Monday, October 31, 2011

Living On A Dime - Holiday Cleaning - Preparing Now For The Holidays

Living On A Dime - Keeping It Clean E-Book Series - Get It Now For 50% Off The Regular Price

Holiday Cleaning - Preparing Now For The Holidays
by Jill Cooper
http://www.LivingOnADime.com

Halloween is over, which means it is now officially time to kick it into gear to get ready for the holidays and to get your house ready for company. It really helps to get your house in order now because if unexpected company comes you won't get caught off guard. Then you can concentrate on baking, finding gifts and organizing activities without having to worry about deep cleaning your house again until after the New Year.
Hopefully by now you have been inspired to start getting things done a little at a time so this won't be too big of a job. Here are a few things to work on:
  • Get your closets in order. Put summer clothes away and take winter clothes out, tossing as you go.
  • Don't forget your linen closets. Get your guest towels, sheets and extra blankets aired out and put the linens in a handy spot so they are easy to grab when you need them.
  • If you have a guest room, get it cleaned and prepare everything for your first guests.
  • Get your holiday linens prepared. Wash them if necessary and make sure they're ready to go.
  • Hopefully you have cleaned your pantry. Now you need to make sure it is stocked with everything you need for your holiday recipes, for some quick and easy to fix snacks and dinners for unexpected company or food to take to social events.
  • Make sure your fridge and freezer are in order. The refrigerator and freezer are going to work overtime for you over the next couple of months so make sure they're cleaned, organized and prepared.
  • I don't worry about cleaning my oven at this time. I use it so much for baking that it's silly for me to clean it right before having a baking fest. I usually wait and give it a good cleaning after the holidays. If it's really bad or you have company coming and it looks awful you may want to go ahead and clean it anyway.
  • This week and next week is the time to do any deep cleaning that you don't want to have to mess with again until after the holidays-- things like washing your windows, deep cleaning rugs and carpets and dusting mirrors, picture frames, lampshades or ceiling fans.
If you have been keeping up with your cleaning you may not have to do any of these. Basically just clean your house enough for company. Then you'll know it's done and you will be prepared for the unexpected.
Part of the stress that comes at the holidays is the result of not being prepared, especially for the unexpected things that always seem to come up. Think of it like being prepared for a disaster. If I have a wood burning stove, firewood, lots of candles, blankets and food prepared, I am not too stressed if we lose power from an ice storm. If I wasn't at all prepared, I would be in a total panic if an ice storm hit.
If you are prepared, you have something you can whip up for company in just a few minutes or if the kids need treats for school, you have dough frozen and ready to be baked in the freezer. I'm not saying that I have everything prepared like Martha Stewart but I do try to have everything together enough so that I'm reasonably prepared for the unexpected. My idea of the perfect woman is a cross between Martha Stewart and Erma Bombeck! Some days I am more one than the other and on other days I totally miss the mark, but that's okay, because I tried. :-)
      -Jill

Jill Cooper and Tawra Kellam are frugal living experts and the authors of the Dining On A Dime Cookbook. Dining On A Dime will help you save money on groceries and get out of debt by cooking quick and simple homemade meals. For free tips & recipes visit http://www.LivingOnADime.com , sign up for our free Living On A Dime Newsletter and learn to save more!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

REPRINT - HEARTH AND HOME - OCTOBER 18, 2002

Greetings, Dear Sisters!

Welcome to the latest issue of HEARTH AND HOME! How’s your fall cleaning coming along? Is anyone done? Our garden is put to bed and we’re in the process of weatherizing now. Oh! I did get through our closets this week! Summer clothes are put away and warm, winter clothes are ready and waiting! I pray that you enjoy this issue of HEARTH AND HOME! Here we go!

“Blessed be the name of God for ever and  ever: for wisdom and might
are His: and He changeth the times and the seasons.” (Daniel 2:20-21)

HOUSEHOLD TIPS

*Soften butter quickly without melting by grating the stick. Spray the grater with nonstick spray for quick cleanup.

*Before opening a package of bacon, roll it into a tube. This loosens the slices and keeps them from sticking together.

*To fill a piping bag without making a mess, place the bag upright inside a measuring cup and fold the top edge over the cup.

*Keep garlic from sticking to a knife, garlic press, or cutting board by sprinkling a little salt on the clove before chopping or mincing.

*If fresh vegetables or lettuce look wilted, sprinkle with cool water, wrap in a paper towel and put in the refrigerator for about an hour.

