Homemade Twix Cookies

Today’s post is Part III of the “Saving Money in the Kitchen” series that began Tuesday.  You can read Part I here and Part II here.

Although I intended to hit points four through nine today, I think I should stick with four and five.  Why?  Between the tips, recipe and giveaway I once again  had too much information to cover in one post but also my iron is low and I’m sleepy.  So I’ll have a steak tonight, lick a few windowsills, chew on a couple rusty nails and try to cap off the ‘Better Living List’ tips on Monday.  I’m sorry.  Was that a TMI moment?

Don’t forget.  There’s a giveaway at the end of the post.  We’re also making these today.

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How about a closer look.

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Oh yes.  We’re doing wild things with these…

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Right.  I ate so many of these that I’m now on a heavy-duty sugar buzz.  Must.  Focus.  Let’s get back to the money saving, shall we?  Got your notebook and pencil handy?

Plan your potential meals and make the most of what you already have available before you shop.

In order to plan the meals you will make you need to do three important things.

  • Determine how many days ahead you will plan.  I think it is best to start with a smaller time frame –say, four days to a week- and move up to longer periods rather than preparing two weeks or more in advance.  I learned this the hard way back in the day when I concluded that if most people could plan for a week, I’d quadruple the efficiency and plan for a month.  I spent scads of money, packed my refrigerator, and abandoned the plan within 8 days.  I was too fickle with my tastes to want what I thought I would want two weeks after planning it.  Shoot.  In that time I’d moved on from a French food obsession to a fixation on Mexican foods.  Can you blame me?  The point is that I wasted money (and food) by planning too far in advance.
  • Look through your refrigerator, pantry, cabinets, or wherever you stash your food.  Take note of what you already have.  Now look at list of potential meals you already made based on your family’s preferences.  (You did make the list didn’t you?) Compare the lists.  Do you have almost everything you need for any of those meals?  Put those down as meals you’ll make in the next week.
  • How many more meals do you need to round out the number you have in mind?  Did you account for breakfasts, lunches and snacks?  Don’t forget snacks.  I did twice.  It was ugly.  One time I simply forgot. Another time, though,  I thought I’d leave them off the list to help improve our diet and cut costs.  On the third day I buckled and ran to the store with all five kids.  I raced up and down the aisles throwing fruit snacks, granola bars, bags of chips, rice cakes, candy bars and dry cereal in the cart.  It did not end up improving us.  If you plan snacks, you’re more likely to eat one that is at least semi-healthy.  Carrot sticks or crackers with yogurt dill dip is friendlier both to your budget and your waistline than a bag of chips and a tub of French onion dip.

Now that you have the list of meals that you’ll have over the next few days you have some other things to consider.

  • Do you have any evening or weekend commitments that would require quicker meals?  Put your fastest meals on those nights.  Try to be realistic.  Don’t put a meal that requires an hour and a half of work on a weeknight when you’re going to be whipped.
  • Do any of your meals require steps that have to be done a day or two in advance?  Make note of that on your meal schedule.
  • Do you have to pack lunches for anyone?  Make note of that and be sure to have them done the night before you need them.

Know what you need beyond what you have to make those meals.

Let’s say one of the meals on your list is broiled salmon with soba noodles, ginger scallion sauce and cucumber salad.  Hypothetically, you have the salmon in the freezer, soba noodles on the pantry shelf, and everything but the ginger and scallions and cucumber for the sauce and salad.   In this case, you simply need to add seedless cucumbers, ginger and scallions to the produce section of your list.  Which brings me to a sidebar.*

*You need a standardized grocery list template.  I keep one on the front of my refrigerator.  When I run out of something or realize I will need it, I write it on the list.  If the front of the refrigerator is too public for you, tape it inside a cabinet in your kitchen.  Keep it and a- pencil- where you can get to it easily.  The list I use is a simple table I put together years ago  in a word processing program, but you can just as easily scrawl five boxes on a piece of paper.  The boxes get the following headings: “Produce”, “Grocery”, “Dairy/Frozen”, “Meat/Deli”, and “Household/Miscellaneous”.  When I say grocery, I mean shelf-stable items like dried pasta, canned tomatoes, flour, sugar, etc…  The ‘Household/Miscellaneous” category is meant to hold all my cleaning supplies, paper goods, pet food, motor oil and other things that don’t quite fit into the food categories.  Here’s a picture of the running list that is currently fixed to my refrigerator.

list

Once I’ve come down from my sugar high and grilled and eaten this giant flank steak on my counter top, I’ll get cracking on why it’s important to build flexibility and change into your plans and why, almost above all else, it’s important to not take any of this too seriously.  But for now, I have a recipe and a giveaway to tackle.

