Kris Mares

Just a woman trying to love Jesus and others a little bit more…

A Thousand Ways to Please a Husband – Part 2 June 9, 2011

Filed under: A Thousand Ways to Please a Husband — Kris @ 11:32 am
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“Daddy’s home!” I said as soon as I saw the Thunderbird pull into the driveway.  “Go wash up and get ready for dinner.” As soon as Racer came in the door, he was pounced on by four of the children.

“Dinner’s ready, so let’s sit down.”

“Steaks!” exclaimed Racer.

“I’m just glad it’s something I really like” said Blue.

“What’s for dessert?” asked Professor.

We prayed and everyone started to eat and share conversation. I explained to Racer how I had been to Aldi and Food Lion earlier in the day and was able to stay under the grocery budget for this week. Getting what I can at Aldi and then shopping the sale and “red tag” meat at Food Lion allows me to keep a low grocery bill and still have steaks on occasion. “But don’t get used to having steak too often, because they aren’t always cheap! And, remember that dinner tonight needs to be your lunch tomorrow” I warned Racer.

After the main meal was finished, we got out the dessert – strawberry shortcake! The whole meal was a hit.

Here was our menu: pan-fried steak, red potatoes in cream, peas, lettuce salad and strawberry shortcake.

Bettina’s Recipes with Kris’s Flair (and portion needs)

Pan-fried steak(6 portions)

  • butter
  • salt and pepper
  • 3lbs steak (whatever can be found on sale)

Melt a little butter in a skillet (I love my cast iron skillet) over high heat. Place a steak in the pan for a short time on each side (to sear it) then cook it to desired doneness. After each steak is cooked, place it in a warming dish and keep it in the oven on 200 degrees. Each steak can be seasoned (after pan-frying) with salt, pepper and small bits of butter. Remove dish from oven and serve steaks hot!

Red Potatoes with Cream

  • 6-8 red potatoes
  • 10 oz. container of Philadelphia cooking cream
  • water
  • pan and drippings used for steaks
  • parsley

Peel and half potatoes. Cook in boiling water until tender when pierced with a fork. Drain off the water and shake the pot to make the potatoes mealy. In the pan used to cook steaks, mix the cooking cream with the meat drippings. Add water as needed to make the sauce the desired consistency. Pour the sauce over the potatoes. Sprinkle with parsley (I used dried, but fresh would be nice).

Strawberry Shortcake

  • 6T shortening
  • 6c flour (I use a mix of white and whole wheat)
  • 2c milk
  • 1t salt
  • 3T baking powder
  • 3qt strawberries
  • 2c sugar

Cut the fat into the flour, salt and baking powder until the consistency of cornmeal. Gradually add the milk, using a fork to mix. Do not handle any more than absolutely necessary.  Toss the dough upon a floured surface. Flour your hands and divide the dough in half. Shape each half and place it into a round pie pan. Bake in a 400 degree oven for about 20 minutes. Cut shortcake into pie wedges. Serve by splitting each piece through the center and placing strawberries (crushed and sugared) over top. Whipped cream is optional!


A Thousand Ways to Please a Husband – Part 1 May 22, 2011

Filed under: A Thousand Ways to Please a Husband — Kris @ 5:27 pm
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“What’s for lunch?” asked everyone after church had let out. Usually, on the rare Sundays that Racer is home, we debate whether to go out to eat, or to just cook at home.

“I’ve got it all figured out. Lunch should be ready quickly, so Blue go right in and set the table. Professor and Girlie, you two put play clothes on and then come down and help.”

I had made oatmeal and flaxseed muffins the night before – along with some strawberry preserves – and the rest of the meal shouldn’t take too long. Girlie even helped with toasting the bread!

As we ate, everyone tried everything. Blue enjoyed the preserves and all agreed they’d be great on pancakes! Racer and Professor both agreed that the Creamed Tuna would be better next time without “the red things.” The biggest hit on this warm May afternoon? The hot chocolate!

Here was our menu: Creamed Tuna on Toast, canned peas, muffins with preserves, hot chocolate with marshmallows.

Bettina’s Recipes with Kris’s Flair (and portion needs)

Creamed Tuna on Toast (6 portions)

  • 3T butter
  • 3T flour (I was out and used mexican corn meal/flour)
  • 3/4t salt
  • 1 small jar pimento (drained)
  • 3c milk
  • 9 slices of toasted bread
  • 3 cans tuna

Melt the butter over medium heat, add the flour, salt and pimento. Mix well. Gradually pour in the milk. Allow the mixture to boil one minute. Stir constantly. Add the tuna, cook one minute. Place one layer of toast in a 9×9 glass pan and spoon some of the creamed tuna mixture over it. Continue layering toast/mixture until toast is gone, putting the last of the tuna mixture on the top.

