Blissful and Domestic - Creating a Beautiful Life on Less

Monday, February 1, 2016

Mom's Applesauce Muffins...

Morning lovelies! Are you ready for a new recipe? Today I am sharing one of my kiddos favorite muffin recipes. We love to have these for breakfast or for a yummy afternoon snack. Even hubby likes these, which is quite a compliment. Homeboy isn't a huge muffin fan, but these babies have him downing them two at a time.

These are also great to double batch and store in the freezer. Just thaw on the counter when you're ready to eat them. I usually thaw them overnight.

{Mom's Applesauce Muffins}

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 cup applesauce
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp baking soda
1 tbl ground flax seed
1 tbl ground wheat germ
1 tbl ground bran flakes
2 cups All-Purpose flour
1 cup raisins

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir until moistened. Fill lightly greased muffin tins 3/4 full. Sprinkle with crumb topping (recipe below). Bake at 350' for 25 to 30 minutes. Makes 12-16 muffins.

{Crumb Topping}

1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup All-Purpose flour
3/4 cup quick cooking oats
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tsp cinnamon

Blend all together until crumbly.


XO Danielle

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

What I am Reading : January Edition

Hey friends! I've got a new video for you up on my channel. Today I am sharing what I am reading this month and a few other tidbits :) Enjoy!

XO Danielle

Monday, January 25, 2016

Smoothie Basics to Stock Your Freezer With...

Hey friends!! Today is a day to be celebrated. For the past 12 weeks I have wanted nothing to do with smoothies. I could eat the fruit separately, but talk to me about putting them together in a drink and my stomach would turn. Well this morning I woke up and my food aversion towards smoothies has let up. I was able to make my family protein smoothies and not get queasy. It was a hallelujah moment friends. Yeah for morning sickness taking a rest today.

As I was getting our smoothie supplies together, I thought it might be nice to share what my basic smoothie goodies are and how we like to use them.

I like to have a variety of frozen fruit. We use frozen strawberries, mangoes, blueberries, and bananas. I buy a few extra bunches of bananas throughout the month. I then freeze them to use when we are out of fresh bananas. Having a frozen option for bananas allows me to stretch out my produce trips because no matter what type of smoothie I make, I love a banana in it. I typically buy the rest of our frozen fruit at Winco. I get my bag of strawberries for just under $9 a bag.

We also use canned pineapple, peaches, pears, and mandarin oranges for smoothies. I buy these in bulk when they're on sale.

We like to add chia seeds often to our smoothies. Chia seeds are an excellent source of protein and are full of omega-3 fatty acids. They actually contain more omega-3's than salmon. They also act like little scrub brushes in your intestines. My kids always think that tidbit is hilarious :)

We love to have almond milk, apple juice, and orange juice on hand. I buy apple juice in bulk, almond milk from Costco, and orange juice from concentrate at Winco. I store the oj in the freezer, until I'm ready to make some juice for smoothies.

For protein powder, we stick with Target's Market Pantry vanilla and chocolate powders. We get them for under $20 and they last us about a month or two, depending on how often we use them. We also buy pb2 powder. It's dehydrated peanutbutter, so you get the pb taste and protein, but not all the fat and calories. We love to mix a scoop of chocolate protein powder, two tablespoons of pb2 powder, 1 banana, 1 tbl chia seeds, and almond milk for a yummy dessert smoothie. Oh this one is delicious! :)

Oh and I can't forget spinach. Spinach is a great source of folate and can be blended into any smoothie. Spinach is sneaky because it doesn't have a huge taste in smoothies. You can sneak it into your kids drinks without them realizing. Our favorite spinach smoothie is a handful of spinach leaves, 1 banana, 4 strawberries, 1/4 cup blueberries, and juice. Blend and enjoy!

We use our nutri bullet for mixing, but any blender will do.

What are your smoothie basics? Oh and what are your favorite recipes? I'm always looking for new smoothie ideas :)

XO Danielle

Friday, January 22, 2016

Why I Like to Have Pancake Mix in My Food Storage...

