Budget Cooking


Frugal and Fun Easter Dessert

If you are looking for a fun and frugal dessert for Easter I highly recommend this cake.  I believe this year will be our fourth time making it.  The kids always have a lot of fun making it (and so do I!)

I purchased the Betty Crocker cake mix on sale for 99 cents.  The icing was also on sale for 99 cents but I got it free with a Save.ca coupon from registering at http://www.lifemadedelicious.ca/

This bunny cake will cost me approximately $4 to make.

Photo:lifemadedelicious.ca
 You will need:
1 pkg (510 g) Betty Crocker* Super Moist Golden, French Vanilla or White Cake Mix
Water, vegetable oil and eggs as called for on cake mix package
1 tub (340 g) Betty Crocker* Whipped Vanilla or Fluffy White Frosting
2 cups (500 mL) shredded coconut, divided, (optional)
Construction paper
Jellybeans or small gum drops
Green food colouring
 Method:
  • Heat oven to 350°F (180°C) for shiny metal pans or 325°F (160°C) for dark or non-stick pans. Lightly grease or spray with non-stick cooking spray, bottom and sides of two 8-inch (20 cm) or two 9-inch (23 cm) round baking pans.
  • In large bowl, beat cake mix, water, oil and eggs with electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds; beat on medium speed 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally. Pour into pans.
  • Bake 24 to 29 minutes or until toothpick inserted in centre comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes. Remove from pan to cooling racks. Cool completely, about 1 hour.
  • Shake 1 cup (250 mL) coconut and 3 drops food colouring in tightly covered jar until evenly tinted. Surround bunny with tinted coconut. Add additional jellybeans if desired. Store loosely covered.
Tip:   You only need one 8" or 9" round to make this cake.  If it is for a large crowd you can make 2 bunny cakes.  You will need to increase the coconut to 4 cups, 2 tubs of icing and more jellybeans.  OR you can do what I do.  I make 1 round cake then bake the rest of the batter into cupcakes and freeze them.

To print out the recipe from Life Made Delicious click here

Disclosure: I am a blogger for Life Made Delicious and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own. 

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How to Speed up your Meal Preparation

Do you ever have one of those days when it is 5PM, the kids are hungry and you have absolutely no idea what you are going to make for dinner?  I think we have all been there at one time or another.   Today I'm going to show you how a bit of planning and prepping can keep you from picking up the phone and ordering a pizza.

Meal Plan  
Put pen to paper and plan out your weekly meals.  If you aren't a big planning type person at least have an idea of what you would like to cook for the week.  This way you will have all of your ingredients on hand and save yourself an extra trip to the grocery store.

Wash & Chop 
When I get home from the grocery store I like to prep fruits and veggies for the week.  I fill a large container with chopped veggies such as celery, carrots, cucumber and peppers.  If I purchase a few heads of romaine lettuce I will chop, wash, dry and bag it all at once. 

I also wash fruits like grapes and oranges ahead of time so I can grab them quickly when packing lunches.  Cut up melons such as cantaloupe and honeydew  keep fresh for a few days in the refrigerator if they are not extremely ripe to start off with.

Pre Cook Meat 
This is something I do often.  If I purchase a large amount of ground beef or chicken I like to pre cook it.  Some of the ways I season it are:

Mexican-Use Old El Paso low sodium seasoning or a mixture of chili powder, cumin, oregano, garlic, onion and green peppers.  This is great to have on had for casseroles,  chili and tacos
Greek- Garlic, oregano, and nutmeg or cinnamon.  Once again this is great for casseroles or when making moussaka.

Italian- I use a blend of oregano, basil, garlic, onion and peppers.  This is terrific in a meat sauce for pasta.
Yummy Mexican pasta casserole
Once the meat is cooked and cooled I package it in 1/2 LB- 1 LB portions.  It thaws quickly so you just need to put it in the refrigerator the morning of the day you want to use it or quick thaw in the microwave.

Cook once, eat twice  
I do this often.  Let's say I am making a beef stir fry.  I would double the ingredients and have enough to feed my family dinner for 2 nights but only have to cook once.
Large 2 meal stir fry
If your kids are old enough ask them to help
My kids have been "helping" me in the kitchen since they were VERY young.  Since age one I would let them sit on the floor and bang the pots with a spoons and "Cook" with their plastic food.  Now that they are older (ages 10 and 11) they help me out with:
Washing and chopping fruits and veggies (with supervision of course)
Make salad, this is one of the things they love to do!
Grate cheese
Set the table
Prepare frozen veggies in the microwave
Cook things like pancakes, eggs, french toast and pasta

If you have a time saving kitchen tip I'd love to hear it!
Disclosure:
 I am a blogger for Life Made Delicious and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.”