Sunday, July 29, 2012

Leader Enterprise - August 25, 2012 - Getting ready for school

Cheesy Ranch Potatoes (1)
Cheesey Ranch Potatoes - photo credit: 4 little Fergusons 

The kiddos will be heading back to school very soon. I've read the average family spends about $600 on back-to-school shopping. Ugh! And even more for larger families! I've been reading many tips on the internet, and in print, and wanted to share some to help you stay within your budget and not break the bank in the process.

Recycle: Send your kids on a treasure hunt. Many of the supplies the kids need are already in your house. Pencils, sharpeners, scissors, etc.can be gathered and used at school.

Match Prices: Some of our local retailers offer price matching, so scour the circulars and mark the 'best buys' and enjoy shopping, because you'll be saving a lot of bucks. I recently saw a local store advertising two-pocket folders for 9 cents each. Scarf up those deals when you can. If there's a limit,take a friend with you and buy double.

Wait if you can: Many stores slash prices two or three weeks after school begins. Buy only what's necessary to start, and do more shopping later.

Don't be afraid to Splurge: The school year brings many new things: teachers, classrooms, classmates, schedule,etc. Find out one thing your child really wants and get it for them. You can compromise so that everything doesn't have to be purchased brand new. Let the kids help decide which things to wait to buy, and which things to splurge on. It can be a good lesson in money management.

This is a great website that can help you save on They track the brands you like in chosen sizes and alert you when they go on sale. It's worth checking out,especially if brand names matter.

If you don't have your own garden, I hope you've visited your local farmers market and are enjoying many seasonal fruits and veggies available this time of year. Fresh is always best.


6 bacon strips, cut into 1/2" pieces

2 lbs.fresh green beans, cleaned

3 Tb. brown sugar

2/3 c. water

In large skillet,cook bacon over medium heat until crisp-tender,about 5 minutes.Add beans,brown sugar and water.Stir gently;bring to a boil.Reduce heat;cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until beans are crisp-tender.Remove to serving bowl with slotted spoon.Yield:6-8 servings.


3 eggs,beaten

1 c.oil

1-1/2 c.white sugar

2 c. raw,unpeeled zucchini,grated fine

2-1/2 c.all purpose flour

1/2 c. baking cocoa

1 tsp.salt

1-1/2 tsp.baking soda

1 tsp.ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp.baking powder

1/2 c.finely chopped nuts,optional

Preheat oven to 350.Grease 2 large or 4-5 small loaf pans.Place eggs,oil,sugar and zucchini in blender;blend well.In medium bowl,place flour,salt,baking soda,cinnamon and baking powder,and nuts.Stir wet mixture into dry and blend with electric mixer.Pour into prepared pans.Bake 35-55 minutes,depending on size of pan,testing with toothpick for doneness.Smaller loaves will bake faster.


8 frozen buttermilk waffles

4 Tb.cream cheese,softened

1-1/2 c.sliced fresh raspberries(or any berry)

(I cut the raspberries in half,but you wouldn't have to)

1-1/4 c.milk

6 lg.eggs

1/4 c.maple syrup(I used sugar free)

1/2 c.firmly packed brown sugar

(I used1/4 c.Splenda brown sugar blend)

1/2 c.butter

Garnish:fresh raspberries

Preheat oven to 350. Arrange waffles in a single layer on a baking sheet. Toast for 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Spray an 11"  X  8" baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Line waffles in a single layer on the bottom of dish. Spread cream cheese over waffles. Top with raspberries. Arrange remaining waffles over raspberries. In a small bowl, whisk together milk, eggs, and maple syrup. Pour mixture over waffles. Cover and chill overnight. Preheat oven to 375. In a small saucepan, whisk together brown sugar and butter over medium high heat until sugar dissolves and butter melts. Pour over waffles. Bake for 25 - 30 minutes or until set in the middle. Remove from oven; let stand 10 minutes before serving.  Top with additional raspberries if desired.(Using Splenda, mine baked about 22 minutes-be sure to start checking early for doneness)


1/2 c. fresh blueberries

1-5/8 c. all-purpose flour,divided

1/2 c. quick cooking oats

1/2 c. chopped pecans

1 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt

1/2 c. shortening

1 c. white sugar

2 eggs

1 c. mashed bananas

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9x5 inch loaf pan. In a medium bowl, dredge blueberries in 2 tablespoons flour. Gently stir blueberries together with oats, nuts, 1-1/2 cups flour, soda, and salt. In a large bowl, cream shortening. Gradually add sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in mashed banana.Add blueberry mixture to creamed mixture,and stir just until moistened.Spoon batter into the prepared pan.Bake 50-55 minutes,or until a wooden toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the center of the loaf.Cool in pan for 10 minutes. Remove from pan;cool completely on a wire rack.


3 lbs. red potatoes,diced small

1 tsp. pepper

1/2 tsp. seasoning salt

2 tsp. chili powder

2 Tb. butter

3 strips bacon, cooked and chopped

1/2 c. cheddar cheese,shredded

Ranch Dressing

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place potatoes in a baking dish. Sprinkle them with chili powder, seasoning salt & pepper. Place butter around the top of the potatoes. Cover with tin foil & cook for an hour or until potatoes are fork tender. Remove from oven and add bacon, cheese,and ranch dressing. Stir and return to oven uncovered until cheese is melted, about 5 minutes.

Oriental Cabbage Salad

1/2 head of medium size cabbage- chopped
1 package of CHICKEN Ramen Noodles- noodles broken, save seasoning packet
4 chopped green onions with tops
3 chopped apples (I used Gala)
1/3 cup slivered or diced almonds, optional
(or honey roasted peanuts when serving - MMM!)

Toss the above ingredients together.

Mix seasoning packet from the CHICKEN Ramen Noodles with

1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp salt
3 T. sugar
1/2 cup oil
3 T. cider vinegar

Put these ingredients in a shaker. Mix well, pour over the salad. Makes a large amount and keeps well in the refrigerator.


  1. My kids are done with school now, but with all that I've experienced through the years, I think you're giving some pretty good advice here! By the way, I love the waffles.

  2. WOW this looks fab for sure! Thank you for sharing soooo many great recipes :) so happy I found you!