Ultimate B’s and G’s (biscuits and gravy)

Ultimate B’s and G’s (biscuits and gravy)

I’ve kind of been on a breakfast kick lately. Good ole’ scrambled eggs and toast are lovely, but sometimes you just need something more. I was trying to think of a super yummy Saturday morning breakfast we could have. We traditionally have the biggest and best breakfast of the week on Saturdays…when the kids are home and we get to sleep in a bit. This is probably why our Saturday morning breakfast is more like brunch. Because we usually have it around 10 or so. And not because we’re trying to be posh brunchie people…because we old parents are pooped and need to sleep in!

biscuit-cups

Anyway, back when I first met Ryan, he was making these breakfast cup things he calls Ultimare B’s and G’s. Back then I remember thinking that these things were so absurd (in a mostly good way). But after 8 years with Ryan, I’ve learned this is just how he is and the kinds of things he creates. His imagination is BIG. And he doesn’t stop at the imagination part…he goes for it! Combine his love of breakfast with his big imagination and these beauties were born. We hope you enjoy them as much as we do!

bs-and-gs

Budget wise these were great too. Ryan’s Uncle gave us a bunch of meat and this ground pork was included. We generally have eggs and shredded cheddar on hand…we’re a cheese lovin bunch. So, we really didn’t purchase anything special for these. If we would’ve needed to purchase the cheese and sausage it would’ve been $5.20 for the brands and sizes we buy. But everything else we generally have on hand. $0.65 a biscuit. You can’t get a fast food B and G that cheap. And this one is way better for you!

bs-and-gs-baked-with-gravy

Ultimate B’s and G’s (biscuits and gravy)
makes 8

Biscuits
2 cups flour
1 TBS baking powder
1 TBS sugar
1 tsp salt
1/3 cup butter, cold grated
1 cup milk
You will also need : scrambled eggs, ground pork sausage, and shredded cheddar
Ryan gets the ground pork and seasons it himself with pink salt, pepper, thyme, rosemary, cayenne, crushed red pepper, and nutmeg. It tastes fresh and you can control how salty you like it. But you can definitely buy your favorite pre-seasoned variety and cook it up.
Pre heat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all dry biscuit ingredients. Then cut in cold butter until reaches smaller than pea size bits. (I should probably mention that Ryan likes to grate up his butter with the big side of the cheese grater and then put it in the freezer for about 5 minutes to get it really cold again.) Then add milk, a little at a time as you may not need all of it, and stir just until blended. Do not stir too much or the biscuits may become tough. Then gently work into a ball. Flour a surface to roll out dough. Roll out dough to 1″ thick and cut biscuits 4″ in diameter. This made 8 biscuits. Spray muffin pan and press biscuits into muffin cups. Leave an excess edge of biscuit around the top of each cup.
Fill biscuit cups with sausage, then eggs, and top with cheese. Bake for 15-20 minutes. While the biscuits are baking, you can prepare the gravy. I love Nancy Smith’s recipe from all recipes
I just cut the recipe in half and add some of the leftover sausage to the gravy. Here’s how I make Nancy’s recipe: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/65104/moms-country-gravy/
Sausage Gravy
1/4 cup of oil
1/4 cup and 2 TBS flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp groud black pepper
2 cups milk
Heat oil over medium heat and then whisk in flour, salt and pepper. Gradually stir in milk, so no lumps form. Once mixed well, add in sausage and heat until warm..
Once biscuits are done, let them cool 5 minutes, then top with gravy and serve. Enjoy!

 

 

Dinner and Breakfast… oh yes, SOS!

Dinner and Breakfast…oh yes, SOS!

I was reminiscing about dinners my Mom made when I was a child… I remembered old trusty, chipped ham on toast (or SOS, as she called it). I’m sure most of you had a version of this basic but tasty dish. I decided to recreate this old classic but I wanted to fancy it up a skosh. I thought it would be really great on some thick toast instead of traditional bread. That was the ticket! I bought a one dollar loaf of italian bread at the bakery, cut it about an inch thick, and toasted it with butter in a skillet.

thick-sliced-bread

The only other thing I had to buy was the ham. My Mom used the really thin Carl Buddig ham, which I loved, but I wanted to find something that was maybe a little better for us. In the whole ham section of my grocery store, they have single thick sliced pieces of really good ham! And they’re only two to three dollars a piece. I know that sounds like quite a bit for one slice of ham, especially when we’re on a budget. But between the bread and ham, I only had to spend a total of four dollars on this meal. I had everything else at home already. And at the portion size we used ( which was half a piece toast per person ), we got about eight to nine servings! It was $0.50 a person! That’s pretty great.

