack of new recipes to try. Hubby has a ski trip planned for us just after New Year's.  I don't much care for skiing, will probably only ski half days, so will be taking a couple of projects to work on.  Told him I was taking my big old file tote and was going to work on my recipe files and create some menu plans while they play in the cold snow.  I will be sitting warm with my sugar-free hot cocoa. I know from experience that menu planning does save a significant amount of money, just takes a little planning time.  Along with that will be the healthy aspect I mentioned, am going to work on less processed foods and more whole food dishes.

Now, I am about as cheap as they come when it deals with spending, but I must say that a new show on TLC called Extreme Cheapskates is really going to be borderline ridiculous.  It is a spin off from the show Extreme Couponers.  The preview mentions one cheapskate that makes their own washable toilet wipes.  I remember when the Tightwad Gazette was the going thing and thinking how my family would react if I, as the book suggest, were to take all the rolls of toilet paper and separate the layers then re-rolling to make two single ply rolls out of one double ply roll.  Or especially if I were to go to the feed store to buy bulk oats to make oatmeal every morning.  I can at least see how that would work, but washable toilet wipes?  No way.  That is right up there with cloth feminine pads.  I didn't use cloth diapers because of the pooh aspect, would never use the cloth pads because of the trouble those would be.  No, I am sure there are many more areas I can cut the spending down with resorting to those type of over the top savings strategy.

I am off to see if the wings are cooled off now, so am shutting down the computer.  Thanks for stopping by and please feel free to leave a comment.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Hello Good Friends

This is my new project.  I hope to write a little bit about my life and things I do and hope that you will enjoy each visit with me.

I really picked a stupid time of the year to start this new blog, but what can I say?  That is the story of my life.  The new year will bring much more posting about life here on this end of the street.