*Turn a metal colander upside down over the skillet when frying food. This allows the steam to escape but keeps the fat from spattering.

*Cover cookbooks with clear plastic report covers while you cook. Spills can be wiped off easily.

*Store a new, clean powder puff in the flour canister. It makes it easy to dust flour on a rolling pin or a pastry board.

*Sharpen garbage disposal blades by running ice cubes through them.

*Remove all traces of fish, onion, or other odors from your hands by wetting them, then sprinkling with baking soda. Work the paste over your hands, then rinse.

*To clean the blackened bottom of pots and pans coat the bottoms with oven cleaner and let them sit for 30 minutes. Lightly scour the blackened surface and the pot will rinse clean.

*Get rid of food overflow and burn stains on the bottom of the oven and stop smoke and odor by coating the spill with a heavy layer of salt after oven is turned off. Wait  until the oven cools, then wipe up the remains.

*Neutralize bad odors by combining one cup water, the grated peel and juice of one lemon and several whole cloves in a tw0-cup microwavable glass measure. Boil for several minutes at 100% power. Allow to sit in oven until cool. Wipe interior with a soft cloth.


If you have a household tip that you'd like to share please send it to: Rebecca Knox at proverbs31heart@yahoo.com. Be sure and put and "Household Tip" on the subject line. Thank you!



DOLLARS AND SENSE

Our goal as Christians should be to obtain financial freedom. This has four characteristics:

1.       Our assets exceed our liabilities.
2.      We are able to pay our bills as they fall due
3.      We have no unpaid bills. (We are repaying per our agreement.)
4.      We are content with where we are.

Make a distinction between the things that you must have and the things that you simply desire. Before you buy something, always ask yourself if you need it or if you want it. If you don’t need it, don’t buy it. Instead, try putting the money that you might have used to buy it toward paying off your credit card balance or putting it away in savings.

Study where your money goes. Do you really need cable? Is it worth $25.00 a month? What would you do with the time you spend in front of TV if you didn’t have it? Pay special attention to the monthly bills and add up everything you could comfortably do without. Then, experiment with making cuts. Keep in mind that you can always put things back into your budget that you’ve cut out.

Live below your means. If you come into a windfall, don’t spend it all. Put most of it away and live as you always did.

Your refrigerator/freezer is probably one of the biggest energy users in your home. Here are some ways to beat the cost of keeping things cool:

1.       KEEP IT CLEAN. In a manual-defrost model more than half an inch of frost can build up and make the appliances work harder, so defrost regularly. Vacuum clean the condenser coils below or at the back of the refrigerator/freezer three or four times a year. Clean coils keep it running efficiently and help save energy.

2.      KEEP IT CLOSED. The time for decisions is not when you have the door open. Get every thing you need for a sandwich or recipe in one trip.

3.      KEEP IT FULL. Frozen food helps keep the air cool in your freezer. But don’t overpack food in either refrigerator or freezer, or the cold air won’t have space to circulate properly.

4.      HEAT HAS NO BUSINESS IN THE REFRIGERATOR. Cool dishes before you  store them so your appliance  won’t have  to work so hard.

5.      INVESTIGATE BEFORE YOU BUY. A frost-free refrigerator/freezer may use 30 percent more electricity than a manual-defrost unit. Also, be sure to choose the correct cubic footage for your family, since a too-full or too empty refrigerator/freezer wastes energy.

6.      UNPLUG YOUR SECOND REFRIGERATOR. Refrigerators are big energy users, so if your second refrigerator is not being used to full capacity, unplug it. It could save you $15.00 a month or more, depending on it’s size.

IDEAS FOR DATE NIGHT

So…it’s just you and hubby tonight…huh? How about some of these inexpensive date ideas?

*Go on a walk at sunset. It’s beautiful and relaxing.
*Go for a bike ride.
*Go rummage through a flea market.
*Visit a local art or natural history museum.
*Go to a local bookstore’s reading of poetry or just browse.
*Go stargazing. Many community colleges have free observatory nights.
*Take a picnic basket to a park  (if it’s rainy, do it indoors and pretend).
*Go out for coffee and dessert instead of dinner.
*Go to matinees vs. nighttime shows.
*Go miniature golfing.
*Use two-for-one coupons for restaurants.
*Enjoy a candlelight dinner at home.

If you have a dollar stretching tip to share please send

 it to Rebecca Knox at proverbs31heart@yahoo.com Be sure and put
"Dollars and Sense" on the subject line. Thank you!