Growing up, my father always made pancakes on the weekends. He used his purple bowl (which he stills has to this day) and would whip up a batch of batter. Sometimes he let my brother and I help, which we LOVED. We always knew Saturday mornings were pancake day and that was something we looked forward to as a kid. I mean who doesn't like pancakes? We all do right?

Well over the years I have continued that tradition of pancakes on the weekends. The only difference is that I use a homemade recipe. I like to throw in extras or make the batter whole wheat if I desire. I like the "options" factor of going homemade. 

I do still buy Krusteaz pancake mix to keep in our food storage and today I thought I would share with you why. Now I know that I typically have flour and sugar, but there have been times when I am missing a few other ingredients. When times are tough and the money isn't always coming in, you don't always have oil or eggs on hand. When this happens, having a pancake mix in your food storage will help a ton. 

We will all have rainy days and no matter how well we prepare ourselves, there may be times when there just isn't extra money to go buy those few things we need to round out whatever we have on hand. We have had times in our life, when hubby was out of work. For all of my friends who have been in this situation, you know it is a scary thing to go through. Not knowing when the money will start rolling in again can definitely be stressful. When these times happened, we made do with what we had. We ate out of food storage, stretched our savings as much as we could, and honestly tried to not spend anything extra. 

Sometimes that meant going without. Sometimes that meant cutting our regular grocery budget in half, so that we could pay the electric bill. We've all been there right? We've all had seasons where tough decisions had to be made, so we could provide for our family. When this did happen, I turned to my pantry staples to make a meal for my family. We would combine our pancakes with canned fruits and call it a meal. Having this just once a week really helped to stretch our budget when times were tough. 

Pancake mix also has a fairly long shelf life...lasting about two years. You can add all kinds of things to your batter, like fruit, chocolate chips, pieces of sausage, etc. I remember my dad saying that his family used leftover pancakes for sandwich bread growing up. They did this because money was tight and pancakes were a cheap option to fill tummies. 

I hope to share more pantry staples like these, which are great to stock up on and have on hand for when the time to "make do" arises. I want you all to know that I know what it is like to not know how the bills are going to get paid next month. I remember that feeling of uncertainty and how unsettling it can feel. I do want to tell you though that if you do the little adopting a life of thrift, stretching your budget, putting money away for those rainy days, and stocking up when your budget allows...those rainy days will not be so hard. Knowing that you are preparing, as much as you can, for when the rain comes is a great comfort. We can do amazing things in our lives. We're in the drivers seat of our life and we can do hard things. I never want you to forget that.

May God Bless you and I hope this post finds you with a happy heart :)

Have a wonderful weekend friends! 

XO Danielle 

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Only the greatest gadget for baking cookies...

Today I am sharing one of my favorite kitchen gadgets with you friends. This gadget is one that I resisted getting for years....for years people....because I was convinced I could get along fine without. Then one day I caved, while at Walmart. I picked up this goodie and have never looked back.

Today I'm talking about my Oneida Cookie Dough Scoop. Friends, I feel a little guilty because I should have shared this gem with you quite a while ago, but time got away from me. You know how that old story goes...

I got my cookie scoop probably a year or so ago. I was seeing all these beautifully shaped cookies on Pinterest and I wanted to know what these mamas were using that I wasn't. I realized that a big difference was how they were getting their dough on the pans. I was using this two spoon technique. It was a bit messy and a smidge on the time consuming part. Once I realized that a cookie dough scoop could make my baking process easier, I was first in line for this gadget.

I snagged mine from Wal-Mart for under $7. It makes scooping out the dough so easy. It has a trigger handle that allows the dough to come out in a happy little ball. My cookies now plump up and are pretty little circles.

This little gem has made cookie making an absolute cinch, so if you've been on the fence I'm here to tell you that you should jump. Jump over and get yourself a cookie scoop. Your cookies will thank you.

Now I want to know what your favorite cooking gadgets you use a muffin scoop? Are they as great as they look? Let me know friends :)

XO Danielle

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Garlic Butter Rolls...

