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Holly’s Challah Bread – Easier then you can imagine!


I’ve been making this Bread as a tradition in our family since 2004. Yes! 10 years! I’m feeling old typing that. It was shortly after I got “my” bread machine. This recipe came from my bread machine cookbook and I have adjusted it so it works for me. I’m happy to share this with everyone! This is the best bread!

I like to make a large loaf as you can see from the picture above.

2 Eggs, room temperature plus enough Water 80 degrees to equal 1 1/2 cups
Oil 1/4 cup (I’ve used all types of vegetable oil and it all works great.)
Sugar 2 TBL
Salt 2 tsp
Bread Flour or All purpose Flour 4 1/2 cups
Active Dry Yeast 2 tsp
Bread Machine Yeast 1 1/4 tsp
(Note: A package of yeast is about 2 1/4 tsp. You can use all of the package too for convince.)

  • When I’m about to make this bread I will take my ingredients out about an hour or so before I start. That way everything is at room temperature. I freeze my yeast and “wake” it up by leaving it on the counter.  This works for me and my family since my little ones are always around I have to do something with them so I like to get it out and then do something else before we get started on the bread.

The best part is you can make this with all-purpose flour. Bread flour has more protein so it can create more gluten but per a lot of cooks and bakers all-purpose flour is just as good. I prefer unbleached.

  • Start with the wet ingredients. Most bread machines suggest wet and then dry. Some say the opposite. After making this with 2 different bread machines I’m convinced it is best to do wet and then dry.
  • Then add the dry ingredients just as listed above. Create a “well” for the yeast and place it in the “well”.
  • Follow your bread machine instructions for program DOUGH or White bread manual. You don’t want to bake this in the machine, because it is too large. Press START and walk away….

After it is done which can take about 2 to 3 hours depending on the machine. I’ve found it is ok if you forget about it. This happens in my household. So if it rises again in the machine that is ok! It will be better bread!

When you come back to it then do the following:

  • Place on a lightly floured surface. Divide into fourths. Use a pastry cutter with some flour dusted on it.  I prefer this style of braid but you can divide in as many braids as you want.  Then roll out the braid strands and braid it as usual then tuck the end under.
  •  Place the bread on a cookie sheet, and place a clean kitchen cloth  on top and place it in a warm location in the kitchen so it will rise a second time.  The bread should be double in size.  You can heat up your oven and then turn the oven off so that the warm oven can speed up the process.

Egg Wash
1 Egg
1 tsp water

  • After it has risen the second time, brush on the Egg Wash.
  • Place in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes until the crust is a light brown and glossy.

I like to let it rest after I take it out of the oven so that moisture can escape before storing it.  If you need to do that.   Or if you are making this for Thanksgiving just cut into it after a minute and you will have the best bread.  I promise it will be gone!   If not, it will make great turkey sandwiches.

This year I will take pictures of the step by step process I do.

Enjoy!  – Holly

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How we are dealing with Mosquitoes this year!


Homemade Mosquito Repellent

Thanks to a friend last year introduced me to this awesome recipe for a Homemade Mosquito Repellent.   I can spray this on my clothes or on my skin and I won’t be bit.    It is amazing stuff.


  • 15 drops lavender oil
  • 3 Tbsp of vanilla extract
  • 10 drops of citronella oil or lemon-eucalyptus oil
  • 1/4 Cup lemon juice
  • Spray bottle


Combine above ingredients in spray bottle. Fill remainder of bottle with water, water/vodka or water/witch hazel mixture.

I used water and vodka and it worked great.   I purchased this Essential set from Amazon it is perfect for this application.

If you would prefer to purchase a good insect repellent I strongly suggest this AVON skin so Soft with picaridin   This has worked very well for me.

Prepare your yard

Fairfax County has information about mosquitoes and how to prevent them in your yard.

I suggest installing bat houses around the yard.  Bats eat a lot of mosquitoes each night.    We have 2 but our bats haven’t used them 100% of the time so we will be adding more this year.

We use a handful of Tiki Torches in the yard and use a citronella oil  that we find does help get the mosquitoes confused and we get less bites.


