Monday, November 21, 2011


My Earning SO FAR today... 25 points!!!

11/21/11Swagbucks TV3 SB
11/21/11Swagbucks TV3 SB
11/21/11Swagbucks TV3 SB
11/21/11Swagbucks TV3 SB
11/21/11Searching the Web10 SB
11/21/11Bonus Swag Bucks: NOSO Visit2 SB
11/21/11Bonus Swag Bucks: Daily Poll1 SB

How awesome is that!!! And I'm still going strong! I just walk by the computer, click a new video and keep walking! Please click the link in the right column to sign up and start earning your own points!

Want Easy Swagbucks?

I was an extreme Swagbucks skeptic at first. Who has time to do everything required to get enough points to be worth anything? Well, after doing Swagbucks for a year now, I have to say I'm a believer. Just spending 10 minutes each day doing the Daily Poll, the NOSO, Searching (till I get points), and Swagbucks TV, I've been able to put quite a bit of cash into my PayPal account!

I'm thrilled because I just found a way to earn even more Swagbucks, and entertain my toddler at the same time. I used to do the Swagbucks TV just every once in a while, because I didn't want to spend the extra time just sitting watching short clips. Today, however, I happened to have the computer on the kitchen table. It was lunch time for my toddler, so I sat her in her booster chair. She saw a puppy on the Swagbucks TV clip and got excited, asking for 'more puppy?' So, I played her a video, and another, and another. I cleaned the kitchen while she watched, when one ended, I just started another one etc.

I earned 12 Swagbucks, got my kitchen clean, and fed my toddler lunch! It was great! Click on the Swagbucks link in the column on the right, and join in the fun!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Cinnamon Chocolate Brownies

I have this new found obsession... Cinnamon in Chocolate. I add cinnamon to my chocolate cake, brownies, cookies, and even hot chocolate. My husband says it's out of control, I tell him he's wrong, and he better just accept it! The funny thing is, he loves everything I bake!

Basically, I followed your average from the box/bag chocolate cake recipe, except in place of the oil, I added my Home Made Crock Pot Apple Sauce  Yes, I may have a slight obsession with that recipe! The nice thing is, you taste zero apple, just the cinnamon, and it keeps the cake so super moist! While this is a cake mix, the applesauce makes it more the thickness/texture of brownies.

For the frosting, I heated up about half a can of Sweetened Condensed Milk, and about half a bag of chocolate chips... I added a touch of milk after it was all mixed, just to make it easier to spread on the cake. The SCM keeps the frosting soft for days!

Ooey Gooey Spice Cake

Seriously, this is the best spice cake I've ever made! EVER. It was sooo moist, so rich... MMmmmm. I usually find spice cake to be dense and kinda dry, so I wasn't thrilled when my mom asked me to make this one night. However, I was out of oil... and eggs. So, I improvised.

I used a boxed mix, replaced the oil with melted butter (exact measurements) and used my Home Made Crock-Pot Apple Sauce in place of eggs. 1/2 a cup per egg.

Ah.Maz.Ing.... Seriously...

Homemade Applesauce/Apple Butter in a Crock-Pot

I'd found a recipe on Pinterest for Crock-Pot Applesauce. I had a bunch of home grown apples (not my home) that were getting pretty nasty looking, so I decided I'd better do something with them! I made mine with a few variations from the Pinterest pin, so I'll share my version instead.

What you'll need:
Juice (I used White Grape, but I assume many would use Apple :)

If you like your applesauce to be a bit on the chunky side (like me), the only real way to get texture, without having hard bits of apple, is to leave some skin on. So, if this is your chosen method, chop the apples into very small chunks/dices. If you like silky smooth applesauce, peel the apples, then chunk them any size. The smaller they are, the faster they'll be done!

Put the apples in a crock pot on high for a fast (2-3 hours) result, or low if you're going to be away from the crock pot for a while. Add about a cup of your chosen juice, and sprinkle in some cinnamon and sugar. If you're using a sweet apple, you probably don't need much sugar, if any. You can always add more at the end, so if you don't want to commit to a lot of cinnamon at this point, you don't have to... it just makes your house smell really yummy if you add it at this point!

Check the apples after a few hours. Stir the juices in and around every once in a while if you're around to do so. Once they are soft enough to mash, you can do so with a potato masher or a hand held blender. Taste test, add more sugar and spice if you like, and viola'! It's done!

The recipe (for me) is the same for apple sauce or apple butter. For butter, take the lid off and let some of the juice evaporate. I wouldn't leave for hours at a time on this part, because you don't want it to get dried out!

Here's mine!

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Crock-Pot $5 Check Rebate Form
November 30, 2011  Crock-Pot Rebates

Receive a $5 mail in rebate, when you purchase any Crock-Pot Slow Cooker with a retail purchase price of $24.50 or greater.

To receive your rebate, mail original dated cash register receipt showing product (s) purchased and completed certificate. See mail in rebate form for more details. Allow 6 to 8 weeks for delivery.

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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Homemade Croutons

On Pinterest, I'd found a recipe for home made croutons. I followed the recipe to a T for my first batch, but both my husband and I thought they were very bland. So, in the many batches we've made since (yeah, ours are that good), we've altered the recipe to make them much more bold flavored!

What You'll Need:
1/2 stick of Butter
Bread, cubed
Butter Flavored Cooking Spray
Seasoning: Garlic, Onion, Parmesan, Spicy etc... just one needed per batch!

Cut up bread into whatever sized croutons you like. I wouldn't go too small, but they don't have to be huge. I think mine were about 1 inch long x .5 inch wide x.5 inch thick... but again, your preference. We've used Panera's Sundried Tomato Bread, and French Bread, and also some Sesame from Panera. Any kind will work really, though I haven't tried sandwich sliced bread.

Either leave the sit out on the counter for ONE night, or bake them in the oven at 300 for 10 minutes so they can dry out a bit.

Melt the butter in a pan on MEDIUM heat (don't ever change the heat setting from medium!), and sprinkle some of your chosen seasoning in. Just a light dusting over the top of the melted butter. This will absorb into your croutons... the more seasoning you use, the stronger the flavor!

Let the bread sit in the pan in a single layer. Check one or two pieces ever few minutes to see if they've started to brown on the other side. Once they brown, flip them over. Just before you flip them, spray them with the Butter Cooking Spray and sprinkle on another dusting of seasoning.You'll almost need to do this piece by piece to not burn any. You don't have to toast the exact opposite side of the crouton, just make sure that you're toasting a side not already toasted!

Once the other side has browned, take the off the heat. They can sit in the pan to cool and will stay good and crunchy. After they have cooled, put them in an air-tight storage bag or container. 

 My husband and I have found this to be a great way to rescue bread that might be tasting a little old or dried out. They last for weeks after you make them, so make several batches to have on hand! We will never buy croutons again!