One of my favorite blogs (other than mine and my sons' blogs!) is www.moneysavingmom.com I get SO many great coupons, bargains, freebies, and ideas from this site. One idea that has been tickling my brain recently is "baking day." The blog owner (Crystal Paine) occassionally blogs about taking one day to bake and cook several items. This helps to stock your freezer and store up meals for those times when you need something quick.
I had just such a need last week when we invited a family home after church for a meal. I had a very simple lunch in the crock pot, but felt that to have someone over for a meal I needed to add to that. I was wishing that I had something for dessert in my freezer, but I did not have anything in the freezer for dessert!
Several days ago our neighbor called and asked me to make her some fudge. I had sent over some goodies at Christmas-time and she must have enjoyed the peanutbutter fudge. So, I got the final ingredients yesterday and I planned on making the fudge for her this afternoon after we returned from church and had our lunch.
When I got into the kitchen, I figured, while I'm making the fudge I might as well get a few other things made. So I pulled out the recipe for fudge, as well as one I recently printed for crock-pot granola. I found this at Molly Green's econobusters blog: www.econobusters.com This is an experiment for me, so I'm not sure how it will taste. I put the ingredients in the crock pot for granola and set it while working on some other things.
I then moved on to Boston Cream Cupcakes that I recently found in a magazine. I can't remember which magazine because it was given to me. I cut out the recipe to use and threw away the mag. Basically, you make a yellow cake mix and bake them as cupcakes. Then, while those are baking, you mix up a batch of instant vanilla pudding and make chocolate frosting (you could even used canned). When the cupcakes are cooled, you use a piping tip and a bag to pipe the pudding into the cupcakes. (tip: be generous with the pudding filling!) Then frost the cupcakes with the chocolate frosting and voila! I decadent treat indeed!
Finally, I used some cereal that was given to us to make cereal treats. You know the marshmallow treats that are named after a certain kind of cereal? Well, I make them with ALL kinds of cereals. In today's case, we were given some cereal and no one really likes it at our house. So, in an effort to not let ANYTHING go to waste, I'm trying to use the cereal in other ways. Today, I put a bag of mini-marshmallows and a stick of butter into the microwave. I microwaved it for 30 seconds, then stirred, until the marshmallows were completely incorporated with the butter. Then I threw 5 cups of cereal into the mixture and pressed it into a sprayed 5" baking dish. After it cooled, we had another yummy treat!
Now, I did say that this was a MINI-baking day. So, I stopped there and spent the rest of the afternoon in the living room. Tonight, my crock-pot granola is really browning, and the boys delivered the fudge to our neighbor. We had cupcakes for supper, and all is right with the world.