READER’S COMMENTS

This letter came in from a reader in Warrington, PA:

“I want to praise God for placing such women as you in my life. What an eye opener to a better life with Christ. Thank you for the time you need to write this e-mail and challenge us to be a better wife and mother and child of God. It is working for me…helping me to think and see clearer of what God wants from even me. Thanks again.”

 Thank you for your kind words and encouragement! God bless you! And may He continue to touch women such as yourself through  the  pages of this e-zine.

HEARTH AND HOME QUESTION


“…I have learned in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound…” (Philippians 4:11-12)

In the above verse the Apostle Paul tells us that, no matter what conditions he found himself in…he had LEARNED to be content. My question this week is…how many of US have LEARNED to be content? How is that one LEARNS to be content with whatever it is that he or she has…whether with or without…rich or poor?

If you don't mind me sharing your answer in a future issue of HEARTH AND HOME send it in an e-mail to:

proverbs31heart@yahoo.com

Be sure and put "HEARTH AND HOME QUESTION " on the subject line.  Thank you!



TO MAKE IN CELEBRATION OF AUTUMN

AN AROMATIC CANDLE PUMPKIN
1 pumpkin
Cinnamon, nutmeg or pumpkin pie spice
1 short fat candle
Cut and remove the lid of the pumpkin. Clean out the seeds and pulp, then carve pretty designs all around the pumpkin. Sprinkle choice of spice (cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, etc.) all around on the inside of the pumpkin and the inside of the lid. Set a candle inside the pumpkin. Replace the  lid on pumpkin. This creates a wonderful aroma when the candle is lit.

AN APPLE CENTERPIECE
Nestle a stocky candle in the center of a simple glass salad or punch bowl, then fill around it with small fruits. There's no need to purchase a tall, expensive candle. Choose a short one and elevate it on a candle stand or aluminum can. Then completely cover the stand or can with apples.

STUFFED SQUASH
Skinny striped squash make whimsical containers for playful tapers and posies. Hollow the squash with an apple corer, then take a thin slice off the bottom to keep it upright. Place the squash on a plate or tray to protect your tabletop from moisture.

BLOWING IN THE WIND
Capture the fluttering beauty of falling leaves by suspending them on silk cords. Hang the leaves in front of a window--and watch how the light illuminates their web-like skeletons. For a point of iridescence, string a single glass bead onto each length of cord, knotting it below. Slip the leaf stem through both knot and bead.

EARTHLY DELIGHTS
Unearth fall-themed serving pieces from your cupboards and let them shine as the focal points of natural displays. Here, the woodsy tones of a leaf-patterned ironstone pitcher and bowl call for the fruits of fall in similar shades of brown and gold. Clusters of oak leaves spill from the pitcher; dark pinecones and golden gourds grace the bowl for a visual feast that only autumn can host.


RECIPES

Old-Fashioned Beef Stew

  • 3 pounds lean beef, round or rump
  • 2 tablespoons butter or other fat
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 pinch thyme
  • 6 small whole carrots
  • 3 large potatoes, quartered
  • 1/2 pound small white boiling onions
Cut meat into small pieces. Brown in fat. Add water to cover and seasonings. Simmer, covered, about 2 hours. Add vegetables and simmer until vegetables are tender--about 30 minutes.

Serves 6.

Baked Chicken Delight

  • 4-5 cups cooked chicken
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1cup raw rice
  • salt, pepper, sweet basil, rosemary
  • chicken broth-2 cups
  • 1 can evaporated milk
Place chicken meat in shallow pan. Sprinkle with salt and herbs to taste. Saute onions in butter until tender-do not let brown! Arrange onion over chicken. Sprinkle rice evenly over top and add enough chicken broth to cover. Cover pan and bake at 350 degrees one and one-half hours. Add milk, full strength. Re-cover and bake another 30 minutes. Do not stir.

Chicken and Black Bean Chili

  • 1 to 1 1/2 lb chicken tenderloins, cut in 1/2" pieces
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 can beans - pinto, white, or small red, drained (15 ounces)
  • 1 can black beans, drained (15 ounces)
  • 1 can stewed tomatoes, Mexican style, (15 ounces)
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder or seasoning mix
In large skillet sprayed with nonstick cooking spray, brown chicken and onion over medium heat. Stir in remaining ingredients; bring to a boil. Reduce to low; simmer for about 20 minutes.
Serves 6.