Hot Chocolate

  • 3 squares of semi-sweet baking chocolate
  • 3T sugar
  • 2c water
  • 6c milk
  • 1t vanilla extract
  • marshmallows

Cook chocolate, sugar and water until fully melted and combined. Stir frequently using a whisk. Add milk gradually and bring to a boil. Whisk frequently. Add vanilla. Allow to stand a moment. Pour into cups and add marshmallows to each cup.

Strawberry Preserves

The recipe I used included only berries, sugar and water. It turned out yummy, but pretty runny. I’ll work on this again and let you know. I did get the “canning” process right and my tops are sealed!


A Thousand Ways to Please a Husband – Intro May 21, 2011

Filed under: A Thousand Ways to Please a Husband — Kris @ 1:02 pm
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Over the last Christmas season, our family got to spend a few days at Racer’s mom’s house. While we were there, I was perusing her cookbooks. On the shelf, tucked in between some very modern looking books, was a yellow book with this cover:

Now, since Racer’s mom has been divorced for many years, I was wondering why this old book was on her shelf. When I opened it up, there was an inscription. Handwritten in blue ink are names that show the book was a wedding gift from Racer’s paternal grandmother (now deceased) to his mom. What an incredible find on a cold winter day!

As I looked closer at the book, it is part novel and part cookbook. The story tells of a young woman and her first year of marriage. The cookbook tells the recipes for the wife’s various kitchen endeavors throughout that first year. For a wonderfully inexplicable reason, I love this book! Add it’s age and the family history surrounding it… well, I asked Racer’s mom if I could have it. She obliged and the book came home with me.

So now, I have this idea for a new adventure. I am going to try to “recreate” this book. I’ll use Bettina’s recipes – making them modern day – and try to tell a story of how/when I cook them. Before I started though, I had to set up my “emergency shelf.” Here is what I needed (according to Bettina):

  • 6 cans pimento (I only purchased 3) – $3.87
  • 6 cans tuna – $3.90
  • 6 cans salmon – $11.94
  • 6 jars dried beef (I’m not sure what this is and couldn’t find anything that might be equivalent)
  • 12 cans corn – $5.88
  • 12 cans peas – $5.88
  • 6 cans string beans – $2.94
  • 6 cans lima beans (butter beans for any needing help like me) – $4.14
  • 6 cans devilled ham (I got something like Spam) – $10.14
  • 6 cans tomatoes – $3.30
  • 6 jars pickles – $8.94
  • 6 jars olives (I got home and only had 5 in my bag…) – $4.95
  • 6 small cans condensed milk (Aldi’s only had the 12 oz cans) – $7.74
  • 6 boxes sweet wafers (I got party crackers, 2 boxes each of 3 flavors) – $8.34
  • 1 lb box of salted codfish (not sure what this is and couldn’t find anything that might be equivalent)
  • 3 pkg. marshmallows (2 each of big and mini) – $3.76
  • 3 cans mushrooms – $1.65
  • 2 pkg. macaroni – $1.58

So my emergency shelf is set up and I’m anxiously awaiting my first story/recipe! Are you ready to start this journey with me?


Yumminess from the Pantry February 12, 2011

Filed under: Frugal living — Kris @ 6:46 am
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Menu – Mexican Cheese Casserole | How to save money and get out of debt – Living on a Dime.

I was needing to go the grocery, but didn’t have time, so I needed something that was easy and I had all the ingredients on hand. I came across the recipe linked above. With some modifications, it was perfect! I even doubled it and invited the neighbors over for dinner!!

My modifications were easy and I think added a lot. I had a bunch of tortillas frozen from a close out sale I came across last month. So I used two 9×13 pans, sprayed them with cooking spray and layered 8″ tortillas in the bottom. For the meat mixture, I used the ground turkey, green onions and cream of mushroom soup I had on hand. I spread the meat mixture on top of the tortillas. Then I added some salsa to give the dish a little bit of a bite. Then I added shredded cheese. Next was another layer of tortillas and then I added some tomato sauce and more shredded cheese! It was super yummy!!!

I served the casserole with the Cinnamon tortilla Crisps linked above and a salad the neighbors brought. The food was good, the conversation was fabulous (and loud – lots of kids around) and I didn’t have to go out and buy anything. I love being able to “scrape something together” from what I have on hand.

What’s your favorite “from the pantry” pull-together dish? Cheap, easy and on hand are my favorites!


Apple Cranberry Bread December 11, 2010

Filed under: Frugal living — Kris @ 4:43 pm
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A couple of Wednesdays ago, The Frugal Girl posted her baking adventure making cranberry bread.  I wondered at the time if it would be any good or not, but I wasn’t willing to buy cranberries just to try it out. 