First, I need to warn you a little about my homemade Twix cookie recipe.  It makes quite a few, yes it does. That’s not the problem.  The problem is that they’re little.  And when food is little I feel justified in consuming many, many pieces.  If we were talking about, say, little bitty salads this would not be a problem.   But we’re not talking about salads.  We’re talking about bite-sized golden butter shortbread cookies topped with real dairy caramel then dipped in a dark chocolate coating made with heavy cream and more butter, so help me God. Have mercy on my soul, they’re so very good.  This has been a public service announcement from Foodie With Family.

If you are a better human than I am, you’ll stash these in the chill chest for a day before eating them.  Don’t misunderstand, they’re good when they’re fresh.  They’re too good as my now-burgeoning backside proves.  But the depth of flavor they develop after sitting for twenty-four hours is astonishing.

For a photo-free, printer friendly version of this recipe, click here!

Homemade Twix Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, divided
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or ground vanilla
  • one batch dulce de leche (homemade or purchased)
  • 12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 Tablespoon heavy cream

Cream 1 cup of the butter, salt, sugar and vanilla together until thoroughly combined. Refrain from eating this.  It’ll totally mess up your ratios…

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Add the flour and blend until the mixture resembles moist sand with pieces the size of peas scattered throughout.

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If you take a small handful and squeeze it, the mixture should hold together well.

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Preheat the oven to 300°F.

Lightly butter or spray a 36 mini-muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray.  Mound the dough mixture into each mini-muffin cup.  Or have your sous chef do it.  You can clean up their job later.  This stuff is like sand.  You can just flick it into the wells with your fingers.

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Use a small wooden tamper or your hands to press down the dough.

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When all have been firmed, carefully use the tamper to push a well into the center of each cookie.

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Bake for about 15 minutes or until golden around the edges.  Do not over bake.  Remove the pan to a cooling rack and cool 10 minutes before removing.  You may need to persuade the cookies to pop out.  If this is the case, cool until they’re sturdy and use the dull end of a butter knife to apply pressure to one edge of the cookie.  It should pop right out of the pan.  Allow cookies to cool completely before filling.

When the cookies are cooled, fill each well with dulce de leche.  Place each filled cookie on a clean rimmed pan lined with a silpat or parchment paper.  When all the cookies have been filled, transfer the tray to the freezer for two hours.

Before removing the cookies from the freezer, put the remaining butter, heavy cream and chocolate chips in a microwave safe container.  Microwave on high for 30 seconds.  Stir with a silicone or rubber spatula and microwave at 10 second increments, stirring after each one, until the chocolate is melted and smooth.

Remove cookies from the freezer and work quickly to dip the bottom half of each cookie into the chocolate, allowing the excess to drip away before replacing on the tray.

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When they have all been dipped, return the pan to the freezer for thirty minutes.

If the chocolate has set up while the cookies were chillin’ like Dylan, microwave in 10 second increments, again stirring after each, until the chocolate is fluid and smooth.  Take the cookies from the freezer.  Drizzle chocolate over each cookie or pick cookie up and dip half of it into the chocolate.  You need to work quickly if you’re dipping the cookies as the dulce de leche will return to room temperature rather quickly which will make the process a great deal messier.  An impromptu poll of my Facebook friends revealed that a minority of them wanted the whole cookie dipped in chocolate.  I tried.  Really I did.  But it looked like a great lump of chocolate.  (And I ate them before I could photograph them.)

Store leftover cookies loosely wrapped in the refrigerator.  If you have ‘em.

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Now the giveaway!