Teaching kids how to prevent mosquitoes.  Fairfax County has created the Fight the Bite campaign

If you get bitten

If you have a lot of bites and get a strong reaction talk to your doctor about taking Benadryl or other anti-histime.  It will help decrease the reaction immediately.   In addition, if the bites are very swollen they may not be mosquito but chiggers and they too are painful.   Talk to your doctor if you don’t know what the bites are.   I’ve had to do this myself.   You may need a strong cortizone cream.

Don’t scratch!  This is so much easier said then done.  To prevent scratching I strongly suggest using a Lidocaine cream or antithetic so that it will be numb.  There are so many on the market.   I’ve used lidocaine for waxing, and even tooth gel works great.

Per my dermatologist I have to put bandages on them.  It is essential to prevent yourself from scratching and I do scratch even when I don’t realize it.  Oops!   I like the Dollar Tree bandages the best since they are a little less sticky so they will stay as long as I want and then come off when I need them too.

I hope this helps you!   Have a great summer!

Thank for supporting Redberrydeals!  Some of the links are Amazon affiliate links.


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How to make yummy cupcakes?


I’m a huge fan of Georgetown Cupcakes.  My sister-in-law introduced them to me a couple years ago and whenever there is a special occasion I ask her or others for at least one.

This evening we spent some time over at a friend’s house and I offered to bring over some desert so I tried at my stab at a yummy cupcake and icing.

I found this really good Allergy Free cake recipe – no dairy, and no nuts – called Wacky Cakes

Allergy-Free Dessert Recipe: Kathy P’s Wacky Cake
Recipe Information
Category: Cakes
Recipe Created By: Kathy Przywara
1 1/2 cup flour (see below for gluten-free options)
3 Tbsp cocoa powder (optional)
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp vinegar
5 Tbsp oil
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup water
Preheat oven to 350F.

Combine dry ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix thoroughly.

Mix wet ingredients in a separate bowl and stir to combine.

Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix until you get a smooth batter. Do not beat.

Pour into greased and floured pan (8″ square or 9″ round) or 12 cupcakes. Bake in oven until tests done – about 35 minutes for cake, about 20 minutes for cupcakes.

I made it with cocoa and they turned out so moist.  I used Cake Flour not all-purpose flour and I think that helps a lot.  I even used the Kitchen Aid mixer and poured all of the ingredients in the bowl to make it super easy and fast.  The batter is watery so I poured it from the mixer into a measuring glass and it was so easy to pour into the cups.   My toddler even helped and had a great time learning about how the mixer worked.  I baked them for 20 minutes.  When they came out they were a little crumbly when I inserted the toothpick which meant that they would be moist.

Then I created the icing.  This wasn’t allergy free by any means but it was close to Georgetown Cupcake’s Red Velvet cream cheese frosting thanks to Delleicious DC for the information. The icing recipe comes from Martha Stewart.  You can find the recipe HERE.

Cream Cheese Frosting


  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 6 ounces cream cheese, room temperature


  1. Place all ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; beat until well combined.

I highly recommend following the recipe to the letter – sift the sugar and make sure the ingredients are at room temperature.  I used the Kitchen Aid mixer for this too.  I love my mixer!

After the cupcakes were cool I then iced them by putting it in a plastic ziplock bag creating a hole at the corner and pumping the icing on top.

They turned out great. They weren’t too rich and not too sweet.  Yummy!

Sorry I didn’t take a picture but next time and I’m sure there will be a next time I will take a picture.

What type of cupcakes do you like?

Update:  12/22/2013 –  Here is an updated picture of the Wacky Cupcake.  I made these for my boy’s preschool Christamas party.  They were so yummy and perfect to take to school.  I didn’t even put icing on them.

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Easy Chocolate No Bake or Boil Cookies

When I was growing up a tradition that my Dad and I would do is make these yummy No Bake Boil Cookies.

They take minutes to make and are so yummy and even a bit healthy since they have oatmeal in them.

