Pancakes take a while to make so I usually put them on the meal plan for weekend breakfasts or lunches. If you’re tired of plain pancakes, why not try Apple Pancakes as an alternative instead? This recipe is easy to make. Use your imagination when serving. Try adding fresh blueberries or raspberries or thinly sliced apple and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Yum!
2 large eggs
2 cups SR flour, sifted
1/3 cup sugar for the recipe plus 2 tablespoons sugar (or more) for cooking
1 tsp bicarb soda
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk
60g unsalted butter, melted
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 peeled Granny Smith apples, 1 cored and grated, 1 thinly sliced on a mandolin
Begin by preparing your apples. (Remember to sprinkle a little lemon juice on the apples to keep them from turning brown after cutting or grating.) Cut one apple on a mandolin to make uniform thickness slices. These will be used with the pancake batter.
The other apple should be peeled and grated to add to the batter.
Now you’re ready to start on the batter itself. Melt the butter over medium heat being sure not to scorch it.
In a medium to large size bowl, beat two large eggs until frothy.
Add the flour to the beaten egg.
Then add the 1/3 cup of sugar. Reserve the rest of the sugar for coating the apple slices before cooking.
Next add the bicarb soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg.
Add the buttermilk, vanilla and melted butter to the mixture and then stir to incorporate everything.
Add the grated apple. Stir until just combined. The mixture will be thick.
Preheat the frying pan over medium-high heat. Lightly spray with cooking spray or add a little butter.
Add 1/2 cup batter to the pan. Place two lightly sugared apple slices on top.
Cook the pancake until bubbles form (about 2 minutes). Flip the pancake with a spatula and cook until golden brown on each side for a total of about 4 minutes cooking time per pancake. You may need to spray the spatula with cooking spray between pancakes to ensure the pancake doesn’t stick to the spatula.
Place the cooked pancake on a plate. Garnish with apples slices other fruit and a sprig of mint, if desired.
MOO YOUR OWN CAKE MIXES
Save money by limiting the expensive or extravagant items you buy. For example, if you love an exotic, organic cake mix but it’s expensive, buy one every other month. Consider it a special treat when you have it, rather than something you must have every week or two.
Or better still, MOO cake mixes, store them in ziplock bags and you can make a cake whenever you feel like it.
MOO Vanilla Cake Mix
4 cups plain flour
4 cups SR flour
6 cups white sugar
1/4 cup baking powder
2 tsp salt
2-1/4 cups unsalted butter*
Combine all the dry ingredients and then cut in the shortening with a pastry knife until it is very fine. Place in a 4 litre airtight container. Store for up to 3 months in the fridge. Bring the cake mix to room temperature to use it.
*Note: Use real butter, do not be tempted to use margarine.
To make a cake:
4-1/2 cups cake mix
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 c vegetable oil
2/3 c milk
Pre-heat oven to 175 degrees Celsius. Grease and flour a 33cm x 23cm cake tin. In a large bowl mix eggs, vanilla and oil. Add the cake mix, stir to combine. Then stir in the milk. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the middle.
I love the convenience of mixes ready to go. At the moment I have chocolate cupcakes, tea cake, sultana muffins, cranberry muffins, cream of chicken soup, taco seasoning, spaghetti seasoning, pizza dough, doughnuts, instant custard, white sauce mixes all in jars (I love them too) or ziplock bags. I print the ingredients and method either onto a label or straight onto the jar or bag with a Sharpie so anyone can take a mix and make it. Means Wayne or the children can help me with baking or meal prep without my supervision or even input.
Annabel, over at The Bluebirds are Nesting (Blue Wren in the forum) is doing a series on pantry preparedness. She posts a new topic each week and this week it was mixes.
I love mixes. They are a vital component of my pantry, my stockpile and go a long way towards helping to keep our grocery bill to $320 a month.
I can't remember the last time I bought a cake mix. Hannah bought a couple last year and made them, red velvet cupcakes if I remember correctly. We HATED them - they tasted so fake, had a horrible after-taste and left a greasy, thick feeling in our mouths. And they were expensive.
During MOO Month I shared my go-to chocolate cake mix recipe.
A few years ago I put together a small ebook of mixes, called Make Our Own….Mixes. It's one of the more popular downloads in the member's centre, having been downloaded almost 32,000 times since it was first published! That's a lot of people MOOing mixes, or with the knowledge to MOO them.
Annabel was asking for a Bisquick recipe. Bisquick isn't a common ingredient in Australian recipes, but as the Internet makes it so easy for us to find and try recipes from other countries, and as it is a popular product in the USA and Canada, knowing how to MOO it means we can try these recipes, save money on the packets and keep the nasty ingredients out.
This is my Bisquick recipe. I use it to make biscuits, scones (if we are camping, otherwise I make Lemonade Scones), crumble topping, shortcakes, pancakes, pastry, as the base in impossible pies and quiches - it's very versatile.
