Sunday, September 28, 2008

A good dinner calls for a good dessert

Last night despite not feeling well I cooked dinner for my family and Jeremy's mom and brother. I tried two new recipes: Baked Ziti and Big Bad Chocolate Muffins. Both of them are keepers, so I want to share them with you. The Baked Ziti is super easy and takes delicious! It's a meatless meal, so it's a frugal meal! I recommend keeping the extra 1/2 jar of spaghetti sauce to add to your leftovers. Can you guess what's for dinner tonight? The muffins are definitely a dessert muffin and remind me of the chocolate muffins that I love at Sweet Tomatoes. We added some ice cream on top like I do at Sweet Tomatoes. Yummy!

Baked Ziti


  • 1 lb ziti pasta

  • 15 ounces ricotta cheese (1 container)

  • 8oz. mozzarella cheese, grated and divided

  • 1 ½ jars of spaghetti sauce (26 oz. jars)

  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated


  1. Preheat oven to 350.

  2. Boil ziti, following package directions, drain and place in a large bowl.

  3. Mix all the ricotta cheese and half of the mozzarella with the ziti.

  4. Spray a 13×9 pan with Pam.

  5. Cover the bottom half of the pan with about half the sauce.

  6. Put the ziti mixture on top of sauce.

  7. Pour remaining sauce on top of ziti.

  8. Sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese.

  9. Top with the remaining mozzarella cheese.

  10. Cover with foil and bake for 20-30 minutes until cheese is melted and it is lightly golden. (Remove foil around the last 10 minutes or so.)

Big Bad Chocolate Muffins ( From the book Cupcakes From The Cake Mix Doctor)

1 devils food cake mix

1 (3.9 ounce) package instant chocolate pudding

3/4 cup vanilla yogurt

3/4 cup water

1/2 cup oil

3 eggs

2 cups chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease muffin pan (this makes about 20 muffins)or use muffin liners. Set aside. In a mixing bowl combine cake mix and pudding mix. In a separate bowl combine yogurt, water, oil, and eggs. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients just until combined. Stir in chocolate chips. Fill muffin tins about 3/4 full. Bake 20 -22 minutes or until center springs back. Cool on wire rack . (Store in a tight container, and they are yummy for several days! You could even pop them in the microwave for a couple of seconds... I doubled the recipe and froze 1/2 of them for later. I will thaw one and pop it in the microwave for my dessert one night.)

Monday, September 22, 2008

When you need a little encouragement...

For me, it's one of those days that I need a little encouragement. Here is goes... We are without a fridge and trying to find a used one. The kitchen has a bad smell to it because of the food that went bad in the fridge, and my candle isn't exactly doing the job. The house needs to be cleaned. I have a pile of laundry that I'm working on. I could go on. I'm plain overwhelmed with life.

Yesterday a girl at church sang a song that really spoke to me, so about an hour ago I looked up a video of it on YouTube. It's by Hillsong and is called Here in My Life. I'm about to play it again. Samuel enjoys music, so I've been playing several videos on YouTube for him. Maybe it will help me to get past this "stuff". The words are surely powerful and convicting!

Maybe you could use a little encouragement today too. If so, watch this:

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Safe Eyes

I did a post about Safe Eyes about a year ago. You can read it here if you missed it. Today I added a Safe Eyes banner to my blog. (It's right below Money Saving Mom. ) I believe that every Christian family should have an internet filter, and Safe Eyes just happens to be the one that I liked best. I am thankful for this filter now, and I am sure that I will be even more grateful once the boys are using the computer. Safe Eyes has so many options that you probably haven't even thought of. You can even set the hours for internet usage. Check it out! It's $50 a year and worth every penny! If you have any questions, feel free to ask me!

When it rains it pours!

The repair man can't fix the refrigerator... Now we are trying to decide what to do. Since we bought this one used on Craigslist, do we risk buying another used one to find that it too is in need of repair or worse? As if we needed the expense of another fridge!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Not such a good day

Today went from bad to worse. This morning I got up at 7:00 AM and packed everything to come home from our vacation with my parents. That was depressing enough since no one is ever happy for vacation to be over. Then, Vance spit out some of his Prevacid. This rarely happens because I have figured out how to give him the liquid and then quickly pop in the paci to keep him from spitting it out. I don't feel comfortable giving him extra medicine since I have no idea what he spits out, so I just let it go. Well, Vance didn't let it go and spent most of the day resisting the bottle, spitting up 1/4 cup of formula at the time, or crying. He did manage to sleep a couple of hours, but he spent a lot of time unhappy or adding to my pile of laundry. I changed my clothes twice, and I changed Vance's clothes 3 times. (I guess it's a good thing I did most of our laundry yesterday.)

