Penny Pinching Peach


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Chocolate Banana Peanut Butter Glaze Cake

Chocolate Banana Cake With Peanut Butter Glaze

Chocolate Banana Cake With Peanut Butter Glaze

I have been trying to cook from ingredients I already have in my cabinets as much as possible. I had a couple of bananas that were overripe, and was out of chocolate chips and raisins for the cookies I’d normally make with them. I also had a cake mix that needed used, and a craving for chocolate and peanut butter. From that jumping point, I brainstormed and cooked up the Chocolate Banana Cake with Peanut Butter Glaze. Wanna try it? Here is what I did…

Chocolate Banana Cake

1 Duncan Hines chocolate cake mix
1 cup water
1/2 cup oil
2 eggs
2 mashed overripe bananas
Grease a 13×9 pan. Bake at 350 for 32-34 minutes, or until toothpick stuck in the middle comes out clean.
Frost it with peanut butter glaze.

Peanut Butter Honey Glaze

1/2 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup water
Mix well.
This would work great as a simple topping for cake,  muffins,  or brownies. It would also make a healthy sweet fruit dip.
Pretty simple, huh? My family loves this easy peasy cake! It’s moist and sweet without being sickeningly sweet. It’s also very inexpensive, especially if you’re like me and only buy cake mixes with awesome sales and coupons.
If you want another way to use up overripe bananas (or peanut butter, my couponing comrades!), try these recipes below…
Peanut butter chocolate chip close-up

Peanut butter chocolate chip close-up

Peanut Butter Chocolate Banana Oatmeal

Peanut Butter Chocolate Banana Oatmeal

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Tomato Cucumber Macaroni Salad

Tomato Cucumber Macaroni Salad

Tomato Cucumber Macaroni Salad

Want a quick & healthy dish for a summer lunch? Try my Tomato Cucumber Macaroni Salad! It’s super simple, and a hit any time I make it. I made it the night before while I was making baked mac and cheese for supper, and let it chill overnight to marry the flavors better. It really did blend the tastes together even more strongly by morning.

Here’s how ya do it:

Boil two cups of macaroni noodles to al dente.

While the noodles are boiling, chop up two medium cucumbers and two medium tomatoes. Toss in a medium sized bowl with a bit of salt and pepper.

When ready, drain the noodles and rinse with cold water until they are cooled off. Dump in the bowl with the chopped veggies.

Pour in ranch dressing to taste and stir well. You can eat it then or chill overnight.

This would be good with sweet onions, shredded carrots, chopped olives, tuna or shredded chicken stirred in, as well. It’s a versatile sort of “dump salad”, and oodles of fun for the palate to play with a variety of ingredients. I love to use fresh veggies from my garden for light and refreshing lunches in the summer time, so it varies what I make according to what produce is on hand.

This would be great for packing in something like these World Kitchen Pyrex 6-Piece Food Plus Storage Set for lunches, if you have a cooler to carry or refrigeration available wherever you’re headed for work, school or play. Just pop one open on your lunch break and dig in! 🙂

What are some of your favorite lunches? What splendid summer veggies do you have an abundance of to gobble up?

Peace, smiles, and good vittles for all! 😉

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Ramen Noodle Crust Pizza

Ramen Crust Pizza

Ramen Crust Pizza

Yep, you saw that right! Ramen Noodle Crust Pizza it is! I have been trying to cook from the pantry a lot, and happened to have ramen noodles and pizza topping ingredients galore, so I made this concoction. It was quite a hit with my kiddos, and a super simple cheap weeknight meal! 🙂

All I did for the “crust” was boil a pack of Ramen noodles while preheating the oven to 400 degrees, then mixed it with 4 eggs, a generous sprinkling of Parmesan cheese and some garlic powder. (If my husband had been home, I’d have doubled that.) I spread it on an oiled baking sheet.

