Cauliflower Salad Recipe

With Easter right around the corner and BBQ season coming up soon, I thought that I’d share a recipe that has become a favorite in our family. While the base of the recipe of the veggies is healthy, the condiments that are added make this recipe definitely not so healthy. You can opt for some fat-free versions of the items to make it a little better. I’ve been wanting to substitute Greek yogurt for some of them but I haven’t tried it yet to get the right blend. When I do, I’ll update the recipe.

If you are lucky, you might be able to find the purple and orange cauliflower to make it more festive for Easter but regular cauliflower works just as well.


What You’ll Need:

~Cauliflower – How much you use depends on its size. Overall, a little less than one average size cauliflower. I used parts of two colored ones. You might be better off starting with less and adding more if you need it.
~1 package of Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing/Dip
~3 oz. of Cream Cheese, softened (a little less than half a box)
~1 cup (8 oz.) of Sour Cream
~1 cup (8 oz.) of Mayo
~Cucumber – cut into smaller cubes – I only used 1/2 for mine
~Radishes – cut into slices – I used about 4 – 6. Adds some color
~Green onions (optional) – chopped small- Adds a little flavor


The fun part begins–wash and cut up all your veggies! Now, if you are going to make your salad for much later in the day, I wouldn’t add your cucumbers and radishes to the dish just yet. Cut them up ahead of time and keep them separate. Add them maybe an hour before so they get mixed in. The reason for this is that their water content might make your salad a little watery if added too early.

You’ll need to mix the mayo, softened cream cheese, sour cream and ranch dip in a separate bowl to blend. Just add them to your veggies and you’ll get something like this:

This is one of those salads that should be chilled for awhile before serving so it blends well. If it’s a little thicker, you might be able to add some more sour cream/mayo to blend it out more. If it’s a little watery, add some extra cauliflower, if you have it. Sometimes I have to do that, other times it’s perfect. Don’t forget to add your cucumbers/radishes if you’ve left them out.

Now….what do you do with that leftover cauliflower, if you have it? I used two heads so I could get a mix of purple and orange cauliflower. I saved some for salad toppings for the week and the rest, I blanched in bowling water for about 3 minutes, cooled in cold water and then froze for a side dish for later:

This is one way to make sure that you don’t waste any food. If this isn’t something you are bringing to a party but for your own party, just put your extra cauliflower on a veggie platter, if you have one.

I hope that you end up enjoying this cauliflower salad recipe if you try it. My family makes this every year at Thanksgiving. One of our traditions!

How to Make Frog Pizza

Earlier in the week, I had my husband stop by Costco to pick up a few things. He came home with what was on the list and this gigantic cheese bread to which I said, “What’s that for?” He said, “I have no idea but it looked good.” LOL. OK, so this may or may not be the reason why I do the majority of our grocery shopping.

The next day after school my son excitedly said, “Mommy, we played this pizza game where you put frogs on top. But please don’t make that for supper because that would just be gross.” Of course, immediately I start thinking how I can make frog pizza. The only thing I had on hand that was green was spinach but I figured it could somehow be configured into a frog. I ripped some spinach leaves in half for the legs and used one bigger leaf for the body. And of course one of the main features of a frog is their eyes.

So I balled up some shredded mozzarella and topped each with a slice of black olive. And presto, we have frogs on a “pizza.” (which was really just cheese bread.) Here’s what it ended up looking like:

I just put them in the oven at 425 degrees just long enough to heat everything up. Midway through, I had to re-apply an eyeball as it slid off. So make sure that your “eyes” are rounded, yet still flat enough to stay on. For my husband’s, I hid some pepperoni under the sauce and added more cheese. It kind of created a hidden frog so it turned out OK. His looked like this:

The kids loved these and going forward, I might make them on English Muffins for a quick lunch or on some real homemade dough for a true pizza–one that’s a little healthier than the cheese bread! I’m thinking that I’ll have to cook the dough first and then put on the toppings and heat them up, as I fear that the spinach will wilt too much if subjected to too much heat.