Microwave Fried Apples

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 cups peeled & sliced Granny Smith apples
  • 3 cups peeled & sliced Rome Beauty apples
In a small mixing bowl, combine the sugar, cornstarch, and cinnamon, stirring until the cornstarch is fully distributed.
Arrange the apples in a casserole dish, and cover with the sugar mixture. Cover, and microwave on high for 5 minutes, or until the sugar is melted. Stir and cook, uncovered, another 4 minutes, or until the apples are soft through the center. They should be fork tender. Stir and serve.

Sweet Potato-Pecan Cookies

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 4 ounces unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1 cup well-mashed or pureed sweet potatoes
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp finely grated orange rind
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
In a mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg; set aside. In a separate bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Beat in the egg, sweet potato, vanilla, and orange rind. Beat mixture into dry ingredients. Stir in pecans.
Drop batter by teaspoonful onto lightly buttered cookie sheets, leaving about 1 1/2 inches between them. Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 12 to 15 minutes, or until browned. Cool on racks and store in an airtight container.
If desired glaze with a mixture of 1 cup confectioners' sugar and 2 tablespoons orange juice while cookies are still warm.
Makes about 3 dozen.

Pumpkin Roll

  • 3 Eggs
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 2/3 cup Pumpkin
  • 1 teaspoon Lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup All-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon Baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons Cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon Ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon Nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
Filling
  • 8 ounces Cream cheese -- softened
  • 4 tablespoons Butter -- or margarine
  • 1 cup Powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Vanilla
1. in large bowl, combine eggs and sugar, beating well. Add pumpkin and lemon juice, mixing until blended.
2.In separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, spices and salt. Add to egg mixture, mixing well. Spread batter into greased and waxed-paper lined 10-by-15-inch jelly-roll pan.
3. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 15 minutes. Remove from oven. Cool for 15 minutes. Place cake on clean tea towel sprinkled liberally with powdered sugar. Cool 10 min. longer. From 10- inch side, roll cake up in towel. Set aside.
4. Meanwhile, prepare filling. Unroll cake. Evenly spread filling over cake. Roll up cake (without the towel). Wrap in plastic wrap. Cover and chill at least 1 hour. Slice before serving. Keep leftover slices refrigerated.
FILLING: Beat together cream cheese and butter or margarine. Stir in powdered sugar and vanilla, blending until smooth.
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

FOR THE CHILDREN:
My daughter found this REALLY cute site for children! You and your children can visit it by going to:  http://akidsheart.com/ Enjoy!


Well, Ladies, that’s it for this time! Until next time I pray God’s blessings upon you,  your family, and your home. HAPPY AUTUMN!

Love and ((((Hugs)))),
~Rebecca

Friday, October 28, 2011

Five Minute Friday - RELEVANT


 Go!

I hear the word "relevant" and my mind goes blank. I mean...I know what it means...but I can't make anything come together in my mind to make a sentence...let alone a post!
Let's see..."relevant"...

"rel-e-vant" - "Closely connected or appropriate to the matter at hand."

 So...what IS the matter at hand? And how is it "relevant"? 
Well...the matter at hand in our home today is our annual 'Night of Reformation'. It's tonight and the focus is on John Wycliffe. Our little group of homeschoolers have worked hard. There will be posters, reports, maps, an activity or two, a traditional English meal, a movie, and popcorn. As always...it should be a lot of fun! 

And how is it relevant to us today? Without the reformers of long ago...people like Wycliffe, Huss, Luther, Knox, and Calvin, we, as the body of Christ, would not be what it is today. If not for these brave men...these "reformers" of the past...we would not be free to worship our Heavenly Father as in accordance with His Word (my goodness! we wouldn't even know what that Word said because, at that time, the common people were not allowed to read the Bible for themselves!) and we would still be under the authority of the Pope and Roman Catholic Church.

The future always follows on the heels of the past, so I'd say reformation history is definitely 'relevant' to our present today! 

Stop!

(This 'Five Minute Friday' post is inspired by The Gypsy Mama. Please visit her site today!) 



