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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After School Snacks

With school just starting, I thought I’d share a few suggestions for a variety of after school snacks. There should be something to make any kiddo happy in this list, from homemade junk food to truly delicious healthy options!

Easy Cake Mix Cookies

This is a super simple and versatile cookie recipe you can whip up in a snap with whatever mix you have on hand. Try it!

Easy Cake Mix Cookies

Easy Cake Mix Cookies

Crafty Snacking

This post has a few creative, cute and quick snack ideas, including the friendly spider below. Anyone can do these, even kids!

Happy Spider

Happy Spider

Penny Pinching Popsicles

Try these refreshing and inexpensive homemade popsicles! You won’t regret it!

Penny Pinching Popsicles

Penny Pinching Popsicles

Super Yummy Don-t-Tell-Them-They’re-Healthy Snacks

Here’s a list of fun, easy and very healthy kid approved snacks! Many of these can also be made by the kiddos themselves.

Veggie Snack

Veggie Snack

Completely Healthy Cookies? Yes, Please!

This recipe for multiple versions of oatmeal cookies are made with only wholesome ingredients- no sugar or flour- and pass the taste test of my children and hubby who all have a sweet tooth. They are quite filling, and healthy enough that you could be the cool mom giving them cookies for breakfast! 😉

Peanut butter chocolate chip close-up

Peanut butter chocolate chip close-up

Home Flavored Yogurt

Do you love yogurt, but not all the sugary content or the high price tag on individual servings? This is the perfect idea for you!

Home Flavored Yogurt

Home Flavored Yogurt

Some More S’mores

Love s’mores, but no time for campfires for awhile? Here’s your solution!

S'mores Cupcakes

S’mores Cupcakes

Which of these do you want to try first? These are all tried and approved by my own munchkins. They don’t pretend to like anything just to spare Mommy’s feelings, so you know they’ve passed at least a couple of kid tests. 😉


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Edible Jewelry

Cheerio Bracelet

Cheerio Bracelet

This is one of my go to easy peasy portable activities for toddlers! I often pack a kit for these in my busy bag!

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Does anyone remember those candy necklaces like these Candy Necklace (24 Count) that were so much fun as kids?

I loved those, and they gave me the inspiration for this idea after my husband bought one for our daughter awhile back and I saw how much she enjoyed it, just like I did. 🙂

My kiddos love to create things, and to play dress up.

After a few incidents with little miss curious putting beads where they did not belong, like….say….her nose and ear….beads are banned from our house for the undetermined future of little kidliness. They absolutely love stringing things and making jewelry, though, so I came up with a safer alternative for them.

I give them each a bowl full of dry cereal, like multigrain Cheerios (preferred over regular because of the multi colors that go along with the multigrain) or Fruit Loops (which we never have, because of the dyes and sugars, but are much prettier for the purpose…LOL). I make a loop on the end of a pipe cleaner Chenille Kraft Big Box Of Pipe Cleaners – Jumbo Stems Assortment Idea Book, 150-Piece for each of them to string their cereal on. They then proceed to make patterns to their little hearts content, until they pretty much fill their pipe cleaner and I tie it off to the loop for them.

For my portable bracelet making kits, I grab a sandwich bag, throw in a big handful of Cheerios and a pipe cleaner with the loop already in it. Tada! Quick and easy busy bag!

When finished, my little ones have cute little bracelets they can wear, and they can eat them, too!

My five year old rarely eats hers, to be honest, but my two year old absolutely LOVES to nibble on his creation. He thinks edible jewelry is awesome, because he made it and because it’s edible. 🙂

Need more fun and easy preschool activities? Check out 10 Preschool ActivitiesUsing Household Items!


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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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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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Cloud Dough

So much fun!

So much fun!

Has anyone made their own play dough? I hadn’t, but I was looking for a new project for little miss creative when I saw a recipe for something they called “cloud dough”. It looked so easy, fun and super duper cheap to make, I had to give it a try.

The recipe? Two parts corn starch to one part hair conditioner of choice. I let my little one pick one that was pink and she liked the smell of. Mix until it’s all combined. It will be the roughly consistency of play dough, smell like conditioner, and have a soft fluffy feel to it ( hence the cloud part).