Of course, once your stomach settles, you’ll have to hop around because you now have a frog stuck in your belly. :)

Just thought I’d share our silliness in case you were looking for a fun dinner/lunch with the kids. If you are looking for a book to pair with your dinner, you can try Frog in the Kitchen Sink. In the middle of the book are rolling eyes and my kids have always loved this one. You might be able to see if your library has it.

Chex Mix Muddy Buddies Coupon

There’s a $.75 Off a 10.5 oz or larger bag of Chex Mix Muddy Buddies Coupon available.

Thanks, Hip2Save!

You can make your own Homemade Muddy Buddies with this recipe: Note: I usually use Crispix Cereal, but you can also use Chex Cereal:

1) Melt together 1 cup peanut butter, 1 cup chocolate chips and 1 stick of butter in a medium saucepan. You’ll have to stir frequently or it will burn on you quick. I’d recommend keeping it on a low to medium heat.

2) Once melted, pour over Crispix cereal. (1-12oz. box) Stir the cereal mixture (gently or you’ll break them) until all the cereal is covered.

3) Immediately put it into a brown paper bag that’s been filled with 1/2 bag (1lb.) of powdered sugar. Close up the bag and shake it until the sugar covers the cereal.

How to Make Croutons

This last week, we had a loaf of bread that got stuffed back behind a few other bread products and I didn’t notice it was even there. By the time I realized it, the bread was fairly stale. In the past, I probably would have fed this to our wild birds or worse…even tossed it. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned over the past few years, there’s usually a way you can use things that aren’t still the freshest, but are still safely edible. I’ve turned stale bread into bread crumbs before but I wanted to try to make some croutons this time.

I found a real basic Crouton Recipe on AllRecipes.com. This one was just for regular croutons with a little garlic flavoring. You could probably toss in some spices if you want more flavoring.

1) The first thing you need to do is to cut off the crusts of your bread. This will give you a typical crouton. If you want to leave them on, I’m sure you could.

2) Next, you need to butter both sides of the bread with melted butter. I had my kids help with this. They kept saying they were “painting bread.”

3) Once buttered, cut the bread into cube shapes. If you want them to have a garlic flavor, sprinkle them lightly with garlic salt. Then place them on an ungreased cookie sheet.

4) Bake them at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes, or until browned. If you want, you could flip them over halfway through for an even cooking, but I didn’t and they turned out just fine.

That’s it. Simple and a great way to be sure any stale bread you have doesn’t go to waste. I put these in a Ziploc bag and we’ll be enjoying them on several salads we’ll pick from our garden.

I’m hoping that if you come across things in your house that aren’t the freshest but are still safe to eat, that you’ll find other uses for them, too. If you need some inspiration, I love to follow Teresa from Money Saving Maine-ac in her “Yucky Stuff is the Lucky Stuff” series. She always has such great ideas!

This was a fun little activity for me and the kids. I got a good laugh over when I told my kids that we were going to make Croutons and my son said, “We’re going to make Coupons?!” Can you tell Coupons are a big part of our life? :)

How To Make a Dump Truck Cake

As I’ve mentioned in the past, my son is completely in love with trucks right now. So it was no surprise to me when he told me he wanted a dump truck cake for his birthday earlier this year. My first instinct was to call a bakery and have them make up some fancy design but I wanted to take a stab at making one myself.

Those that know me know how hilarious that might sound because I have no talent when it comes to making cakes. But this one is really easy. REALLY easy.

The first thing you need to do is plan ahead and find coupons for a cake mix and frosting and match them with a hot sale to get it for Free or close to it. OK, sorry, I couldn’t just let you pay full price now could I? But seriously, try to plan ahead so you get a good deal on it.

You can use any store bought cake mix and make it according to box directions. I usually go with a Funfetti one as my kids get a kick out of the colors inside the cake.

I then wanted frosting that looked like a dirt color—chocolate was too dark so I lightened it with a Buttercream one. Just mix and blend until you get the color you want then spread it over the cake AFTER it cools. Important or you’ll rip the cake. Yes, I know this from experience. A few times. I get impatient as there’s always too much to do before the guests arrive!