Makes 3 Dozen cookies

2 Cups Sugar

1/2 cup Cocoa

1 Stick Butter

1/2 cup Milk

1/2 tsp Vanilla

1/2 cup Peanut Butter (optional)

3 cups dry uncooked oatmeal

Boil sugar, Cocoa, Butter, Milk and Vanilla for 2 to 4 minutes.  Take off burner.  Add Oatmeal and stir.   Then drop 1 Tablespoon on wax paper.  Let dry.

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The best Cinnamon Buns in the world!

Have I mentioned how much I love my breadmaker?  Have I mentioned that I have 2 breadmakers?   Ok, the truth is my husband has one and I have one.  I received mine as a Christmas gift almost 10 years ago and use it often.    My hubby would talk all of the time about how he grew up with a bread machine but the bread would come out differently then mine did in my machine.  He was also frustrated with my bread machine because it requires the wet ingredients to go in first and then dry on top.  While the version he grew up with had the opposite:  dry and then wet.  So each time he tried to make bread in my machine it never turned out.  After mentioning this to his Mom, she found at a yard sale the same model he grew up with.   He now can make the same bread he grew up with.  I can’t complain.  Oh, it is so yummy!   Besides we can make 2 loafs at the same time!

I find that making home-made bread is so much fun and healthier than store bought bread.  I’ve made all sorts of breads including whole wheat, egg, Italian, herb, white, Chatuah and now my favorite Cinnamon buns!  Most of my recipes are very easy.  I mean 10 minutes at the most.  I have to watch my kids so I try and do all of my recipes super fast.  Majority of the time Doodle helps she loves putting the ingredients in the machine.

Thanks to MoneysavingMom for sharing this awesome recipe.   When she shared this recipe back in 2010 I was in love.  I’ve made it several times since then usually on special occasions.   It does take a bit more time then just throwing the ingredients in and walking away.  You have to do the dough setting on the bread-maker which does take a couple hours and then roll out, sprinkle the filling in, roll it up and put it in baking pans.  I find doing this the day ahead makes a great roll.  I put them right in the fridge and then the next morning take them out of the fridge to come to room temp before putting them in the oven.

I made a couple changes.   I used 2 eggs with a little bit of water instead of 1 egg and egg whites.  I just hate wasting yolks or storing them if I don’t have to.

I used 2 Tablespoons butter with 1 cup of brown sugar and 2 tablespoons of cinnamon.  I don’t think I need 4 tablespoons of butter to double the filling.  🙂  Makes me feel a little bit better.

Honestly, I don’t make that much icing and for this picture I didn’t even add the butter.  I find a little bit of icing is all that is needed.   But the butter sure is good too!

Yummy!  Enjoy!

Bread Machine Cinnamon Rolls

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons warm milk  ($.15)
3 tablespoons canola oil ($.03)
2 eggs + 1 tablespoons water ($.17)
1/2 cup sugar ($.08)
4 cups flour (Add a bit more if dough seems too wet after first few minutes of kneading in the bread machine.)  ($.40)
1 teaspoon salt ($.01)
3 teaspoons bread machine yeast ($.02) (I get my yeast from Sam’s Club 2 large packages for about $4)

2 tablespoons butter  ($.18)
1 cup brown sugar mixed with 2 tablespoons cinnamon  ($.30)

1 teaspoon milk  ($.01)
1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar  ($.30)
4 tablespoons (or less) butter, softened ($.36)
1 teaspoon vanilla ($.05)

Put the dough ingredients in the bread machine in the order listed and run on the dough cycle. After the dough cycle is finished, roll the dough into a large rectangle and spread it with 2 Tablespoons melted butter and 1 cup brown sugar mixed with 2 Tablespoons cinnamon.

Roll up and cut into 10-15 rolls and place in two greased round cake pans. Bake at 325 degrees for 20 minutes or until browned. Spread the icing on as soon as they come out of the oven.

You can also cover the unbaked rolls with plastic wrap, stick them in the refrigerator overnight, and then bake in the morning.

I estimate that the cost to make this is about $2.06 for 2 pans of 16 rolls!   I doubt I will buy Cinnamon rolls at the store ever again.

What do you think?