The toppings were just the typical stuff I would put on a pizza. Tomato sauce with seasoning to taste, mozzarella cheese, pepperoni, lots of spinach and onion. I baked it for about 10 minutes, and it was ready to slice and serve. It wasn’t quite as sturdy as regular pizza crust, so we ate it with forks. It was really quick and tasty, though! 🙂

Anyone else have weird- but delicious- uses for Ramen noodles?


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My Kids’ Favorite Oatmeal

Peanut Butter Chocolate Banana Oatmeal

Peanut Butter Chocolate Banana Oatmeal

If you are one of those moms who just wants to quickly throw something together to feed the ravenous hordes in your house, but would prefer that something be healthy as well as faster as a wink and kid approved….this is the post for you!

My five year old long ago declared that she hated oatmeal, it was disgusting and slimy, and she would never, ever like it, no matter what. Challenge me, do ya, kiddo? Alrighty then! Challenge accepted! 😉 Guess what? She likes oatmeal. “But only the good kind you make, Mommy, not that other stuff, so I still hate that!” The following concoctions are the few approved by my resident oatmeal snob and the rest of the family.

This is my kids’ favorite oatmeal- and one of their most requested breakfasts. It’s Mommy and Daddy approved, too! My husband has me pack the ingredients for him at the fire station sometimes, because it sticks with him pretty well.

Take 1-2 packs of plain instant oatmeal and prepare according to package. Chop

Strawberries and Cream

Strawberries and Cream

up 1-2 bananas, according to taste and the number of people eating (2 packs and 1 banana is okay for just me and my two small children). Mash it into the oatmeal, along with a generous dollop of peanut butter and a sprinkling of chocolate chips. Stir and serve. Delicious!! The bowl in the

photo was immediately prepared and dished out for my munchkins and I, who were quite annoyed when I paused to take a photo of their breakfast while I was making it. 🙂

Another winner is one I call strawberries and cream. You can use chopped strawberries with milk and strawberry jam or chopped strawberries with cream and honey or chopped strawberries and strawberry yogurt. All of them give a yummy effect, so use whatever works in that category. Just strawberries and milk wasn’t nearly sweet enough, and the same with the cream, so the jam and honey helped with that. If you can’t tell, I’m the queen of kitchen improvisation.

Lastly, we have another super simple selection that is kiddo approved. Simply mix in a scoop of peanut butter and a dash of cinnamon, with or without honey or a smattering of chocolate chips. Similar, but mentionably different, from the first flavor.

Simply Sweet

Simply Sweet

I love meals that can be made quickly, cheaply and healthily from ingredients I normally have hanging around the house, anyway. These definitely fit that description, so I hope y’all enjoy them, too.

Does your family like oatmeal? What are their favorite flavors? If not, do you think any of these could possibly convert your own personal oatmeal snobs? It’s worth a try! it worked on my little princess picky pants, so it might work on yours, too. 🙂

Want another great recipe using oatmeal? Try my family approved Completely Healthy Cookies for an easy peasy snack that is both healthy and delicious.


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Easy Cake Mix Cookies

Easy Cake Mix Cookies

Easy Cake Mix Cookies

My family loves super soft cookies, and I love simple and inexpensive treats. While I don’t always keep cookies around, sometimes nothing else will do. I usually have some cake mixes stashed in ym cabinets, so I decided to try out this easy cake mix cookies recipe, shared at the bottom of this post.

The beauty of this recipe is it’s versatility. You can literally do pretty much any flavors you can get in a cake mix and throw in whatever mix-in tickles your fancy. My husband is a fiend for chocolate and peanut butter together, so this time I went with devil’s food cake and peanut butter chips. It was the bomb diggety!

This recipe is a terrific choice for cooking with kids, because it’s pure simplicity and no fuss to make, and what kid doesn’t like cookies? 😉 My five and two year olds had a good ol’ time dumping in the ingredients, doing quality control taste tests on the peanut butter chips, dumping spoonfuls of batter on the cookie sheet, and eating the results of their labor.