Thursday, October 27, 2011

Sourdough Bread


1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
3 1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees F
to 115 degrees F), divided
7 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1/4 cup nonfat dry milk powder
2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
Cornmeal
 
In a large non-metallic bowl, dissolve yeast in 2 cups warm water; let stand for 5 minutes. Stir in 2 cups of flour until smooth. Cover loosely with a clean towel. Let stand in a warm place (80 degrees F-90 degrees F) to ferment for 48 hours; stir several times daily. (The mixture will become bubbly and rise, have a "yeasty" sour aroma and a transparent yellow liquid will form on the top.) Stir in milk powder, butter, sugar, salt, remaining water and enough remaining flour to form a soft dough. (Do not knead.) Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1-1/2 hours. Turn onto a floured surface; punch dough down. (Do not knead). Divide in half. Shape each into a round loaf. Heavily grease baking sheets and sprinkle with cornmeal. Place dough on prepared pans. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes. With a sharp knife, make three diagonal slashes across tops of loaves. Bake at 350 degrees F for 10 minutes. Brush loaves with cold water; bake 35-40 minutes longer or until golden brown.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Five Minute Friday - BEYOND

Go!

Beyond. "Beyond my limit!" "Beyond all hope!" How many of us feel this way?

As my husband always reminds us in his sermons...the devil's three greatest tools that he uses against us are depression, distraction, and discouragement. He wants to push us beyond our limits and made us feel that we're all alone...that all hope is lost. But it isn't!

You see...there is fact! And there is TRUTH!

'Fact' is what we see right in front of us...the bad report from the doctor, the bad marriage, the bad financial situation, the bad 'whatever' you happen to be facing today. But the 'TRUTH' is what God has to say about those situations in His precious and Holy Word!

If you've reached your limit in a certain situation...if you feel that you're beyond all hope...it's not too late! Because God...the Creator of your body, soul, and spirit...the One Who fashioned you after His very likeness...God sees beyond that situation that you're facing today and He's already got the answer!

Dig into His Word! By faith, reach beyond those limits that the enemy of your soul has set up within your heart and mind and stand on God's promises today! He is there for you! And He will never leave you, nor forsake you!

Stop!

(This 'Five Minute Friday' post is inspired by The Gypsy Mama. Please visit her site today!)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Homemade Baked Donuts






A couple of Saturdays ago, we were invited to go with son and daughter-in-law to go on an autumn outing. One of the places we went was the Louisburg Cider Mill's annual Ciderfest in Louisburg, Kansas. While there I picked up a Norpro Petite Donut Pan and I finally tried it out tonight. Above is a picture of the fruits of my labor. Cute and tasty BAKED donuts! Nice!



Friday, October 14, 2011

Five Minute Friday - CATCH



Catch. Catch? Catch! 

Only one thing comes to mind when I see the word 'catch'...part of the words to an old John Anderson song...'Would You Catch A Falling Star'. The chorus says...


"Would you catch a falling star before he crashes to the ground
Don't you know how people are nobody loves you when you're down"

Whoa! Stop right there! While it's true that, as a rule, people may not love you when you're down, there is One that loves you no matter how far down you are! He loves you so much, in fact, that He bled and died...laid down His very life...for you! His name is Jesus! Do you know Him?

John 3:16 tells us, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."

Have you made Him Lord of your life? Do you know Him as Saviour? If not...and you're reading this...it's not too late to repent of your sins and be saved. All you have to do is ask.

1 John 1:9 tells us that, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 

Do you feel like falling star today? Do you need someone to catch you before you come crashing to the ground? Then call out to Jesus! As long as there is breath left in your body it's not too late! 


~Rebecca


(If you need help or want to know more, please, feel free to e-mail me at proverbs31heart@yahoo.com. Please put CATCH on the subject line so I don't miss it! God bless you!)

(This 'Five Minute Friday' post is inspired by The Gypsy Mama. Please visit her site today!)

Friday, October 7, 2011

Five Minute Friday - ORDINARY



Ordinary...ordinary people...ordinary days. Ordinary...the same people...the same place...the same mundane tasks...day after day after day...ordinary.

I looked up the word 'ordinary' in the dictionary and here's what I found...

ordinary - commonly encountered; usual, of no exceptional ability, 
degree, or quality; average, of inferior quality; second-rate.

Wow! "Of no exceptional ability?" "Of inferior quality?" "Second-rate?"

That kind of sheds a new light on things...doesn't it? There's nothing 'ordinary' about the people in my life...nothing 'ordinary' about my days...nothing 'ordinary' or 'mundane' about the tasks that the Lord has called me to.

Each person that I encounter is a gift from God. People...each one uniquely designed by and made in the image of his or her Creator.

My days? Each one different...each filtered through the fingers of God...each filled with precious moments and beautiful blessings from my Heavenly Father.

Ordinary? No! Extraordinary? You bet!!!


'Five Minute Fridays' are inspired by The Gypsy Mama
Please be sure and visit her site!