I want to help stock your pantry.  There are a few things that make life a little more pleasant when you have them on hand.  One of my favorites is cinnamon, specifically, Korintje Cinnamon. You may have seen teensy little bottles of this particular cinnamon sold at gold-standard prices at home kitchen gadget parties.  I was given a bottle once and there was no looking back.  This Indonesian cinnamon is sweet, fragrant and not-at-all bitter.  It’s a revelation if you’re used to the 99-cent bottles of uncertain age.  I want to give a full pound of Korintje Cinnamon from one of my favorite spice companies, Frontier Herbs.  It contains fully 3% oil.   It smells so, so good.  And one pound of this should keep you in cinnamon for a while!

korintjecinnamon

So what are the rules?  It’s simple.  Leave a comment on today’s post telling me some of your money saving tips.  Don’t have any?  No sweat.  Tell me where you need the most help.  Is it menu planning?  Grocery shopping? Knowing what meals to make based on your family’s preferences?  How to get your dog to stop eating garbage?  (Well, maybe that’s my question.  If anyone can help there I’d greatly appreciate it.)  Is there any topic you’d like to see covered here on Foodie With Family?  One entry per person, pretty please.  Gots to keep it fair, you know.  I’ll draw a name next Wednesday when I complete the ‘Better Living List’ part of our “Saving Money in the Kitchen” series.

Comments

  1. I make my own laundry soap. I can make a batch that lasts me the month for approx $1.

  2. Lately i’ve been making a slow cooker pot of steel cut oats. Portion it out and the hubs and i can have great oats all week long :)

  3. I definitely need help planning menus ahead of time! I get overwhelmed trying to think of what to buy for the week and end up buying way too much food at once, or not enough and have to make multiple grocery trips. How are you so efficient?!

  4. Love this idea of making candy bars at home from all natural ingredients.

    One of my favorite ways to save money is using my slow cooker. I like cooking recipes in bulk and freezing. I also do dried beans in my slow cooker which saves money while providing the convenience of canned. We shop at Sam’s Club for many of the items we use everyday such as our oatmeal, berries, frozen vegetables, canned tomatoes and tomato paste, V8 juice, string cheese, raisins and other stuff. I don’t use coupons unless it is for an item we already use. I do use a rewards card for the store that I frequent for items to finish off a recipe. In 2009 I saved more than $400 buying items on special from week to week.

    Shopping smart and making a meal plan is a necessity for us these days. I have been unemployed for more than a year now. I earn a little bit of money training a few clients and one online client. I also help out at the newspaper a few days each month, but the money I bring in is a far cry from what I used to earn. My favorite thing to do these days is figure out even more ways to save money while still eating the foods I love.

    You have been a great help in this department. The mix of meats/vegetables for the potstickers have been divided into three separate portions/containers for at least 7 more meals. Invaluable. Two people+10 meals=less than $20. I can’t thank you enough. :)

  5. My rule is to go from “big to little”. If I start the week with a roast chicken, I can then later in the week do an enchillada dish with some of the leftover meat, and make stock with the bones and skin. If I also do a meatloaf, I can brown some of the extra meat — or even break up the leftover loaf a few days later — for shepherd’s pie.

  6. I dont have any tips, but I would love to see an article on cooking for two. I realize your site is for families, but I just started my family, and I have a hard time scaling down my favorite recipes from Mom’s kitchen! ps. These twix cookies look FABULOUS!

  7. Coupons and buying items when there is a big sale – and rebates – been saving on average 50% of grocery bill doing this…
    Love your recipes and posts!

  8. The shortbread tarts are adorable. I’m afraid I might have to make these. Soon.

    Money Saving tips: I plan all the meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) for the week. I make sure that if I buy herbs, they will be used up and not wilting away in the fridge, milk will not spoil, and cheese will not mold. This way we also know all the ingredients we need for the week so we don’t have to waste gas going to the store everyday.

  9. Like many people, I love to munch on something while I read blogs, cookbooks, etc. However, my snack of choice has become bite size shredded wheat. They are low fat, low sugar, high fiber and very satisfying in the crunch department–great to grab a handful on the way out the door, or for late night munching when you don’t want the calories or salt from typical snacks. Most importantly, they are priced right (I actually prefer the store brand).

    One of my favorite ways to snack on them is to put a handful on a place, sprinkle on some finely grated cheese and melt in the microwave, or I’ve pour leftover melted chocolate over some and let dry. Oh, and I suppose you could actually use them for cereal.

  10. Dan Bleich says:

    I make my own bread. Everything from French to Amish to Tortillas. It’s easy……..the more you do, the easier it gets……tastes far better than any store bought…..makes your home smell great, and, kneading bread is a great way to get rid of excess frustrations.

  11. My husband and I go through the Sunday coupon ads. We shop mainly by the grocery store flyers and then I also go onto the coupon sites on the internet.