Well, I bought cranberries.  Bags of whole cranberries were on sale, so I figured “Why not?”  I put them in the cart still wondering if anyone would eat the bread.  I decided I just wouldn’t tell them the red parts were cranberries…

So here is The Frugal Girl’s recipe – Cranberry Bread.  I realized that I didn’t have any orange juice, so I substituted 100% apple juice (hence the Apple Cranberry Bread title).  I actually quadrupled the recipe and made 3 larger loaves.  I ended up baking them for 55 minutes.

After I let them cool a bit, I wrapped one up to put in the freezer for later.  Then I tried it – I cut a slice and took a bite.

By golly the bread was good!  I can see how the orange juice would give the bread a little more of a tangy flavor, but the apple juice was a great substitute.  We’ll have it with my thrown together what we have beef stew tonight at dinner.

The other loaf I have is going home with our neighbor girl who is over here playing.  I hope they like it!  And I hope you like the bread too.  Try it and let me know what substitutes you made to make the bread work for you.


Homemade Hot Cocoa Mix December 9, 2010

I love hot chocolate.  I really do.  I drink it all year-long, but during the colder months, one of my favorite things is a cup of hot cocoa with a candy cane in it.  And I make my own mix.  I make it for myself, as gifts and just to share with friends.  There are a lot of different recipes (simply search and you’ll find them), but the one I tend to like best is from a little gift book my mother-in-law got me several years ago for Christmas.  Here is the recipe found in The Twelve Blessings of Christmas by T.J. Mills.

  • 10 c. non-fat dry milk powder
  • 3 c. cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 c. sugar
  • 2 lb bag of powdered sugar
  • 4 c. non-dairy creamer

Just combine all the ingredients together and store in an airtight container.  To make your hot chocolate, just mix 1/3 cup of the mix with boiling water. 

I also like to make what my friends call a “redneck mocha.”  Instead of using hot water to mix the cocoa, just use brewed coffee instead.  If you want to make a mocha mix (using hot water), simply add 3 c instant coffee to the dry mix.  For an extra Christmas touch, add a candy cane as your stir stick to either “concoction.”  Be forewarned, the cups usually need an extra rinsing before the dishwasher.

Now it’s time for you to mix up a batch and let me know how you like it!  Enjoy!!


Apple Extra Crisp November 9, 2010

Filed under: Girlie — Kris @ 6:51 am
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I’ve been buying a lot of apples lately.  Not really sure why; I suppose it’s because they actually get eaten and they’ve been on sale soooo… in the cart they go.  Anyway, I decided to make some apple crisp the other day with Girlie’s help.  I busted out my trusty Better Homes and Garden Cook Book.  You know, the red and white gingham one that it seems every bride gets as a wedding gift.  I love that cookbook.  It is my favorite.  If I went down to one cookbook, that would be it.  In fact, I probably should just de-clutter and get rid of the others because I really don’t ever use them…

Anyway, back to the topic at hand.

So I get out my cookbook for the fruit crisp recipe.  Then adapted and made it my own.  I decided that since I’m pregnant, I deserve extra crisp – here’s how I made my Apple Extra Crisp.


  • 5-6 medium apples, cut, cored and peeled
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup oats (I used quick-cooking)
  • 1 overflowing cup brown sugar barely packed (I really don’t like the process of packing the sugar, thus I just pour it in the measuring cup and pat down a little)
  • 1/2 cup flour (I use a mixture of whole wheat and white)
  • 1 overflowing tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 overflowing tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans (we had these from the trees in our yard, but you could use walnuts or almonds and they would taste good too)


1.  Preheat oven to 375.  Cut and peel apples and place them in the bottom of a 9×9 baking dish (I used glass).

2.  Pour sugar over the apples.  In a bowl, mix together oats, brown sugar, flour, nutmeg and cinnamon.  Cut in the butter then mix it with your hands to get a crumbly, yummy topping.

3.  Sprinkle the topping over the apples.  Sprinkle pecans over the top.

4.  Bake for 30 minutes.

As you can see, I’m not a “precise” cook.  I love cinnamon and nutmeg, so I figure a little extra will never hurt right?  This was soooo yummy!  Crunchy on the top and warm and gooey underneath.  Next time, I’ll have to make sure I have ice cream to put with it! 

And just so you know, the leftovers heated up are pretty darn good too!  Let me know how you like it!


