Posts Tagged With: repurposing

Kids Getting to Much Easter Candy? How to use it up.

Easter bunny candy

Easter bunny candy photo credit to

      One of my Pet Peeves in this life is people giving my children candy all the time. I even dislike getting candy from stores,banks and even Grandma. I know this makes me the “MEAN” mom… The one who says no to a lot of free junk food, but I feel it is my job to watch out for my family and their teeth. I come from a family with genetically soft teeth. We don’t get cancer or strokes, we just suffer from cavities on huge scale. Even with proper dental care my siblings and children just have more overall oral health problems then most. 

    When Easter rolls around I cringe at the thought of all those chocolate bunnies, jelly beans, and Peeps. I have over the years tossed out thousands of dollars of candy given to my two sons as gifts. This year was unusually bad when it came to chocolate.  My younger son received around 3 pounds of chocolate in the form of bunnies, crosses and M&Ms. This does not include the Ring Pops,Gummy Bears, the malted eggs or Peeps found in his baskets. People, theirs a limit to how much candy a four-year old should eat.

    So after receiving  all that chocolate, I just started freezing it. I knew that at some point it could be used later. This Mothers Day seemed like a good time use up some of my hidden stash. Christopher and I made chocolate chunk cookies for the holiday and with the help of 6 adults and 2 kids we all enjoyed the chocolate.

                                                           I have named these cookies  “Easter Chunk Cookies”.

cooling Easter Chunk Cookies

cooling Easter Chunk Cookies


My recipe comes from the “Better Homes and Gardens” New Cook Book of 1981 and 1992 publication, page# 128. Gather all the ingredients and begin to warm the chocolate if frozen.

everything except chocolet

everything except chocolate


 I have to admit that I make cookies all in one bowl just like my mother, so my photos of the process may appear backward to what is the “Correct” way to add ingredients to the mix. Mom,I make them just the way that you taught me.

creamed sugar butter and adding eggs

creamed sugar butter and adding eggs


    Frist into the bowl is butter and shortening at room temp, then the white and brown sugar. Cream together until light and fluffy. I then add eggs and vanilla and salt cream them into butter mixture. I then add 1 cup of flour and mix, then baking soda  and then the rest of flour and mix well . Then I add the chocolate, nuts and candy.

chopping up chocolet

chopping up chocolate

chopped up Easter candy and mini M&Ms

As you can see above the chocolate Crosses are thin and even with three they only produced about a cup of chunks. So, I added more left over candy, in this case mini M&Ms from Christmas.  The two together made about a 1  1/2 cups of chocolate and then added a cup of chopped nuts to the batter. 

everything combined and ready to drop on cookie sheet

everything combined and ready to drop on cookie sheet

I dropped a tablespoon of mixture on a cookie sheet and baked them at 375, for about 10 minutes about 2 inches apart. The dough is soft and chewy in the middle but crispy and lightly brown on the bottom. We ended up with about 2 1/2 dozen cookies and I spent nothing for any of the chocolate and that saved me about 4 dollars on one batch.

I still have about 1 and 1/2 pounds of left over chocolate in the freezer and a huge bag of jellybeans. So more ideas to  come.

Here is the ingredients  for my “Easter Chunk Cookies”.

2 1/2 cups  all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup Crisco shortening

1  cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 eggs

1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/2 cups chocolate chunks and or colored mini M&Ms

1 cup chopped nuts.

I hope that the next Easter candy recipe that I post is for Jelly Beans and what to do with 2 pounds of them. Maybe by July, I will have used most of them up and shared them a  company picnic or some other large group gathering.

Categories: candy, Chocolate, Easter, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Everything that is Old is New Again

this is where we started about a year and a half ago

this is where we started about a year and a half ago

   It seems normal to homesteaders and farm families to look at something and see the future, the potential of an object or location. I am not sure if this is a blessing or a cures but it is part of who I am. My mother was not overly thrifty,but she was careful with what money she had. My father passed away young and left her with 4 children to raise on her own. I am the youngest and was the one who watched what could be done if you were wise with money and as a teen bought many of my clothes at clearance sales.When I got older and realised how expensive things really are I started shopping at thrift stores and second-hand stores.Never realising this was a life style choice that would stay with me through out  my life.                   

with help we were able to repair the back porch that was 4" off level from front to back

with help we were able to repair the back porch that was 4″ off level from front to back

Tom spent most of last year working on this old house the porch/ sunroom was the worst of the repairs that need to be done

Tom spent most of last year working on this old house the porch/ sun-room.