  12. I make my own laundry soap, which costs about 1 cent a load. I am going to try the twix bars, they look wonderful!

  13. i do a lot of coupon clipping! my husband always laughs, but getting $1 off items really helps! plus, depending on when i go, they double or triple any coupon under a buck, so i end up saving quite a bit! also, since we’ve got an extra freezer in the garage, when meat certain meats are on sale (yummy steak!) i like to stock up- especially in the summertime when we can grill almost every day! i always see what’s on sale when i go grocery shopping, so i plan my menu for the week according to what i can get at a reasonable price. having a set plan for the week really helps me not spend too much extra on junk at the grocery store!
    p.s. these twix cookies look great, and i can’t wait to make them!!

  14. Eating frugally BUT healthily without all the additives!

  15. I find that if we make a menu for the week or even a month it really helps us save money. I’ve also started to include snacks.

    I’d like to see a couple more posts on making cheese…a couple different types.

  16. I always buy in bulk and make meals and freeze portions for later. Not only is buying in bulk so much cheaper, having meals ready made can be a huge help when you don’t have time to cook.

  17. So many good things about your post – menu planning info, homemade Twix (who knew Twix could look so beautiful?!) and a link to learn how to make your own Dulce de Leche (yum)! My money saving tip: serve beans to your family…at least 1 x a week. They are very inexpensive and so good for you. Even if they don’t like beans – your bound to find a few recipes the kids will eat. Keep trying different ways and don’t give up!

    • Jen and Marcia- Can you dish on that laundry soap? Is it a state secret? I need that recipe if you’ll share. Also, does it work in high-efficiency machines?

      Suzanne- Slow-cooker oats are delicious and cooking them ahead of time is brilliant. Do you pour more dairy over them when they’re reheated?

      Stephanie- I built up to the efficiency. Try planning two days in advance and working your way up to longer time frames. I shop about once every two weeks. Anything more than that and I’m too fickle and chuck the plan entirely. If you start out slow you can find what works best for you. Oh the growing pains we had here…

      Julie- Great tips and thank you so much for the kind words. I’m so glad I’ve been able to help you in some small way.

      Erica- That is the perfect way to describe it. I call it ‘planned overs’ but your phraseology is much catchier! May I borrow it sometime? Going from big to little is exactly it. I do the same thing when I make tacos. First night is tacos (cook 4 pounds of ground beef and season them.) Second night is taco soup. Third day lunch is taco soup. Fourth day snack is taco meat layered with refried beans and served with tortilla chips and cheese…

      Melissa- I tend to default to the large family serving size since that’s what I’m feeding, but if you ever need help scaling back a recipe, please email me. I’d be happy to break it down for you. (Although I’ll tell you I will have to relearn my entire ‘big time’ approach to cooking when my kids leave home.)

      Kerri- I’m with you on the buying things on sale. I build flexibility into my menus and shopping lists to take advantage of unadvertised sales. But I’ll get into that more in a post next week. I’m not much of a coupon shopper because most of my favorite items don’t offer coupons. If you have advice on where to find better coupons I would love, love, love to hear it!!!

      Katya- Oh the herbs I’ve wasted in the past. I’m with you. Another tip on the herb front- save the stems! I rinse and dry the stems from parsley, rosemary, cilantro, etc… then put them in resealable plastic bags in the freezer. When I’m cooking dried beans or soups, I throw a handful of the stems in straight from the freezer. They impart amazing flavor and they’re easy to fish out afterward.

      Vicuna1- I never thought of making shredded wheat type nachos. Hmmm… Might have to try that! Thanks for the idea.

      Dan Bleich- Amen! Once you’re in the habit it’s really hard to eat store-bought bread. There is nothing in the world like a grilled cheese sandwich on homemade bread!

      Maureen- Coupon sites? What are these? Do they require memberships or lots of time? I’d like to hear more.

      Natalie- I NEVER laugh at $1 off. Ever. That is awesome. And you’re right about having a set price. We have a certain budget to which we have to adhere to make ends meet. If we went over it would be a bad thing. Nothing like a little doomsday to keep you on track, eh?

      Ashleigh- My sentiments exactly.

      Jen- I can’t plan out a month but I have endless admiration for those who can! More cheese, eh? Your wish is my command. I was planning a cottage cheese post for later this month.