MOO Bisquick Mix
6 cups plain flour, sifted
3 tablespoons baking powder
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 cup cold, unsalted butter
Step 1. Measure the sifted flour, baking powder and salt into a large bowl. Use a wire whisk to blend thoroughly.
Step 2. Cut in cold butter using a pastry cutter until thoroughly incorporated. Store refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 months.
This makes 6 cups of mixture. I pack it in 2 cup portions in ziplock bags in the freezer because I don't have room in the fridge.
I keep most of my mixes in the freezer. Why? Well firstly because I don't have the shelf space for them. Secondly, some of them contain butter or oil and need to at least be refrigerated.
They can be used straight from the freezer, if there are any clumps just break them up before you add the wet ingredients.
Here are two of the ways I use it.
MOO Bisquick Scones
2 cups MOO Bisquick mix
2/3 cup milk.
Mix to a dough. Gently press out to about 2cm thick. Use a glass or scone cutter dipped in flour to cut into rounds. Place on a baking paper lined scone tray. Bake at 210 degrees Celsius for 12 - 15 minutes or until risen and golden.
MOO Bisquick Banana Nut Bread
This delicious banana bread uses MOO Bisquick as a shortcut. With the addition of cream cheese and walnuts you have one of the easiest and nicest banana breads you've ever tasted.
2 cups MOO Bisquick mix
1 cup sugar
250g cream cheese, softened
3 medium bananas, mashed
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Pre-heat oven to 175 degrees Celsius. Grease and line the base of a loaf pan. Beat sugar and cream cheese together until smooth (it's easier if you use the mixer for this step). Add in the mashed bananas and eggs, and beat until well combined. Gently stir in Bisquick and walnuts, until just moist. Spread evenly into the loaf pan and bake for one hour. Cool completely before serving.
This is a very moist banana bread, it doesn't rise to a high loaf, and it's just great for using up brown or black bananas. It also makes a great Gift in a Jar - just pack the dry ingredients in layers in a jar, add a label with the ingredients needed and the method. Add a pretty jar topper and a ribbon and it's ready to go.
Mixes are great. MOO mixes are even greater. If you haven't tried to save money, time and energy with MOO mixes, give them a go. I'm sure you'll love the convenience and the cost.
MOO CAKE MIXES
Boxed (or packet) cake mixes are convenient - to a point. You still need to add the wet ingredients, usually egg, water or milk, butter or oil, so what you're paying up to $9 for is basically flour, sugar, a rising agent, flavouring of some kind and then a whole lot of things you can't pronounce and really shouldn't be eating.
That cake mix convenience ends up costing you up to $11!
If you make a cake from scratch you'll use flour, sugar, butter or oil, milk or water, an egg or two, flavouring of some kind and if you didn't use self-raising flour, a rising agent (baking powder or bicarb soda, depending on the recipe). And your cake will cost you under $2!
Now cake mixes are supposed to be convenient time savers because you just dump the contents into the mixer, add the wet stuff and beat for 3 minutes.
If your recipe is a one-bowl mix, like the I've shared below, you do the same thing - dump all the ingredients into the mixer and beat for 3 minutes.
It may take you a minute to measure out the flour, sugar and flavourings so a from scratch cake will take you 1 or 2 minutes longer to get to the baking stage. At a saving of up to $9 a minute or two is nothing.
And they will both take about the same time to cook too, so no saving there.
If you really love cake mixes, and I confess I do, you can quite easily make your own.
When I'm baking a cake I get out a half a dozen ziplock bags and measure out the dry ingredients for 7 cakes, the one I'm baking and 6 to put in the cupboard. The bags are labelled with the type of cake the ingredients will make - chocolate, coffee, butter, sultana, cherry or whatever, a list of wet ingredients and the instructions. I do this a lot so I have marked the bags with a Sharpie. Once the mix has been used the bag is washed and dried and put away ready to use again - and the instructions are already written on it.
This is a quick chocolate cake I make into MOO Cake Mixes.
Quick Chocolate Cake
3 cups SR flour
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup cocoa
2 cups cold water
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp white vinegar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
You can double, triple, quadruple the quantities (I measure out 7 lots at a time). Put the dry ingredients into ziplock bags and seal. Label the bag and add a list of the wet ingredients and the instructions.
To make a cake add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Stir until just combined.
One quantity will make 2 dozen cupcakes or two 20cm square cakes. Bake at 180 degrees Celsius for 25 - 30 minutes for 20cm cake (or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean). Bake for 12 - 15 minutes for cupcakes or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.
The No Power Challenge
From mid-September the way electricity in Victoria will be priced is changing. There will be peak, off-peak and shoulder periods and the price will vary according to the time of day, and the day of the week, with the busiest part of most people's day being of course the most expensive. And so I have been thinking.
The off-peak rate runs from 10pm - 7am. This will be the cheapest rate for electricity. I don't know about you but I'm not that keen on staying up at night to do the washing and the floors, and running the dishwasher when the rest of the family is trying to sleep just won't work in our household.