My daughter loves this stuff! She says it is even better than regular

Glittery Dough

Glittery Dough

playdough, because it’s soft and makes her hands smell yummy. We keep it in a Ziploc bag between playing. Our first batch kept for several weeks, then we made a second. It takes very little time or money, and scored high points for Mommy. It has kept her busy for hours, and I even let my little guy play with it some, if I am able to stay by them to watch closely.

A fun change up is one we just tried yesterday. I sprinkled a tiny bit of gold glitter on the table and let her roll the

dough in it, then she squished the glitter all up in it. Now she has sparkly cloud dough, which she calls her sparkly fairy dough. 🙂

Pink Cloud Dough

Pink Cloud Dough

Updating to share yet another twist on this fun dough we make regularly! 🙂 If you’re like me, and don’t keep dyes around on a regular basis, but do

Green Cloud Dough

Green Cloud Dough

keep sugar sprinkles for decorating baked goods, this one is for you! My kiddos had been arguing over what dough was whose, so I was brainstorming for a way to differentiate. I reached for the green and red sugar sprinkles in the spice cabinet and mixed a generous amount into each of their batches separately. My girly girl Princess Peachy wound up with a beautiful pink to make her little heart smile, and my dinosaur loving Bambam got a soul satisfying light green. No more fussing!! 🙂

Who wants to whip up a batch of this stuff? It is super simple, inexpensive and smells wonderful! 🙂


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Salt Dough Christmas Ornaments

Baked Ornaments

Mommy's Ornament

Mommy’s Ornament

One of my favorite traditions I’ve established with my little ones is to make new tree

Jingle Bell Ornament

Jingle Bell Ornament

ornaments each year and to make some sort of fun & yummy Christmas treat together every year. Last year we made Beaded Christmas Ornaments. This year I decided to try the classic salt dough ornaments, which was a first for both me and my five year old daughter. They are simple to make, and so much fun! If you choose to do these, allow for at least an hour to mix and knead the dough, cut the shapes and then let them bake for 30 minutes. You’ll need to allow them to cool, and if you won’t have time to paint then, just put them up to paint another day. I’ll share the link to the recipe I used at the end of the post.

First, we had fun measuring, mixing and kneading that dough.

Shaped ornaments

Shaped ornaments

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Next, we enjoyed choosing the cookie cutters to use and pressing out all the fun shapes

Snowman and Stocking Ornaments

Snowman and Stocking Ornaments

we’d chosen.  This set gives a great variety to choose from Set of 6 Christmas Cookie Cutters
! I rolled a little ball and pressed it on the face of one snowman to see if it

Christmas stocking ornament

Christmas stocking ornament

would turn out okay as a nose, and it really did.

We wound up with so many shapes already, I molded some various fun figures with the leftover dough for a second batch to cook up. I also pressed each child’s hand into the dough and cut out the print, which is probably going to be one of my favorite keepsakes for the tree.

Once the ornaments were baked and cooled, I set out newspaper, paints and

bowls of water. I let my little missy paint hers however she pleased, as you can see from the various pictures. (Washable Kid’s Paint
is your friend!) I painted one with her, which made her really happy, too.

 

Painting ornaments

Painting ornaments

Once they were dry, I let her glue shiny shapes onto a couple of her ornaments, and she thought that was quite the fancy touch.

We were supposed to seal them, but I don’t have any sealant, so they are just going without for now. I want to get some Mod Podge Sealant
before we put them up so they will last.

I had some gold cord already in my craft stash, so I just cut lengths of that and knotted them, then let my little girly girl hang them on our tree. She was over the moon with the results. She also said making ornaments with Mommy was one of her favorite things she’d done in a long, lonnnnnng time! Good enough for me. 🙂

What shapes would you want to make your ornaments in? Here is the recipe we used:

http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Ornament-Dough/

Here is a fun little ebook about Christmas crafts for kids: Christmas Crafts for Kids: Easy Christmas Crafts Your Kids Will Love Making!

If you don’t have a Kindle, but want to be able to read e-books like the one above, here is a free app that will help you out: Amazon.com – Read eBooks using the FREE Kindle Reading App on Most Devices

 

Flower and Cowboy Hat Ornament

Flower and Cowboy Hat Ornament