My Attempt at Homemade Yogurt October 5, 2010

Filed under: Frugal living — Kris @ 12:09 pm
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My kids and I really like yogurt.  We like flavored yogurt the best, with vanilla and strawberry as top universal flavors.  I’m getting tired of buying it though, because I don’t buy it unless it’s on sale and I have a great coupon too.  The hassle of watching the sale/finding the coupon is getting too much for me right now, so when I read The Frugal Girl’s post about making yogurt I thought I’d give it a try.

So, on Saturday, I tried.  Here’s the recipe from The Frugal Girls’s blog – How to Make Homemade Yogurt.  Blue helped me that day (reluctantly) since I wasn’t sure this baby belly would allow me to lift and pour pots and hold jars and get the cooler out of the barn/shed, etc.  So during nap time, we went to work.

I did boil/sterilize my jars and next time I will have 5 jars ready.  There was a lot of temperature watching.  I think since it was my first time making it, I was overly watchful of the temps.  They are important, but I wasn’t sure how fast the milk and water would reach the temperatures necessary.  We did make the vanilla yogurt (using a vanilla flavored “starter”) and I would suggest adding the full amount suggested, if not a little more. 

The biggest hassle was the pouring.  I forgot about the suggestion to pour from the pot into a pitcher and THEN into the jars.  Pouring from the pot into the jars was a mess – I spilled everywhere!  Had I not made such a mess, I think I would’ve needed a 5th jar anyway, so I guess it all worked out.  I just hated to have had the waste I did. 

After waiting the 3 hours and putting the jars in the refrigerator, we tried some with dinner.  It was still warm and a little too runny, so not the best.  After curing in the refrigerator for a day, the yogurt was MUCH better.  Sorry, I just don’t like warm yogurt.  The vanilla taste was slight, but there.  Today I had some with granola in it – YUMMY!  I also bought frozen strawberries at the grocery, so smoothies are on the menu at some point.

Overall, will I make it again?  I think so.  I want to try to up the vanilla flavor, use a pitcher to pour into the jars and heat the milk up a little higher then cool it a little lower.  I think the heating/cooling will help make it a little thicker.  After reading some of the comment and suggestions from other Frugal Girl readers, I also think I’ll use a different brand of starter. 

It is WAY cheaper to make it than buy it (especially since I used a gallon of milk purchased with WIC vouchers).  The taste is good, the time is no different for me that what I took to search for sale/coupon combinations to make it reasonably priced anyway.  Occasionally, I would catch a deal that made the yogurt free at the store, but my new grocery doesn’t double coupons, so those “free yogurt days” are gone. 

I shared about my yogurt adventure – your turn!  Have you ever attempted homemade yogurt?  If you have, what was your experience like?  If not, try it and tell me about your experience!


Weird Eaters and Lentil Soup July 14, 2010

Filed under: Frugal living — Kris @ 8:45 am
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My kids are weird eaters.  I don’t get it.  They LOVE chicken nuggets and all that unhealthy kids stuff that we parents feed them when we are busy and need something quick.  My youngest 3 are TOTAL bread eaters too.  Rolls, biscuits, bread sticks – they want to eat that and nothing else when we serve it.

When it comes to healthy stuff, they are picky as all get out.  No tomatoes, no corn with 2 of them, no peas with a different 2, fruit is a mixed bag (seriously, they end up exchanging mixed fruit pieces…).  Making a meal that is healthy and that EVERYONE like is a challenge (and that includes Racer, he is the most picky of them all)!

So tonight for dinner, I made Lentil Soup with dumplings.  I used this recipe with some modifications – Lentil and Vegetable Soup with Dumplings.  I didn’t have carrots or celery, so I left those out.  I only had dried onions, so I used those.  I used whole wheat flour.  I’m trying to save money, be frugal and clean out my pantry (since we will FINALLY be moving) and I’m using what I’ve got!

So I made it and the little kids LOVED IT!  Gorilla and Girlie – who typically love bread stuff – wouldn’t touch the dumplings, but had 2 bowls of lentil soup.  Blue said she like it – and that was after a hard day of weeding the flower bed.  I had 2 bowls with dumplings.  We put either parmesan or shredded colby-jack on it because we are a cheese loving family.

I’m not sure how Racer and Professor will react when I make it again.  I think both will like the dumplings (which turned out GREAT – far better than the last time I made them).  I guess we’ll just have to see.  Anyway, I have enough lentils left to make another batch before we move.  I’m glad to have found something healthy that most if not all will eat.  I’m sure if I put the carrots and celery in though, that will ruin it for several (what’s this stuff?), so I think I’ll just leave those out from now on.

Who knew cleaning out the pantry and lentil soup would be so good?

P.S.  As I was cleaning out the pantry, I also found multiple un-opened jars of baking powder, opened cans of spices and lots of things that I never use.  We all need to go through our cabinets like we are moving every once in a while.  You never know what you might find.


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