Friday, October 28, 2011

About Coupons

Once upon a time I tried to clip coupons to save money. I purchased just the cutest little coupon organizer that cost more than anything I saved. I spent a lot of time clipping and organizing and, occasionally, actually remembered to take my cute stash to the grocery store.  I would spend more time wandering up and down the isles looking for the discounted product. As I checked out, expecting to save at least $5, I realized that half of my coupons had expired. I quit clipping coupons. Recently I came across the Coupon Mom website and took a look. Now she has the right idea! She also does most of the work for you. I'm giving it a try because I know, that with a little discipline, I can potentially save a significant amount of money. Another good web site is Coupon Lady. This morning I received my Friday coupons in an e-mail from her website ready to print! I was especially pleased because they were foods that we really eat like MaraNatha nut butters and Kraft Parmesan Cheese. Check out these two videos and see what you think---if you aren't currently using coupons you might change your mind!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Fall Is Here- Time For Pumpkin Bread!

One of my favorite Autumn memories was watching my mom pull steaming cans of pumpkin bread from the oven when the leaves began to fall and the air turned chilly. Cans? Yes, she baked pumpkin bread in coffee cans that had been saved and rinsed out. She would bake some for us and then give a few cans to friends as a gift. Tape a piece of pretty paper around the can, replace the plastic lid and presto, the perfect gift container! If the domed loaves baked for us had lasted longer than the 10 minutes it took for them to be reduced to a few mere crumbles, they would have stayed fresh right in the can with the lid on. The warm half moon slices Mom served up with a nice spread of butter were beyond delicious and became a tradition that I carried on to my own family. Since coffee cans became generally plastic some years ago, I began baking the same recipe in mini loaf pans. My oldest daughter was at home recently and asked if she could borrow my coffee cans so that she could bake pumpkin bread at her house. She was a little sad when I told her that I had switched to mini loaves. The taste is the same, it is just that the memory of those sweet little cans coming out of the oven somehow became part of the tradition. There are some coffees that still come in tin cans but not many. I was pondering this dilemma while I was baking today when my eye settled on the empty 29 oz. tin pumpkin can sitting in the sink. Could it be? Hark, I think I may have found a coffee can alternative! Minus the lid. Plastic wrap works. I emptied a few more cans, filled them up with batter and, with great hope, placed them in the oven. It worked! Happy day! The delicious little half moons of my childhood pumpkin bread memories have returned. I think my girls will be pleased as well!
Here is the recipe my mom used all those years ago that has still remained a family favorite.
Pumpkin Bread
3 cups sugar 
1 cup veg. oil
2 1/2 cups canned pumpkin
4 beaten eggs ( I use 3/4 cup egg whites)
1/3 cup water
3 1/3 cup flour
3 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. nutmeg
2 tsp. soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
Blend all ingredients together.
Grease and flour ( or use Baker's Choice or Pam baking spray) 4 one pound coffee cans or 
4  29oz. tin pumpkin cans or 4 mini loaf pans.
Divide the batter into the 4 vessels of choice and fill 2/3 of the way full.
Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes to 1 hour depending on oven. 
(a wooden toothpick inserted into center of bread will come out clean)
Let stand for 15 minutes and then remove from loaf pans/ cans.
This recipe freezes beautifully and the smaller size makes such a nice little gift---that is, if it makes it out of your kitchen!