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Starbucks Pumpkin Scones Recipe – Yummy!

It is that time of year again! This weekend we made our favorite Pumpkin Scones.

All I can say is Wow!  These are truly the best scones I’ve ever made and eaten.

Two years ago I was introduced to the amazing Pumpkin Scone at Starbucks but at $1.95 a piece, it’s not the frugal way to go.

I found this recipe on MomsWhoThink online and made it.  A couple changes that I made include using pumpkin pie filling instead of regular pumpkin (hard to find regular pumpkin at some stores) and I also used heavy cream instead of half and half.   They came out so well I tried the recipe yesterday a couple more times, I used the self-rising flour and only used a 1/2 tablespoon of baking powder and omitted the salt.  I then did another batch with cooking margarine and my hubby preferred those.  I recommend cream for the icing because milk seems to make it too “watery”.

Starbucks Pumpkin Scones Recipe

These pumpkin scones are so moist and flavorful you’ll be wanting to make them all year round. They taste just like the ones you get from Starbucks. Make them on a fall morning and they’re the perfect fit with hot tea or coffee. Save yourself the hassle of waiting in line for your breakfast and shelling out big bucks for the same wonderful scone you can easily make at home.

Scones Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour
7 Tablespoons sugar
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
6 Tablespoons cold butter
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
3 Tablespoons half-and-half
1 large egg

Sugar Glaze Ingredients:

1 cup powdered sugar
1 Tablespoon powdered sugar
2 Tablespoons whole milk

Spiced Glaze Ingredients:

1 cup powdered sugar
3 Tablespoons powdered sugar
2 Tablespoons whole milk
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 pinch ginger
1 pinch ground cloves

Scones Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

2.  Lightly grease a cookie sheet or line with parchment paper.

3.  Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and spices in a large mixing bowl.

4.  With a fork, pastry knife, or food processor, cut butter into the dry ingredients until mixture is crumbly and no chunks of butter remain. Set aside.

5.  In a separate mixing bowl, whisk pumpkin, half and half, and egg.

6.  Fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients. Form the dough into a ball.

7.  Pat out dough onto a lightly floured surface and form it into a 1-inch thick rectangle (about 9 inches long and 3 inches wide).

8.  Use a large knife to slice the dough into three equal portions. Cut diagonally to produce 6 triangular slices of dough.

9.  Place on prepared baking sheet from step 2.

10.  Bake for 10–16 minutes until scones turn light brown.

11.  Place on wire rack to cool.

Sugar Glaze directions:

1.  Mix the powdered sugar and 2 Tablespoon milk together until smooth.

2.  Brush glaze over the top of each cooled scone.

Spiced Glaze Directions:

1.  As sugar glaze firms, combine the spiced icing ingredients.

2.  Use whisk to drizzle over each scone and allow to dry before serving.

Makes 6 pumpkin scones.

My guess this cost me about $2 a batch to make, if that.

What do you think?  Any suggestions for other recipes to try?

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Recipe: Homemade Key Lime Pie with Meringue Topping

I love Key Lime Pie! So this week I decided to make one.  Doesn’t this look so good?  I think this is the best Key Lime Pie I have ever had.  I took a couple recipes and tweaked them to make my own.

I purchased everything at Aldi for $4.59!



  • 3 fresh large egg yolks $0.22 (Dozen eggs currently $.89)
  • 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk  $1.19
  • 1 teaspoon grated lime zest
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice $1.99 (Approx. 8 limes)
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 prepared 9-inch graham cracker crust $1.19


  • 3 fresh egg whites (from above)
  • 6 tablespoons sugar $0.05 (already had)
  • 1/4 teaspoon Cream of Tartar (already had)  or 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon Vanilla (already had)

Set the oven to 325 degrees.  For filling, in a medium bowl wisk the egg yolks and then slowly add the sweetened condensed milk, the 1 teaspoon lime zest, lime juice and water.  The filling will thicken as it stands.   Pour the filling into the graham cracker crust.  Bake the pie for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl beat the egg whites, cream of tartar and vanilla in a mixer until soft peaks form.  This takes about 1-2 minutes.   Then slowly add sugar while beating the mixture on high.  Continue to beat until the sugar dissolves.   Continue to beat until the peaks turn stiff and glossy white.  This might take a couple minutes.