      Anika- Amen and Hallelujah! I buy bulk and make mondo huge meals. Most of the food I cook in bulk amounts and freeze ends up going INTO other stuff as I’m not a real big frozen entree fan. I mentioned I was fickle, right?

      Striving Bean- Girl, I am so with you on the beans. They are a wonder protein for families of all sizes. And for those who think they don’t like beans I recommend black beans. They’re the every-man bean! I hope you get to try that Dulce de Leche on for size some time. It’s one of my favorite tastes in all of the world.

      For everyone who complimented my Twix cookies… Thank you all. And if you could all please make a batch and eat as many of them as I did I would feel a great deal better about myself…

  18. I think the biggest money-saving habits I have are:

    1) Buying locally and seasonally. Even in the winter, quality produce is much cheaper and much easier to come by at my local farmers’ market than it is at a big grocery store. And I can do without those overpriced styrofoam balls that pass as tomatoes this time of year.

    2) Eating vegetarian most of the time. I occasionally splurge on chicken or some such thing from the farmers’ market, but pulses are about $1/lb, and the cheese from the farmers’ market tends to be cheaper than the meat from the farmers’ market.

    3) I bake my own bread. I really don’t like pre-sliced bread in long plastic bags, so I just bake my own. It can be time consuming, and it’s not realistic for everyone, maybe, but I love baking, and given the price I’d have to pay at the grocery store for a fresh loaf of bread, homemade bread is cheap.

  19. Hi Rebecca – I saw the mini picture/post on FB and had to pop on over. Who knew making Twix Bars were this easy? And yours are so cute…round and all. I would show no self control if I had a batch of these sitting in front of me.

    Tips on saving money. Well, with Paul being unemployed the better half of last year, we certainly had a realty check. I started buying whole chicken and cutting it up myself, double most recipes for dinner, so we always have lunch the next day (and eliminating the need to order take out), always always plan a menu each week and stick to the shopping list, started making vegetables the star of the meal (and meat playing the supporting roll), cut way way back on boxed cereal and chips/cookies, etc – painful! I love my snacks :( The unemployment situation is turning around, but I find these newly created habits are ever lasting. Mostly.

  20. The summer before I moved to go to college, I kept track of every cent I earned or spent. I kept a small notebook in my purse, and would write down every little thing. While it sounds tedious, it really helped me become aware of my spending. Plus, it helped pinpoint problem areas, such as too many mochas. I would also include any tips I made from my waitressing job. At the end of the week, I would tally everything and see how much was left. It was really satisfying to see it all add up and deposit it in my bank account.

  21. I buy soap pads to wash the dishes and they are rectangular shaped. I cut them in half and they feel better in my hand and I get twice as many:) Can’t wait to try the twix cookies.

  22. We are moving from the “eating out” couple to the “cooking in” couple. We’ve saved money so far and I love knowing what’s actually in the food we’re eating. I’m trying by best to menu plan, but right now, it’s just in my head. I need to commit it to paper!

  23. Help me help me -I can’t make or stick to a plan.

    Ok really, it’s the getting started that is holding me up.
    I think I’m a little food moody, but I want to plan better, eat better and save money!

  24. petoskystone says:

    2 tips: eat seasonally & *be flexible*. flexibility relates to buying what’s on sale not what you crave this very minute. what i could use help with is a list–maybe something i could print out–on what is seasonal for the different areas of the u.s. (thinking east coast, west coast, midwest, south).

  25. I love your blog! It always makes me want to try cooking something RIGHT NOW.

    The biggest way we save money around my house is to make sure that there are yummy leftovers available for lunch. If not, my husband will go out to eat, which costs a lot and is worse for him! When we are finished with the meal for dinner, I package them up into lunch-sized containers so all he has to do is grab one and go. :)

    For kid lunches I buy large portions of things and again, package them into reusable containers right when I get home from the store or whatever. I despise having to portion things out for lunch, and if I do it this way I’m not tempted to buy the wasteful and expensive individual packs of stuff! LOL

  26. I can’t say we are the most frugal. I am sort of a new mom (3 year old and almost 6 month old) and reformed profligate prodigal sort. But, recently, we have done better. We make three-four meals a week in the slowcooker (so no eating out); we stash snacks in our purses/brief cases so that there is no chance of hitting the work snack bar; shopping for fancy stuff at ethnic stores; freezing all veggie scraps to make veggie broth and then compost that. But, my number one tip is to remember to take the lunch we packed. It sounds simple but it was our number one money drain.

