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Baking Day – Part 3

Your "participation" through comments and emails is making this Baking Day so much more fun! Thanks for joining me! I just finished up making the banana muffins, boiling the pot of beans, cooking the brown rice, and freezing the bananas.

While I had banana bread on the list, I opted for banana muffins at the last minute. Guess it was due to a mood change? 🙂 At any rate, I'm really happy with how the muffins turned out. I used a whole wheat banana bread mix some friends had made up for us along with the organic bananas I bought marked down yesterday.


I substituted applesauce for oil to cut down on the fat and they turned out beautifully. Plus, they don't have any sugar in them–the mashed bananas serve as the sweetener. These will make for a perfect afternoon snack or quick breakfast.


I boiled the pot of beans and cooked the brown rice while I was working on these. Both of these need a bit more cooking time and then they'll be done. Once cooled, I'll portion them into bags and stick them in the freezer for easy lunch or dinner additions.

Next, it was time to freeze the bananas. Any time I can get a great deal on bananas, I buy as many as I can afford in our grocery budget and then we eat what we can and freeze the rest. Chopped frozen bananas are wonderful added into fruit smoothies or you can freeze the bananas whole and thaw later for use in baking.


I'm planning to use these bananas in smoothies, so I chopped them and put them on cookie sheet and stuck them in the freezer. As soon as they are frozen, I'll transfer them to a bag to use as needed.

Now I'm off to make pancakes, bran muffins, and hopefully cook up some meat.

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  • Kerri says:

    You are doing great!!!!

  • Hannah says:

    My toddler loves smoothies! I like to mix one frozen banana, a tsp or so of unsweetened cocoa, a squirt of honey, tsp of flax and a splash of milk altogether in a blender. We call it a “chocolate milkshake” and he LOVES it!

  • Alaina says:

    I would love to have the recipe for the banana muffins! They look and sound great!

  • Amber says:

    We always keep cooked crumbled ground beef in the freezer and it has been a lifesaver many times. We usually do ten pounds at a time, and I can’t tell you how many times it has prevented us from going to grab last minute fast food.

  • Crystal,
    I never use oil anymore when I am baking. I always use applesauce. I find it makes the texture better and whatever it is I am baking becomes so wonderfully moist. I am enjoying keeping up with your busy baking day! I am having a huge baking day myself on Saturday. I am getting mentally geared up now checking in on your progress!

  • MAber says:

    Your a wonderful mom and a friend to people you haven’t met yet!!! Can you please post the recipes for banana muffins and beans and rice ? Blessings Amber

  • Lorrie says:

    I enjoy having a full day of baking like this. The only thing I don’t like is the clean up afterwards. I am so thankful that I now have a dishwasher. I went a couple of years without one. Everything looks so good. I have been trying to find a banana bread recipe that does not use sugar.

  • Sarah says:

    I have never thought about freezing bananas. Do they turn brown when frozen? Do you use them for baking/smoothies only after freezzing them? BTW, I love your blog!!

  • I love bulk cooking too. Its one of the simplest ways to take advantage of stockpiling, and to be prepared at all times! It also really saves time. I do mine two ways–first every time I cook, I cook enough for three meals. Meaning, if I’m making chicken with rice, I make enough of it for three dinners. takes about 15 minutes more, but I now have two meals in the freezer for another night when I’m sick or too tired to cook. I also do Big Cook days like you–taking a weekend and three hours each day, and cooking lots of meats. I’ve found I can get four whole chickens in an oven at once, and paella and others on the stove at the same time. I typically can put away 40 meals in 9 hours over three days. It really makes a HUGE difference! My husband and I love to use that ‘dinner cooking’ time to instead spend time talking to each other every night. Its such a blessing to have that time!

  • JC says:

    You freeze rice?!? Would you mind telling a little more that? Does it taste differently after you defrost it? Do you throw it in a sauce/soup while frozen? Thanks!