After the pie is done in the oven take it out and turn the oven up to 350 degree and spoon the meringue over the hot pie filling.   Make sure the meringue is covered all over and sealed to the sides of the crust in order to prevent shrinkage.   Then put the pie back in the oven for 15 minutes.

After 15 minutes, the pie will have a brown crust on top.   Take it out and put it on a cooling rack to cool.  Then after 10 minutes put it in the refrigerator or freezer to chill for 4 or more hours.  I found overnight is best!  This is a perfect desert to make ahead of time.

Then Enjoy!

Source: Better Homes and Gardens and Food Network
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My Breakfast Oatmeal Raisins Cookie Recipe

This was an experiment recipe that I created a couple weeks ago.  Yum!  They worked out really well.    The kids love these and so does my husband.

I wanted to make a no butter, low sugar and moist oatmeal cookie recipe.  I did just that.  The best part is it is they aren’t too “sweet” and they have so many good qualities: oatmeal, dried fruit and whole wheat flour.  The secret is soaking the raisins in water ahead of time.   The raisins are super plump and moist.  These came out to be super moist and stay that way for days.  Of course the cookies don’t last long because they are gone.

1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1-2 tsp cinnamon to taste  and 1/4 all spice or nutmeg or whatever spice you like to taste
1/2 c brown sugar
1 1/2 c oats
2/3 c canola oil
1 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup raisins or dried fruit of your choice soaked in water just above the fruit


  1. Put the raisins in a measuring cup and add water so it is just above the fruit.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Stir together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, spices, brown sugar, and oats.
  4. Make a well in the center and add canola oil, egg, vanilla and raisins with raisin water.
  5. Mix together with a spatula. Form the dough into balls with your hands and place on cookie sheet slightly flattening them out
  6. Bake 12-15 minutes or when they are firm

My inspiration came from each of these posts. Thanks to Foodielovescompany and Journeytocrunchville

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Alton Brown’s Mooless (Tofu) Chocolate Pie – Yummy!

Doesn’t this look good?!   I am in love with my husband!  He made this delicious chocolate pie for me.  Can you believe that it is made out of tofu!?  It is the best pie I’ve ever had.  I’m serious.

I will admit this is an indulgence for the price.  I’m sure you can get this cheaper finding deals on ingredients.  The Godiva liqueur was a gift that we have been holding on to.  This was a perfect treat to enjoy it.   I suggest looking for a cheaper liqueur or even adding espresso.  There are so many options you can do to make it so yummy!

The official recipe is HERE thanks to FoodNetwork.

My Ingredients

  • 13 ounces semisweet chocolate chips   $1
  • 1/3 cup Godiva Chocolate liqueur (Yummy!)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 pound silken tofu, drained $2.50 (Found this in the produce section at Giant on sale last week.)
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 (9-inch) prepared chocolate wafer crust  $2

Total Cost for us:  $5.50 

I’m so impressed for 426 Calories (yikes!) you get 7 grams of protein, 8.8 g monounsaturated fat, 3 g fiber, and very little cholesterol.  Can’t say that about regular chocolate cake or my daily ice cream splurge.  I think this is a keeper!

Here are some of the healthy and not so healthy facts.  Thanks to the Recipe Calculator.

Continue reading Alton Brown’s Mooless (Tofu) Chocolate Pie – Yummy!

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My next adventure Homemade Bagels

Like I said in my previous post a couple weeks ago, life in my household has been a bit crazy.  More about that in future posts.   However, it is time to start getting back on the blogging and savings wagon.  Since this last month was crazy we are getting low on our stockpile so it is time to catch up on coupons and deals.

Frugally Blonde

I was looking at Liz’s post on FrugallyBlonde about how to make  Homemade Bagels.  What a great idea!  I can’t wait to try this recipe.  Lately I have had a craving for bagels and cream cheese.   Sounds good right now!

What other recipes have you tried recently?