   Tom grew up on a farm with a large family of 9 children living on one income, at times they struggled to make ends meat. He was tought early on that you repair everything you can to save money. His father was able to teach him to repair cars and motorcycles and he learned to work on houses in vo-tech school. The importance of these skills was never wasted on Tom. He knew how much money his father was able to save when he was able to fix the families truck or tractor.

  Because of these childhood experiences we generally see life the same way. We just naturally are thrifty people and “new” is not a requirement for our families happiness. The house that we live in is only one of the many things that Tom and I have redone. I seems that we see recycling ,upcycling as a daily part of life. That it is a necessity if you want to beat down rising prices and the 100% mark up that you find on retail products. It is a simple and fun way for us to afford our hobbies and keep me at home with our son. It allows us extra money in our pockets,because we don’t buy new items and at times produce money from salvaging items for recycling.I am unwilling to let trend and a copy cat life style dictate to me what is beautiful or useful. I find that I am most happy when I am finding a hidden treasure at a yard sale or Auction. We purchase about half of our families clothing at thrift stores and all of my home electronics through E-bay at about 1/2 the cost of retail. 

  Over the past year I have been wanting a couple of new things for the house. Frist I really needed a new computer desk and I unwilling to buy anymore pressed wood furniture for my house…I am not 21 looking for something quick and cheap anymore. I want lasting power and great looks and I am willing to spend time and energy to get what I want at the price that I think it is worth.

   This week I decided to spend under 250 dollars for a “new to me ” wood desk.I knew that the desk needed to measure under 45 inches long to fit on the dinning room wall. My frist  thought was to look at a local used and antique furniture stores in our area. Rochells’ ( a used/ antique furniture store) takes up a city block and three floors. The store has anything and everything that you can by at an auction without the hassle of waiting all night for the good stuff. So after 4 rooms and a trip upstairs in the 1940 building we found it  my ” NEW” desk.

late 1960s cherry wood desk with damages top

late 1960s cherry wood desk with damage to the top

   The desk top is cherry with  two sold dove tailed drawers with wooded pulls. The legs appear dark walnut, giving the desk a two-tone effect. The top is water damaged and has a large scratch on the upper right side.Tom and I talked over the desk and Tom will be able to re-finish the top no problem. With the price of the desk, sand paper and varnish, I have an antique desk made of sold cherry and walnut for less the 125.00 dollars. Yes, it will take Tom about 6 hours to remove the old varnish and replace it but it is time well spent for a desk that we all love. Then to my surprise Tom saw something at the store and said that he really liked.  He wanted a set of tables that he had seen while we were shopping.  The tables tops are mixed wood and laminate. They are in great condition and some how I stayed on budget and still bought three tables and desk.

this is the used coffee table set that we picked up too

this is the used coffee table set that we picked up too

  The furniture we bought is not the latest style, but very functional and nice looking.They will serve us well in the years to come and if my 4-year-old damages the top of this coffee table it is less of a heart-break then if we bought new. I also realise that this is just our life style and not everyone will agree with me. We are ” Old School” and still believe that repair of something valuable is always the first step, then replacement. If you have a car you try to fix it first, then if that is not a reasonable option, then you buy new. This concept has served us so well that I saved thousands of dollars each year just by looking for a deal. It is my way of feeling like I have beat the system and won. 

 The other great thing about living this way is donating what it is we are replacing. Toms mom with receive the old coffee table and end tables when we get their tops finished. Thiers no fixing the desk and it will not see another home. I often donate our families cast-offs to a local homeless shelter or church. It makes more sense  to our family to give away what we have then to sell it. We feel blessed to own things like the desk and should pass that blessing on.  

  I find that repurposing, recycling,and being green all have their place in our lives.Tom and I have just taken the idea a little farther, and shaped our future being less and less dependent on the retail market. Less Wal-Mart prefabricated junk and more refinishing of family treasures. I think we just see the beauty in “Everything that is Old is New Again”.


Categories: furniture, recycling | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

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