  • Davonne says:

    I’m putting in my month notice at work today, and since I’ll no longer be working 60 hour weeks, I’ll have time to do this, and I can’t WAIT to try out a baking day with my three year old! I hate coming up with new meals everyday, but I occasionally (usually once or twice a month) get in a huge baking/cooking mood, so I’m going to start taking advantage of those moods since I’ll be at home beginning in December.

    Thanks so much for the posts – this is a fun thing to look forward to! Lily LOVES baking too – especially in her Easy Bake oven 🙂

  • Patty Cerney says:

    Just checking in as the kids are playing together quietly and realized you have accomplished more pregnant in half a day than usually do in 2 days when not pregnant! Thank you for sharing, I am motivated. Since our baby number three will be arriving in December, I have been trying to think ahead to what to have on hand for the 2 “big” kids and grandma while I am in the hospital. This is a great start!

  • Carrie says:

    Thanks for the instructions on freezing bananas. I often feel like I should buy more than a couple bunches when I see them at 39 cents a pound.

    We are making the pumpkin rolls we learned about through your site today. I’ll put a pumpkin in the oven momentarily, and when my preschooler gets home we’ll get mixin’.

  • Amanda says:

    I have a little one with milk and egg allergies so we have been living without many baked goods for a while. But I recently learned an easy egg substitute and this morning made eggless banana muffins!! I never thought I would get so excited about a muffin. They really were soo good!

  • I have loved following this little series you’ve done! This week was the first week that I printed out your weeks menu plan and tried to follow something similar. I was wondering how you were able to bake muffins so early in the morning with two little ones underfoot. Now I get it! I think I might adopt this ‘day of baking’ into my routine too. Thanks!

  • Lerin says:

    Just wanted to add a time saving comment…there’s really no need to chop bananas and lay them on a cookie sheet to freeze unless it’s just your personal preference. They freeze just fine whole in a freezer bag. (Could save a few steps.) Plus, when you’re ready to add them to a smoothie, whole frozen bananas break apart very easily into smaller pieces, plus you know exactly how many bananas went in your smoothie!

    Money Saving Mom here: I used to do it that way, but the particular recipe I’m using for smoothies actually works a lot better if they are chopped and frozen. Don’t ask me why, but it does.

  • Tiffany says:

    You can also use a can of pumpkin instead of oil in a spice cake recipe- it make a wonderful pumkin bread and so moist!

  • shorty says:

    I am so thankful for this post. I did some baking yesterday and was a little discouraged with the mess I had to finish cleaning up today. I feel much better knowing there are other people out there doing things from scratch, makes you feel like you have someone who understands!

    I was reading Vicki’s comment about never using oil when baking, how interesting! I have not used it in certain things but I had never thought about always using applesauce! Now I might have to figure a way to buy apple sauce in bulk!hehe

  • I admire you.

    We’ve never met, but I admire you. Reading your posts today is so inspiring. I already have learned so much about using coupons and stockpiling, and now this! I love it. Thank you! I’m going to plan a bake and freeze day, myself. I think this is such a great idea!

    ~ Jennifer

  • Allie Z says:

    This is so exciting, watching it all come together. I’m new at stockpiling, couponing, etc. This month alone, I’ve been able to slash my spending in half. I’ve gone to the crockpot, prepping food at night during clean up/loading the dishwasher. (I toss all my ingredients into a large container, the flavors meld over night, then into the Smart Pot Crock Pot in the am, timer on, and when I get home from work, dinner is served!) Doing muffins ahead of time is a great idea. I love it! I usually make brown rice on Sunday evening to use throughout the week to serve leftovers with (chili, extra chicken, veggies, etc) for lunches for hubby and me. This is so much fun!

  • Serah says:

    I’m so motivated! November is a busy month for us (for everyone!), so now I’m planning a baking day to ensure my family has lots of goodies for the next few weeks.

    How do you freeze cookies? Freeze them in a single layer, like the bananas, then move to freezer bags? Thank so much!