Electricity prices are on the rise. It's a catch 22 situation because our reliance on electricity is also on the rise. Almost every appliance in our homes is electric: stoves and ovens, microwave ovens, kettles, food processors, mixers, toasters, sandwich makers, bread makers, washing machines, irons, clock radios, hair dryers, toothbrushes, shavers, heaters, air conditioners, vacuum cleaners, computers, lighting and the list goes on.
Many of those appliances have a non-electric version that we could just as easily use, but we've been brain-washed into thinking they are too hard to use or too old-fashioned. They're not!
And they slash power use. And that slashes the power bill, saving us all money.
I've been curious as to just how much we use electricity because we have it at the flick of a switch, because it's too convenient. In August I put out a challenge to Cheapskates Club members: could they live for 48 hours with access to just 3 hours of electricity a day?
The challenge was accepted and the results were interesting. Overall most households managed with a few lifestyle modifications. They all said they wouldn't want to have to live with such limited power forever.
So do you think you can live with access to just three hours of electricity a day? Are you prepared to accept the challenge and see if you really can cut your electricity use and slash that bill without compromising your lifestyle?
Are you up to the challenge? Just two days, 48 hours, and you can choose the days, to try living with access to electricity for just three hours a day.
The rules are simple and more guidelines than rules. You can:
1. Commit to the challenge by leaving a comment below agreeing to participate in the challenge.
2. Spread the word. Talk about it, email it to your family and friends, blog and tweet about it. Encourage as many people as you can to take part.
3. Use whatever appliances you need to during the 3 hours of allowed power time. You could have the TV and every light in the house on if you need too (an extreme example).
4. Break the three hours up any way you want, but once the time is up that's it - no more electricity for the day. We chose 45 minutes in the morning and 2-1/4 hours of an evening.
5. You can use battery powered appliances out of hours.
6. You can use any appliances during the "on" hours.
1. Use any appliance that requires a power point or light switch during the 21 hours a day you can't access power, the exceptions being fridges and freezers, wired in smoke detectors and any medical aides that must be used (nebulizers, ventilators etc.).
I'd like you to keep a diary for the 48 hours, recording what you used and what you found you didn't really need to use, the things you missed, how you filled in TV time if you normally watch TV, how the family filled in the evening without power or lights etc. whether or not you were able to stick to the three hours or just found it unrealistic or impossible, and record the actual amount of power you used in total over the six hours.
You can add your diary notes and ask any questions in the comments below.
From Debt Free, Cashed Up and Laughing
A New Year, A New Budget
Welcome to 2020!
A brand new year, and an opportunity to get that budget right.
Budgets aren't set in cement. They're meant to be fluid, and change with your circumstances. And that means that you can create a new budget right now, for the new year.
In the show last night, I stressed that it's important to keep it simple. If your budget is complicated, then you'll give up. Trust me I know, and not just from working with Cheapskaters, but from first hand experience.
If something is too complicated, and takes too long, needs too much attention, then it's not going to work. You are busy, with family, friends, life, work, home, garden, hobbies - just being. You don't need anything else to complicate your life.
And your budget shouldn't which is why I stress the "keep it simple".
Sure, once you have it down and working, you can pretty it up. Apparently my comments on charts and graphs and colours has been taken completely out of context and become the focus of last night's show. Wow!
Thanks to Marion for forwarding the email to me, so I can clear the air.
Folks, I did not say you had to use pie charts and graphs and pretty colours. I did suggest if you have a Living the Cheapskates Way Budget and Lifestlye Planner that you take advantage of the yearly and weekly budget layouts, and if you don't have one, then Members can download the Simple Monthly Spending Plan.
And I did say that if you want to pretty it up, after you've kept it simple for a while, then go ahead, but do it one simple step at a time. Some of us are visual, and need the "pretty" to stay motivated.
Apparently, the writer doesn't budget, or track her spending. Right!
People, anyone who tells you they don't budget is either obscenely wealthy, in debt and hiding their head in the sand or flat out lying.
Spending whatever you have is budgeting - bad budgeting, but it's still a form of budgeting.
The "no budget" trend is budgeting. Read up on it. They still budget, plan their spending and saving, pay down debt. They budget - they're just not honest enough with themselves (or anyone else) to admit it. Or perhaps they're scared of the responsibility that comes with a budget.
Last night I suggested you track your spending,and from the comments so many of you do. I still do. It doesn't take long and frankly if you don't know where your money is going, you can't control it.
Tracking your spending isn't hard. It isn't complicated. It doesn't take hours and hours.
It does keep your spending under control.
It does only take a minute or so each day.
It does help keep you out of debt.
And it does show where you can cut back, and if you have debt, then you need this information. If you're building savings or and emergency fund, you need this information.
So, keep an eye on what you spend, and keep your budget simple: incomings and outgoings.
I've been doing this for a long, long, long time - over 25 years - and it works.