We finally made it home after a long journey since we had to stop twice to give Vance a bottle. I forgot to add that the gas tank was on empty pulling into town, but we didn't worry about it and headed home anyway. As we got very close to home, it became obvious that there is a gas shortage here. YIKES! It was a problem before we left town a week ago, but since we didn't notice a problem while we were gone, we figured all was well at home. WRONG! I guess it' a good thing I spend most of my time at home since gas is up to $4.29 a gallon and hard to come by. I guess I should let those that work get the gas before me anyway.

Ok, so it got worse. Jeremy was unpacking the car, and I was unpacking our tiny cooler. I opened the freezer to put the ice packs away and smelled something awful. It turns out the the repair man didn't repair our fridge and freezer last week and ALL of our food is spoiled. Would you believe that in learning to be more frugal I had frozen a week's worth of meals (leftovers) for us to eat this week and all of it is in the garage in garbage bags? I cried (several times). I even caused Samuel to cry. (Not good.) Thankfully, I picked him up and calmed him down quickly. What a way to end the day! I keep wondering what the Lord is going to teach me through this since he knows how much we needed all of that food. For now, I'm going to try to forget about it and go to bed. What a day!

I will post more beach pictures soon!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

In the mood for dessert?

I have been cooking a lot more these days. I have also been craving sweets like crazy. (No, I'm not pregnant.) Instead of paying too much for not so great packaged sweets, I have been making more homemade sweets to satisfy my cravings and serve my family. In honor of my grandma, I made my first apricot nectar cake on Monday. I posted the recipe last summer. You can find it in my archives. Let me just say that I love that cake, and it is super easy to make. I made it in a bundt pan because I wanted a way to seal it up on my kitchen counter in my cake container. We have dreaded "palmetto bugs" that the pest control guy can't seem to keep out. Gross. I know. I try not to think about it because it upsets me to have them and a 12 week old baby in the same house. I also use the microwave sometimes to store things... Have you ever done that? It's a great place to keep your food safe from little creatures. Anyway, the cake was great, but today I was thinking about how I could surprise Jeremy with a dessert. He has enjoyed the cake, which is surprising, but he loves peanut butter. I found a no bake peanut butter bar recipe a few weeks ago, so I tried it. It was simple and tastes great! You store this in the fridge, which works well for keeping the "palmetto bugs" out of it. Here's the recipe from

Peanut Butter Bars (No Bake)

1 cup butter, melted

2 cups graham cracker crumbs

2 cups powdered sugar

1 cup peanut butter

1 1/2 cups chocolate chips (I don't recommend using dark chocolate because it is very rich.)

4 tablespoons peanut butter

Mix together the butter, graham cracker crumbs, powdered sugar, and 1 cup peanut butter until well blended. Press into the bottom of a 9x13 pan. Melt chocolate chips with peanut butter. Stir until smooth. Spread over crust. Refrigerate several hours before cutting into squares. Serve and enjoy!

Last week I made some yummy banana bread and doubled the recipe in order to make it in my bundt pan. Once again, I wanted to keep the bugs out and keep it moist longer. :) It was a great recipe and a hit around here. I will have to post that recipe that I got from Tressa. For now, I'm off to bed because I've been up since 6:00 and am wiped out!


I sold my first item on Craigslist! I'm excited! A woman is coming in the morning to pick up the baskets I used on the changing table with Samuel. I'm taking that money to buy Vance a "take along" swing for our trip to SC. Poor thing has a hard time sleeping at times, and the swing puts him to sleep. I have one that someone gave my mom, but unfortunately it doesn't swing even with new batteries.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

selling on Craigslist

I have never sold anything on Craigslist, but I have decided to sell Samuel's nursery bedding, curtains, and baskets there. If you are in the market for those things or know anyone who is, e-mail me and I will send you the links.

Have a great day!