Friday, February 29, 2008

Frugal Fridays 2-29-08

One of the things that I encorporated several years ago that saves my family money and calories is I stopped buying processed snack foods. These foods are usually full of unwanted chemicals and filled with fat and sugar. About the only thing that we buy are whole grain granola bars and/or protein bars and I am testing out a recipe for the protein bars this weekend. I will let you know how they turn out.

However, something that I like to make ahead of time and keep in the freezer in small snack size bags are my own brownie bites.

Several times a year boxed brownies and cake mixes are on sale in the local grocer. Combined with coupons you can realistically get a box of brownie mix for pennies on the dollar and yes, sometimes even free!

This is what I do with a humble box of brownie mix. I add applesauce to the mix instead of the oil it calls for and sometimes I also add water instead of the egg. I mix well and then I add crushed nuts, sometimes a few mini chocolate chips, marshmellows, etc. I have several large pans that are the mini muffin pans. I spray them with a cooking spray and then fill them up. I bake according to directions on the box and then take them out to cool on wire racks. Once cool I bag them three or four mini brownie bites to a small snack size bag. I then place these bags inside of a large 2 gallon freezer bag and place in our freezer. When the kids are making their lunches they can grab one of these bags and place it in their lunch sack. It helps keep their lunches cool and the brownie bites defrost in time for lunch. Sometimes they like grabbing them out of the freezer and munching away on their frozen sweetness. They are the perfect size and they satisfy their craving for something sweet and chocolate.

You could also use a cake mix and do the same thing. During the fall I took a spice cake mix and instead of adding the items the box suggested I added a can of pumpkin. Mixed it up, threw in some nuts and made small mini muffins and small loaves of this spicy pumpkin cake mix. The kids loved them.

There are lots of things you can do with an inexpensive box of cake mix besides making cake.

For more frugal friday ideas head over to Biblical Womanhood.


Sarah Corbin said...

This is honestly exactly what I needed today. Thank you so much for this creative and practical recipe! My husband and I are very busy with (his) heavy work load and lots of church responsibilities, yet, we live almost an hour away from church. You guessed it--that means lots of snacking instead of getting "real" meals. I'll be using this one as soon as I get a brownie mix! Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!

mom_of2boys said...

What a great idea. I have a mini muffin pan but have never used it. I'll have to put it to good use. I'm sure not going to spend the crazy amount of money they want for the prepacked ones!

Thanks for sharing!

Cindy Beall said...

That is a GREAT idea!!!! Thank you, Vickie!

Monica said...

I'm with you on the snacks. I have seven who are constantly rummaging for food between meals, it seems:)

Thanks for the brownie idea.

We also use smashed bananas in baking (especially those that are getting a little too soft). With yellow cake mix it tastes just like banana bread. We use the applesauce and pumpkin like you, too. Stopped using icing a few years ago and the kids don't miss it at all. Sometimes we just give it a spoon of whipped cream instead.