  • leah says:

    i have two questions: when substituting apple sauce for oil, do you use the same amount as you would oil? and do your bananas turn really brown and funky once frozen, b/c the air has hit them?

  • A.D. says:

    I love big baking days too. I haven’t done one in a couple of months; maybe I need to go see what I can cook up. Hmmm, there’s a cooked pumpkin waiting to become a pie, a loaf of bread needing to become croutons, lentils for soup, and we’re all out of cookies. Off to the kitchen!

  • Jessica says:

    My husband loves banana bread and would love to have me make some of those muffins, but unfortunately he married me last summer. I am deathly allergic to bananas (as severe as many people’s peanut allergy). So as of the day we got married he has not eaten anything with bananas. If he does, he can’t kiss me. No kissing is not an option, so the bananas, banana bread, banana muffins, banana smoothies all had to go.

    All your homemade goodies look very yummy!

  • Brandy says:

    Thanks so much for your blog. This is my first month of trying all this (couponing, stockpiling…) and I am really enjoying it. I would also love to have the banana muffin recipe. My two daughters love banana bread, but I worry about all the sugar. Thanks again!

  • Jaycie says:

    What a GREAT series! I am having a great time following along today. I hope that you add this to your monthly set of series that you do. 🙂

  • Thanks for sharing, Crystal! This homemade/scratch cooking is something I’m diving into more. I’m finding that I love the money-saving benefit but really just love the creativity in the preparation and end result. It is very rewarding.

    Thanks for the tip on freezing bananas. I hadn’t thought of that one before!

  • jill a. says:

    You are really back in the swing of things! I’m loving reading about your baking day. I, too, try to have a busy kitchen day every week or so and stock up the fridge. You’ve inspired me to make some granola now. Time to dig out the ingredients. 🙂

  • Jenn says:

    You totally rock! I’m digging this idea…Won’t my husband be surprised when I am actually putting some of your great ideas into practice.

    And the comment about keeping the cooked ground beef in the freezer is genius – that one I’m starting right now! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve opted for takeout because I didn’t want to take the time to defrost the meat and then cook the meat for whatever I wanted to put it with!

    And I am still scanning your archives for more information on the $40.00 budget. Thanks for being a great source of motivation! :o)

  • Rebecca says:

    WOW! You are my super hero…when it comes to baking! I baked brown sugar oatmeal muffins this morning but that was it. I have never heard of substituting apple sauce for the oil…what would the ratio be if a recipe called for a 1/4 cup of oil….1/4 cup of apple sauce? When you have time I would really like to know 🙂 Thanks in advance!


  • MJ says:

    I love freezing bananas. They are great for baby food, too. I freeze them whole and when I’m ready to use them, I let them thaw a bit, then pop them out of the peel and into the blender. One banana equals about 2 stage 2 containers of baby food (and is SO much cheaper!).

  • Annie says:

    One more use for the frozen bananas: Pop a piece into hot oatmeal to cool it down quickly for a little one.

  • lisa says:

    In response to Serah:
    I have always frozen my cookies after baking them, so I always have cookies I can pull out of the freezer. However, I never really liked that they just didn’t taste as fresh coming from the freezer. So now, I make a batch of dough, roll them into balls, and place them in a freezer-safe container with wax paper in between layers. Then, when I need some cookies at the last minute, I pull some out, bake for 10 minutes, and DONE! Fresh, hot cookies. YUM!

  • Candi says:

    I love your cooking day!

    Just wanted to say that you said there is no sugar in your muffins. You mean no ADDED sugar. There is natural sugar in bananas and applesauce (maybe even some added to applesauce, depending). And although carbs are not sugar, unless they are fiber they often act the same way.