  27. I think my big problem comes in the area of planning ahead, or rather following the plan. I’ll buy the requisite groceries for a week or 2 that I’ve planned out, but then since I’m only cooking for myself I’ll often default to making something faster or easier, like a can of tuna. I really like cooking and really like eating good food, but the time investment often seems daunting. As a result I often end up wasting at least some of the fresh food I’ve bought.

  28. I think my best money saving tip is buying frozen vegetables. I used to spend a fortune in the produce section and while my husband and I are both students, we need to save as much on groceries as possible. I do miss fresh veggies..some day we’ll have them again=)

  29. I agree with many of the tips you’ve already talked about but being frugal stems from making your own homemade food. Beans, cornmeal and oatmeal are a few hearty nutritious and cheap staples in my home. As I live alone, I eat a lot of leftovers and have to balance time spent in the kitchen. I found I tend to overeat when I buy more groceries (in anticipation of future meals), because I feel I have to finish eating everything before it goes bad/sits in the fridge too long. So my suggestion is to buy just what you need, the day you need it, incorporating leftover food into your next meal plan. Frugal eating also means eating in moderation.

  30. You know what I said on the last post… well, heck, my sister has the same amount of space I do and you know how frugal she is, soooo yeah. Hm.

    I mean, really Bec, you and I have such similar brains. Organized, methodical. We’re planners. All the tips up there? The way you outlined everything, and how you approach the planning? The grocery list you keep and its categories? Hello, MY BRAIN.

    So I have to come up with a better budget. I know I can.

  31. My best tip is to not go to the grocery store every week. I try to stock up and make it last for 2 weeks. I also cook in bulk, and divide up the meals for my husband and myself into small containers, and freeze for future meals. This works great with spagetti, chili, and soups.

  32. Sheila Korsmo says:

    I would have to say that the best money saving for my family is: I shop at Sams and Costco, I buy meats in bulk and use my foodsaver to freeze meal size portions. By doing this, I’m not paying the big bucks that the grocery stores are charging. When I make a meat dish in the crockpot, I make enough so that I can make future meals for the week from that 1 meal.

  33. Super-Duper internet site! I’m loving it!!! Will come back again once more – taking you feeds also, Thanks.

  34. Money saving tip: exchange cooking with friends and neighbors. I make an extra tray of lasagna, baked ziti or casserole and trade with a friend who has made an equally delicious baker’s tray of food. This way we both have another homemade meal and our families get to try something new…better than spending the money on a restaurant meal.

    I need meal suggestions that I can prepare and has minimal cleanup. After work, I don’t mind slicing veggies and meats or cooking. Yet washing mixing bowls bothers me. So do you have any quick ideas for me?

  35. To save money, we buy our spices from Hillsdale Food co-op, refreshing them in small quantities every few months. We also buy our flours and dried beans there, a wonderful store visited by the Amish also. We also grow a large garden and can or freeze the surplus and participate in a crop share offered by Adams Farm in Liberty. The share is too large for our family so we divide it with friends of ours.

  36. Yes. Yes, yes, yes. I came across this recipe after using the search terms craving+twix+homemade (i am not ashamed. i am not ashamed.). Hope to make these soon, if not tonight (i am not ashamed. i am not…). Thank you for sharing!

  37. Okay okay… those just look… well, I shouldn’t make them. No seriously, I can’t! Okay, you twisted my arm. I AM pregnant, after all. Shortbread, caramel and chocolate is a necessary food group for us gestating ladies. Thank you SO much for posting this recipe :)

    Oh and as far as meal planning, I do something similar. I shop every 2 weeks, kinda out of necessity since we live really really far away from the store. I have an excel spreadsheet I made up that lists all the common meals that we like, and so far I’m up to only making a meal once a month with a decent rotation. I totally agree about being realistic – there have been some weeks when I planned the menus while I was in a cooking mood. DON’T DO IT! I try to, especially now that I’m expecting #3 in 2 months, to make sure that MOST of my meals are either crockpot, casseroles, or come together in 30 minutes. I could have strangled myself the last time I shopped planning for mostly fancy meals… after cooking those dinners I had zero energy left for anything else.

  38. What is kosher salt?

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