thick-toast-in-pan

Then the next morning… I was driving home from taking the kids to school, wondering what I should have for breakfast, and I bet you can guess what popped in my head. SOS! It’s perfect for breakfast too! And if you were really feeling froggy, you could plop a hot fried egg on top for the ultimate breakfast beast.

sos

sos-close-up-with-fork

So you can have it for dinner, breakfast or both. It’s up to you. I hope you enjoy!

Fancy SOS

1 Italian Bread loaf from the bakery, unseasoned. Slice 1″ thick
1 cup thick sliced ham, cut into chunks
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup flour
2 cups milk
butter
salt and pepper

Pour oil into skillet and heat over medium heat. Once hot, whisk in flour until blended. Then gradually add milk while whisking constantly. Once all blended smoothly, add ham chunks and salt and pepper to taste. I only added about 1/4 tsp of salt as the ham is plenty salty on its own. Let the mixture heat through and stir ocassionally.
Heat another skillet to medium heat, then add a sliver of butter. Once melted, place bread on top and let butter soak in. Do this with the other side of the bread as well. Brown until toasted on both sides.
Then it’s time for assembly. Place toast on a plate and put a nice scoop of gravy on top. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Hello Old Friend

Just a quick note…

Back when I was much younger and getting out on my own, I did probably like most and shopped at Aldi. For the first time in 15 years, I tried it again. And whoa, was I freaking out! They still have some of the old familiar things, like a quarter for a cart, and find a box to put your purchases in. But now they have their own organic brand and the prices are crazy low! People were probably starring as I blurted out about the “low prices” and “organic” but, I was so thrilled! This exciting re-visit is going to be pivitol in our extreme budget organic journey.

Where do I begin…

Where do I begin…
Well, I’m of the belief that there are a ton of families out there just like ours…living on a budget with young children. I truly believe that even on an extreme budget, we can feed our children quality (even fancy) meals. I’m also one of these people who thinks a lot of today’s diseases are linked, in a large part, to the bad things we are putting in our bodies. So, we Mullins’ try to be as organic and non-GMO as possible.

I think there are so many people that just haven’t thought about it. To be honest, I was one of those people. I just didn’t know. Then Ryan showed me an article he came across and I started reading. It made perfect since to me. Our grandparents and their parents didn’t have the massive variety of processed food we have today. And I really don’t think cancer was as prevelant then. In my research, I was shocked at the ingredients that are allowed into these pre-packaged foods and their known side effects. It really was a slap in the face for me. I’m really not sure how this is allowed. Many of these known carcinogenic ingredients are banned in other countries. So, I started looking at labels…and threw out most of the items in my cabinets. I can remember going to the store with my long list of “bad ingredients to look for” and how long it took me to shop as I went through reading all the labels. Whoa, that was heavy. Fast forward to today. It is catching and there are more and more organic/ non-GMO foods at the store all the time!

Since there are so many families like ours…I want to show you what IS possible. You don’t have to buy that processed stuff. And yes, actually cooking does take some time but it is time you can involve your kids. My kids love helping in the kitchen now. And I’ll tell you a little secret…if they help cook it, they are more interested in eating it. We all have experienced the picky eater.

Ok, now when I say extreme budget, I’m talking about $135.00/week for a family of 5. I’m sure your saying there’s no way you can feed a family of 5 an organic/ non-GMO menu for a week. Well first, contrary to popular belief, organic doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. It just takes a bit of planning and searching. And I would love to say that we are completely extreme and don’t eat anything else but the good stuff but, sometimes we just have to search for foods that don’t have the really really bad stuff in them. We’re just trying to do the best with what we’ve got. Second, this budget is new for us as of this month (September 2016). So, we’ll all see together if we can do this. Luckily for my oldest two kids, they are in a great Elementary school that offers a lot of locally grown fruits and veggies and they also cook most everything in house.

So our main focus is going to start with dinners and then we’ll add in breakfasts for those school going growing minds. I’m going to plan on 5 meals a week, which includes our Saturday evening campfire cookouts. We will have leftovers one night and the last night Grandma usually cooks us something yummy for us. Let’s see what we can do. It’ll be an adventure but I believe we can do it.