Next, position some trucks around the cake. I found a great set of 5 little trucks at Walmart for around $5. (I only used 3 on his cake.) I’m not sure if they sell them still but keep your eyes open especially around the holidays, if you are planning ahead, as they have cute sets then.

I then added some chocolate rocks around the cake to look like something a dump truck could haul or diggers could dig up. Don’t forget to leave space in the middle for the birthday message. You can even stack a bunch in one corner to look like a rockpile. Some specialty candy stores sell the chocolate rocks. I ordered mine online from Nifty Nut House. I saved some of the rocks and I’ll tell you why in a minute.

The hardest part is the birthday message. Just go slow and take your time writing it and you’ll be OK. I also added a numeral candle to mine as I found it at our dollar store.

Overall, the cake is pretty easy to make and if you plan ahead on your materials, it shouldn’t cost an outrageous amount. If your family prefers cupcakes, you could maybe find a larger dump truck toy and fill it “dirt-colored frosting” cupcakes with the chocolate rocks on each one and have a cupcake holding your candle in the middle–and the rest of the cupcakes around/behind it.

As for the extra chocolate rocks I saved—I used those as party favor gifts for everyone. I just put some in a Sandwich-type bag, hole-punched some paper with a thank-you message and tied it on with ribbon that I got in the dollar bins. For the little kids, I gave them each a truck filled with chocolate rocks .

And that’s the easy way to make a dump truck cake. I hope your child enjoys it as much as my son and our family did–the chocolate rocks were a big hit with everyone! And what’s nice about this one is–they still have truck toys to play with from the cake when the party’s over.

How to Freeze Green Beans

One of the things in season right now, or soon to be for your area, are green beans. I had a plethora of them in my garden this week so I thought I’d take some and freeze them for when prices on green beans go up.

Freezing green beans is fairly easy. You need to cook them in a process called “blanching” and then put them in ice cold water afterwards to stop them from cooking more. The times cooking and soaking in the water should be equal. Green beans should take about 3 minutes for each step. (Information according to pickyourown.org)

If you don’t grow your own, several farmer’s markets will sell them, typically in large quantities for a good price. I didn’t grow any last year but bought a bunch at the markets and had farm-fresh tasting green beans during the winter months. While you might be able to get regular frozen vegetables in the store fairly cheap, there’s nothing quite like ones straight from a farm or your garden.

1) The first thing you need to do is wash your green beans and then pick over the green beans and pull out any that are blemished. Some of those you might be able to cut off parts to still keep. Cut the ends off your green beans. Next you cut them in 1″ pieces or you can keep them longer for things such as stir-fry recipes.

2) You’ll need a big pot of water to boil. Be sure you have enough water for the green beans to cook easily. Once it gets to a rolling boil, carefully place the green beans in, put the lid on and bring it back to a boil. Begin the timer for the blanching time as soon as you drop them in. Green beans should take about 3 minutes of blanching time.

3) As soon as the time is up, carefully drain the green beans and then submerge them in a bowl of ice cold water. Let them cool for 3 minutes.

4) Once the time is up, you’ll drain them and put them in Ziploc bags. I usually try to dry them off with a clean towel first, as I’ve found it helps them from clumping together or getting freezer burn.

5) Don’t forget to label your bag. It may seem obvious what’s in there but you want to keep track of the date so you know when to use them by.

This entire process is fairly simple. A lot of times, I blanch vegetables when I’m already in the kitchen getting supper ready and waiting on our dinner to cook.

I hope that you try to take advantage of Seasonal Savings and get some farm/garden fresh green beans in your freezer for when prices go up. It’s a great way to save on your grocery budget–and get some Organic veggies on your table.

Recipes: Jelly Bean Bark, Easter Egg Nests and Silly Cupcakes

Here are a few recipes that I’ve seen recently that I thought were cute ideas:

Scissors & Spatulas – How to Make Jelly Bean Bark

All Things Heart & Home – How to Make Chocolate Cookie Nests with Eggs

Our Best Bites – How to Make Silly Cupcakes, such as Spaghetti w/ Meatballs, Mashed Potatoes, Peas and Carrots, Popcorn and Corn on the Cob. (All sooo cute!)

Just thought I’d share in case you needed a little cute inspiration added to your tables.