Hey friends! I am so excited to share a new recipe with you all today. Part of my "simplify" in 2016 has had to do with our schedule. 2015 was super busy. I felt like I was always on the go. With simplifying being my focus for the new year, I've eliminated a lot from our schedule, so that we have more time at home. More time to learn, play, and make yummy goodies like these rolls.

I got the dough started in my bread maker around 10 in the morning. The boy helped me. He is starting to show an interest in making food, so we talked about some of the basics and the consistency you want for bread dough. He's an eager learner. I had him put everything in the bread pan and we let the bread machine do the magic. We checked it once or twice and the dough looked great.

By 4 the dough had risen (it took a bit since our house was a smidge cold) and was ready for some love. By now the kids were having a "Just Dance" dance off, so I was on my own with finishing the rolls. 

I punched down my dough and then divided it between two greased round pans. I then took each section and divided it again into seven chunks. I made each of these chunks into a ball. I  placed six balls in a circle and one ball in the middle. I did this in each pan.

I melted half a stick of butter on the stove. You could totally use a microwave, but mine decided to spark and has since been retired. Thankfully my parents have an extra in their garage (my dad saves everything), which I'm super thankful. We get it on Monday. 

Anyway... Back to the rolls...

I generously brushed each roll with melted butter and sprinkled them with garlic salt and parsley. I used about 1/2 tbl of garlic salt on each pan, but it's really up to your taste buds how much garlic salt you prefer.

I baked my rolls for 20 minutes @375'. I had a little bit of melted butter left, so I gave them each one more quick brush.

The rolls came out beautifully and we're absolutely wonderful. I can't wait to make these puppies again.

Below is the recipe for the dough I used. Enjoy friends and if you make them, share a pic on Instagram. I love when you guys tag me to show off all the fun stuff you make. You're so encouraging!

Garlic Butter Rolls

3/4 cup warm water
2 eggs
3 tbl olive oil
4 tbl sugar
1 tsp salt
3 1/2 cups white flour
2 1/4 tsp dry yeast

Place ingredients in your bread maker and run on dough cycle.

Once cycle has finished, punch down dough and divide between two greased round pans. Divide each section into seven balls and place in pan.  Brush with 1/2 stick of melted butter. Sprinkle with garlic salt and parsley. Bake at 375' for 20-22 minutes. Brush with any leftover melted butter before serving.

XO Danielle

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Case Lot Sale at Smith's: What I Stocked Up On.....

Morning lovelies! Today I am sharing all the good stuff I got at the Smith's case lot sale here in Henderson last week. We stocked up on some fun stuff and I am excited to show you. I even took a video to show you where we are storing it and some creative ways we will be using our caned goods this year. Be sure to check it out all out :)

Apple Juice @ $12.00 each

We saved $27.04 by buying this in bulk. We bought two cases, which each have 8 bottles of apple juice in them. I'm hoping these last us a few months.

Canned Pears @ $21.60 each

We saved $9.36 by buying these in bulk. I only bought one case of these, since we already had two cases in food storage. We love to use these as a side dish, in smoothies, in fruit salad, and for baking.

Canned Peaches @ $21.60 each

We saved $9.36 by buying these in bulk. I only bought one case of these, since we already had two cases in foo storage. We love to use these as a side dish, in fruit salad, in smoothies, and for baking. Peach dump cake is a favorite of ours. I just made it recently using this recipe :)

Campbell Soup @ $12.00 each

I bought two cases of these. One in hearty chicken noodle soup and the other in New England Clam Chowder. Both are my family's favorites! You get 12 cans of soup to a case, which makes them $1 a piece. These soups make for quick lunches or dinners, when mama doesn't want to cook. These are a perfect pantry staple to have. Oh I also like to have canned soups on hand for when cold season strikes. It definitely helps out this mama when I am dealing with sick littles. We saved $8 on each case of soup.