Living On A Dime - How To Roast and Use Pumpkins!

How to Roast and Use Pumpkins!
by Tawra Kellam
http://www.LivingOnADime.com
Peter Piper Picked a Profoundly Plump Pumpkin -- Now what does he do with it?
How to Roast a Pumpkin
You can only do this with a freshly carved pumpkin! Do not use on a pumpkin that has been carved and sitting out for several days.
To bake a fresh 6 to 7 pound pumpkin, halve the pumpkin crosswise and scoop out the seeds and strings. Place halves, hollow side down, in a large baking pan covered with aluminum foil and add a little water. Bake, uncovered, at 375 degrees for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until fork-tender. Remove. When cool, scrape pulp from shells and puree, a little at time, in food processor or blender. Mix with a little salt.
To freeze pumpkin puree. Put 1-2 cups in freezer bags along with spices and use in pies.
To use pumpkin puree for recipes: Line a strainer with a double layer of cheesecloth or a flour sack dish towel and let the pumpkin sit to drain out the extra moisture BEFORE cooking with it. Pumpkin is very moist, so in order for your recipe to come out correctly, you MUST strain it.

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
Boil seeds in water for 5 minutes. Drain well. Sprinkle with salt or seasoned salt. Place a thin layer on a cookie sheet. Bake at 250 degrees. Stir after 30 minutes. Bake 1/2-1 hour more or until crunchy.
*Squash seeds may also be used.

Pumpkin Smoothies
1/2 cup pumpkin
3/4 cup milk or vanilla yogurt
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
2 tsp. brown sugar
4 ice cubes
whipped cream (optional)
sprinkles (optional)
Place all ingredients in a blender. Blend until smooth. Pour into 2-3 glasses. Serve with a small amount of whipped cream on top. You may also add orange sprinkles if you like. Serves 2-3.

Pumpkin Crunch
1 package yellow cake mix
1 can (15 oz.) solid packed pumpkin
1 can (12 oz.) evaporated milk
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup nuts
1 cup butter, melted
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix pumpkin, milk, eggs, sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl. Pour into a greased 9x13 pan. Sprinkle dry cake mix over pumpkin mixture. Then sprinkle with nuts. Drizzle with butter. Bake for 50-55 minutes or until golden brown. Cool, served chilled. Serve with whipped topping.

Homemade Pumpkin Muffins
1 cake mix (any flavor works, but chocolate is our hands down favorite!) 1 can pumpkin or 2 cups mashed cooked pumpkin
Beat together with electric mixer until smooth (It will be really thick). Add 1 cup mini chocolate chips and stir. Line muffin tins with paper muffin cups and spray with non-stick spray. Use an ice cream scoop to put batter into muffin cups (I can get 24 muffins from one box of mix). Bake at 350 degrees for around 20 minutes. Cool and frost if desired. My family likes them just as they are when they are hot from the oven.
Spice cake mix is great - add white chocolate chips, peanut butter chips or butterscotch chips.
I have made pumpkin muffins with white cake mix and yellow cake mix too. They have around 120 calories apiece with the mini chocolate chips and are virtually fat free. If you are on weight watchers, they only count as 1 point.
This is a fabulous way to sneak some vitamin A rich veggies in on the kids. Just don't let them see you put the pumpkin into the muffins and they will never know it is there. These are more moist than very expensive name brand double chocolate chip muffins.

Pumpkin Pancakes
2 cups flour
2 Tbsp. brown sugar, packed
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1 1/4 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup pumpkin
1 large egg
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 cup milk
1/2 cup nuts, chopped (optional)
Combine ingredients. Stir just until moistened; batter may be lumpy. Heat griddle or skillet over medium heat. Brush lightly with vegetable oil. Pour 1/4 cup batter onto hot griddle. Cook until bubbles begin to burst. Turn and continue cooking 1 to 2 minutes. Serve with Pumpkin Maple Sauce and nuts.

Pumpkin Maple Sauce
1 cup maple syrup
1 1/4 cups pumpkin
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice Mix together until well blended.
Visit www.LivingOnADime.com for more easy recipes!

Jill Cooper and Tawra Kellam are frugal living experts and the authors of the Dining On A Dime Cookbook. Dining On A Dime will help you save money on groceries and get out of debt by cooking quick and simple homemade meals. For free tips & recipes visit http://www.LivingOnADime.com , sign up for our free Living On A Dime Newsletter and learn to save more!