Here’s a link to one list I’ve used for toxic food ingredients to look out for. http://mphprogramslist.com/50-jawdroppingly-toxic-food-additives-to-avoid/

Honey Mustard on that Chicken!

Honey Mustard on that Chicken!

Let me start off by saying that Ryan is, truly, the master of chicken on the grill. He has the magic grilling hands… or something, because it’s always so juicy and tender. Grilling just isn’t my thing. I know this because the night before last I tried to grill hamburgers. Who can mess that up, right? Yep, they were bad. And it made me sad, so sad. So, Ryan took the reins and voila…the magic happened.
These puppies have like 8 ingredients, if you count the seasonings and oil…which I do. It amazes me how simplicity can be so stunning. All three of my kids scarfed them down! That’s when you KNOW the meal is GOOD. I, myself couldn’t stop making the nearly inappropriate foodgasam sounds.

 

honey-mustard-flatbread-wrap-unrolled

 

Ryan insists on using lump wood charcoal, which can be a little bit hard to find sometimes. He stacks it up in a crecent moon shape in the grill, rather than covering the entire bottom. This leaves about half the grill without any charcoal. He starts off placing the chicken on the charcoal side, just long enough to sear both sides. Then he moves them to the other side to finish them off.  This grilled chicken is what makes the dish… there’s just something about how the smoky flavor meshes with the other ingredients.

 

honey-mustard-chicken-flatbread-wrap

 

Honey Mustard Grilled Chicken Flatbread Wraps

4 chicken breasts
olive oil
roasted garlic and herb seasoning
4 TBS honey mustard dressing
multi grain flatbread wraps
baby romaine
crumbled feta
mayo

Lightly tenderize the chicken breasts. Wash and place in a bowl. Toss in a dash of olive oil and garlic and herb seasoning until coated. Then add the honey mustard and toss again.
Grill over glowing coals at around 300-350 degrees, until juices run out clear from the thickest portion when pierced with a fork.
Slice chicken and set aside.
Prepare wraps by spreading a small amount of mayo on the flatbread. Add romaine, crumbled feta, chicken, and honey mustard dressing. Roll up and slice in half. Beautiful and delicious!

Oh, the sweet sweet cider!

September 27, 2016
Oh, the sweet sweet cider
Today I made homemade apple cider from some of the apples we picked at the orchard a couple days ago. I would love to say that it was my first time ever and that it went perfectly, but this is not the case. This second go around was much better.
Yesterday, I tried to make it on the stove top and simmer the apples for a few hours. I really wanted to try making it the ‘sort of old-fashioned way’. I think I simmered them too high. The flavor was good, but it turned out syrupy and I had like a cup of cider after all the straining. And lets not even talk about the mess.
Enter awesome technology… I took my genius husband’s advice and juiced those babies. I also simmered the mixture at a much lower temp and hooray! We have apple cider!
It does take some time to complete, but for something you only make a few times a year…it is well worth it. I loved it warm. Loved, loved, loved. I thought there was no way I would like it as much chilled. It is a serious toss up. That’s what’s great about it, you can have it either way.

apple-collage

apple-basket-with-cider-in-cup

apple-cider-in-jar

HOMEMADE APPLE CIDER

12 apples juiced = 35 oz of juice
3/4 cup of sugar
1 TBS cinnamon
1 TBS allspice
a pinch of cloves
1/2 tsp vanilla

Put all ingredients in a pot, plus an equal amount of water to the juice you produced (I added 35 oz of water to mine). Bring to a low simmer on medium low and put lid on. Cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour. I strained two times through a fine mesh strainer into my jars. This made 64 oz of cider. I strained off 1 1/2 cup of apple pulp. It was sooo delicious… I hope you enjoy it too!

Lots and lots of Apples!

September 25, 2016
Lots and lots of apples!
Today we took our annual harvest time trip to our local apple orchard. They were $0.80/ lb! So we’re going to be making many apple dishes. We will even dabble in apple cider, yum!
Last year we went too late and all the apples were gone, so I’m glad we made it in time this year. We were able to nab a golf cart AFTER we were done picking apples, but it’s Gunnar’s favorite part so it was a must. I’m pretty sure that poor golf cart wasn’t meant to hold all 6 of us. I was a little scared especially with Ryan driving…but we survived and it was fun.

apple-picking-collage