Thursday, March 29, 2007

Frugal Fridays/Homemade Sausage Biscuits

We had been buying boxes of frozen sausage biscuits for my nine year old son who loves to heat these by himself in the microwave in the morning. They were easy and convenient, but a little expensive, and the ingredients where unwholesome - lots of preservatives, nitrites, etc.
So I made my own sausage biscuits from scratch to freeze, and my son likes them*.

Sausage Biscuits
Mix together into patties:
3 pounds ground pork
2 cups grits or polenta(moistened with 1 cup hot water)
1 chopped and sauteed onion
2 t. sage
1 tsp. thyme
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/2 tsp. fennel
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. pepper
a dash of ground cloves and nutmeg
Add a tsp. or two of milk if dry and/or an egg
Fry in oil until no pink is inside, or fry both sides and then bake for 25-30 minutes at 350 degrees just to make sure. Freeze, and when you are ready to eat - microwave for 2 minutes with the biscuits.


Stir together in a bowl:
2 c. flour
3 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 c. shortening, butter or oil
3/4 c. milk
Knead lightly on floured surface for 20 minutes. Roll out dough to 1/2 inch thickness, cup with floured biscuit cutter, or opening of a floured glass.
Bake on ungreased pan for 10-12 minutes. Makes about 16-18. Freeze and microwave.

* The sausage was just a very little bit dry. I'd recommend adding an egg and/or milk if you like a moister sausage. We will be trying this next time.

Click on Frugal Friday image to see more frugal tips.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Homemade Chocolate Cupcake Soap - Easy

Yesterday I made soap by rebatching Ivory soap. Although I could have made my own soap with lye, I thought I'd try working with Ivory soap first. Commercial soap is very drying because glycerin is removed to make lotions. Rebatching soap lets you add moisture back, and it's fun to add your own ingredients and shapes. I used this link for the soap recipe, but ended up combining recipes and making my own.

Chocolate Cupcake Soap:

Three bars of Ivory Soap
3/4 Cup water
5 Tablespoons olive oil
3 Tablespoons glycerin
3 Tablespoon cocoa powder
3 Tablespoon honey
1/2 cup powdered milk
3 Tablespoon cinnamon

Cut soap up into smaller pieces, place in a glass Pyrex measuring bowl, add water and cook in microwave for about 2 minutes at a time, watch closely for puffing up, stop when it does this and stir, repeat until it is creamy. Add more water and a little of the oil if too dry*.

Once it's nice and creamy, add oil and remaining ingredients, stir well, adding more water and oil if too dry. I heat it up more if it's still chunky, and stir.

Grease cupcake tins with olive oil, fill and allow to dry overnight. If they don't pop out, try to push them out by hand, or freeze them for a little bit. Mine popped out well after I spun them around in the muffin tin with my finger.

For Icing:

Cook one bar of cut up Ivory soap in a clean glass bowl in the microwave with about 1/4 cup water and 1 tablespoon of glycerin. Repeat muffin cooking instructions above. When it gets nice and creamy it's ready to frost. The frosting dries pretty quickly. I waited a few hours and it was ready for use.

I sprinked sugar on a few of the cupcakes before adding the frosting. I'm experimenting with a garden soap. The sugar adds a little abrasive for extra cleaning.

I used thrift store purchased older tins and other items for this project. I won't be cooking food with them, and I'd suggest the same.

I added the frosting today. I have the cupcake soap next to the kitchen sink, and it cleans well, but is A LOT easier on my hands than regular soap. There was no greasy residue. I like it!

Next project: liquid soap. I may get brave enough to make bar soap from scratch with lye, not just rebatch Ivory soap.

*If the soap is too dry, add more water, oil or glycerin than is stated in the recipe.

Update: Some of the natural ingredients did mold after a few months in storage. I'd not store this soap for long periods of time.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Make It From Scratch Carnival: Homemade Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup

This was so easy, and so flavorful. I used the condensed chicken soup recipe at Tammy's Recipes. I much prefer this to the canned, and will be using this recipe in the future. I think next time, I'll add mushrooms and fresh chopped onions instead of the instant minced which is all I had on hand. This recipe is so versatile, you could make any cream soup with it. It's a good recipe for leftover vegetables. I plan to cook it with some chicken tonight.

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