Some other flavor combinations I think would be yummy? Lemon cake with vanilla chips, almonds or coconut. Chocolate cake with white chocolate, coconut, raisins or nuts. Vanilla cake with chocolate chips, dried cranberries or nuts. Peanut butter cake with chocolate chips, Reese’s cups diced up or nuts. Orange cake with dark chocolate chips or dried cranberries. Strawberry cake with dark or white chocolate chips. I’ll stop now, but you get the picture. There are TONS of possibilities!

What flavor combinations can you come up with?

Here is the link to the simply sweet recipe I used as my base.

http://www.food.com/recipe/easy-cake-mix-cookies-5287


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Penny Pinching Popsicles

Penny Pinching Popsicles

Penny Pinching Popsicles

Whose kiddos don’t enjoy an ice cold treat on a warm day? I haven’t met one yet! Here comes the quandary for the penny pinchers like me who also try to minimize their children’s intakes of artificial dyes and an overload of sugars on less-than-special occasions. The cheap popsicles are full of naughty dyes and sugars. The “healthy” versions are way out of our daily budget for the voracious appetites of our chilly chompers. My solution? Homemade on the cheap, of course!

My children have already started their popsicle trip for the summer, so I was planning to make some homemade popsicles to satisfy their cravings. Last year I’d already purchased a new set of popsicle makers on sale for a dollar, so I was prepared with the right tools. You can also get them on Amazon for less than five dollars: Ostart 8 Cell Frozen Ice Cream Pop Mold Popsicle Maker Lolly Mould Tray Pan Kitchen DIYA similar model to the one I have is: Easy Pack 8 pc Popsicle Maker

As I scanned the juice aisle, I spotted fruit punch marked way down to 50 cents for the real kind in the refrigerated section!! SCORE!!! It’s not the 100% fruit kind, but it is dye free and no corn syrup, so I’m good with that for a treat.

When I got time after I’d gotten everything put up, I poured a set of popsicles up, let Princess Pennypincher put the tops on them and popped them in the freezer to set up. I made a set of 8, but I can easily make a minimum of three more sets out of this one juice container. At this price, that’s less than two cents apiece, y’all!!! It didn’t take much longer than it normally does to fix two sippy cups full of their water splashed with juice, either, so it’s not at all time consuming. A trick for removing them from the freezer container more easily without getting all handle and no popsicle? Carefully twist the handle as you pull the popsicle out if it starts to stick on you. My children love the cold, sweet treats. I love that there is no guilt in allowing them to indulge- from a health or budget perspective. Win-win!!! 😉

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Keep Sliced Apples Fresh

How to keep apple slices fresh longer…

My kids love to snack on apple slices. The problem is, they frequently don’t finish all of the slices at one sitting. I got fed up with feeding the leftovers to the chickens, and remembered that I’d heard lemon juice would keep the slices fresh for longer. I didn’t have lemon juice, but I did have key lime, so I tried it. Here are the results, after 24 hours.

First, I put a slice aside as a control to see how well the key lime juice would actually work. Below is what it looked like after 24 hours, a sort of golden brown. It was also fairly squishy when I’d give it a squeeze between my fingers.

Apple slice without key lime juice

Apple slice without key lime juice

Next, I put a couple of slices of apple in a Ziploc baggie, sprinkled a few drops of key lime juice inside, swished it all around to make sure there was a light coating all over and squeezed the air out of the bag, leaving it on the kitchen counter with the other plain apple baggie. Below is what it looked like after 24 hours, almost as white as when I sliced it. The texture was also pretty much the same, and there was barely a hint of key lime flavor when eating it.

Apple slices with key lime juice

Apple slices with key lime juice

All in all, I’d say this experiment was a definite success. I’ve added a new weapon to my produce saving, grocery stretching repertoire! It’s also a great option for prepping healthy snacks the night before when you know you have a busy day coming up.

For more snack ideas, check out After School Snacks!