Canned Mandarin Oranges @ 50 cents a piece

They didn't have these packed in cases, so I had to buy them individually. I ended up clearing their shelf of lite canned mandarin oranges. That came out to 14 cans of oranges. I like the lite canned (which I also bought in the peaches and pears) because it is not canned in a heavy syrup, but actual fruit juice. The sugar content is about half of what it would be packed in syrup. We use these oranges in fruit salad, as a side dish, for a snack, to top salads with, and in baking. 

Angel Hair Pasta @ $1 each

We saved .49 cents on each package of pasta. I only bought 2 packages. We already had two in our pantry. This amount of pasta will last us a month of two. We are not huge pasta eaters, so this is a perfect amount for my family. If you are big pasta eaters, take advantage of sales like these and stock up. Pasta is a great pantry item to stock up on.  

Cake Mix @ $1 each

I saved .39 cents on each of these. I only bought six. Two I will be using for Miss Priss's birthday cake this month (she's requested an Oreo cake) and the other four are for quick treats, when I don't have enough time to make something from scratch. 

Kroger Instant Oatmeal @ $1.39

We saved .28 cents per box. I bought four boxes to have in food storage. I love these because the kids can quickly make them in the microwave. Mama is not needed to supervise at the stove :)

Canned Mushrooms @ 69. cents each

This was another item that was part of the case lot sale, but they did not have them packaged in a case. I had to clear the shelf of canned mushrooms. We've been out of these for quite a while. We try to use fresh when we can, but having veggies in our pantry, for those times when we don't have fresh or the fresh price is not a good one, allows us to stretch our budget a bit further. I bought 24 cans of mushrooms. We saved .20 cents on each one. That's a savings of $4.80. More money in my pocket always make me happier.

All together we spent $128. 32. and we saved $75.05. That's $75 that now can stay in our pockets and go towards other goals my family is working towards. 

Here's a video tour of where I am storing my case lot goodies and some more fun tips and tricks. 

Enjoy friends!!

XO Danielle

Monday, January 18, 2016

Basic White Bread...

Morning lovelies! I've gotten a few requests for new bread recipes, specifically ones that do not require a bread maker. Last week I decided to try my hand at an old recipe. I hadn't made it in over a year. It is the basic white bread recipe that is printed in my KitchenAid manual, with a few changes. Since I've been trying to embrace my focus word for this year, I've had more time at home, which means more time for making homemade things. My family was very excited when they saw me making the dough. They knew some homemade goodness was on the horizon. 

This recipe was super easy to whip up. I was actually surprised that within 15 minutes I had my dough made and ready to rise in a greased bowl. I let it rise in that bowl for a few hours and then I put my loaves into loaf pans and let them rise again. Around dinner time they were ready for baking. Fresh baked bread is one of my favorite treats and I am thankful that this little peanut, who's been giving me a whole lot of morning sickness, got the memo and allowed me to have some yummy bread without a case of the queasies afterwards. It was a welcomed treat :)

Basic White Bread

1/2 cup milk (I used almond milk)
3 tbl sugar
2 tsp salt
3 tbl butter
2 packages of active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water
5 to 6 cups flour

Place milk, sugar, salt, and butter in a sauce pan. Heat over low heat until butter melts and sugar dissolves. Cool to lukewarm.

Dissolve yeast in warm water in mixing bowl. Add lukewarm milk mixture and 4 1/2 cups of flour. Using your dough hook, mix for about 1 minute. Continue mixing, adding 1/2 cup flour at a time. Mix until dough clings to hook and cleans the sides of bowl. Knead for an additional 2 minutes. Dough will be slightly sticky to the touch. 

Place dough in a greased bowl. Cover with clear wrap. Let rise in a warm place for 1-2 hours or until doubled in size.

Punch dough down and divide in half. Shape each half into a loaf and place in a greased loaf pan. Cover with clear wrap. Allow to double in size. Once doubled, remove clear wrap and bake.

Bake at 350' for 30 minutes. Remover from oven and rub with cold butter. Remove from loaf pans and allow to cool on a cooling rack.

Enjoy friends!

XO Danielle
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