    Money Saving Mom here: Oops, I should have said no “refined sugar” as that’s what I’m trying to avoid for the most part. I’m all for getting natural sugars in fruits and veggies, etc. 🙂

  • donna says:

    I did the same thing on Saturday evening with my 8 year old daughter while my son was sleeping. Rice works great for freezing. what I do is freeze it in portions in plastic containers, to defrost I just add a little of water pop it in the microwave for 3 minutes and hot fresh rice is ready!!! You can do same thing with pasta.

  • Krista says:

    For Lisa-
    When you go to bake the cookies from the frozen dough balls, do you thaw them first, or alter the temperature for baking from the original recipe?

  • Janet Ziegler says:

    I am loving the ides of baking day! My toddler would think it was so much fun.

  • Sandra says:

    I have never frozen whole bananas before, do you leave it in the peel or remove it?

    Moneysavingmom: I don’t know if it’s ok to post this, so remove if it’s not appropriate, (I am not affiliated in anyway other than I do freezer cooking – not hardcore, but to have homemade food on hand)
    There is a wonderful program, “” for baking/cooking one weekend a month and freezing your dinners so you have lunches and/or dinners complete – they have a website as well as newsletters, they provide recipes which help you make larger batches to portion out and freeze, as well as tips etc…

  • Honey says:

    Man! You are on a domestic rampage!!! Good for you!
    One other plus about bulk cooking is even though you dirty lots of pots and pans, you can use the same pan to cook several batches, so in the long run you save lots of washing!

  • Jennifer says:

    For Amanda with the little one who has dairy/egg allergies,

    My little guy has food allergies too. I found a great cookbook called “Diary-Free, Egg-Free Kid Pleasing Recipes and Tips” by Theresa Kingma. I think I got it through Amazon. I found the information she shares to be very, very useful and the recipes are quite tasty. My non-allergic kids even like them! Hope that helps and hope your little one outgrows the allergies.

  • Megan says:

    I’m going to have to try that out! I was going to make banana bread last night, but our bananas went bad. Really bad. I’m talking about liquid in the bottom of our vegetable saver bag. ugh. this is what happens when you let yourself get busy with school and work! On the flip side, I did cut up a bunch of potatoes (5 lbs are cheaper than 1) and onions and freeze them! I don’t think my freezer is big enough to quick freeze tho. 🙁

  • Where does your motivation and energy come from to get so much done??? That is a post I would really like to read!

  • la reader says:

    Can you please share your recipe for banana bread/muffins when you get a chance? I love that you use simple recipes with few ingredients and have been wanting to try banana bread/muffins. I did not grow up in a house with a very domesticated mother who baked… I’m learning everything on my own now and loving it! Thanks

  • lisa says:

    I generally keep the temp the same. If anything is different, it’s that they may need a minute or two longer to bake, so I just keep an eye on them. 🙂

  • Honey says:

    Hi Crystal. I just had another thought about natural sweetners. When I was pregnant, I got anemia big time. I found that using blackstrap molasses was helpful. Hopefully, that won’t happen to you, but if it does blackstrap molasses is full of iron! You may have had it before, but it is a little different flavor-kind of rich but very good for you, baby, and your little girls.

  • Deedra says:

    I’ve got a “not so good for you, but oh so good” use for those frozen chopped bananas. Dip them in melted chocolate and put them back in the freezer. We LOVE chocolate covered bananas in our house. I don’t do them very often, but they are a fun treat. BTW loving the baking day posts. I’m gearing up to have a baking day of my own soon.

  • Christy says:

    I am so glad that you posted about freezing bananas! I had tried freezing whole bananas before and they didn’t turn out so nice, so I gave up on the idea. I will definitely be trying it this way now.

    I knew that you could freeze milk, I just never have because I didn’t think about using it just for cooking. I am trying the crockpot yogurt recipe on Monday and that would be another great way to use the frozen milk huh?

  • Kim N. says:

    LOVED these cooking posts! It’s so funny how these come at just the right time. I had no idea that you could freeze bananas and i see that I’m not the only one! Could you please share your smoothie recipe? I have been looking for some more ways to get our fruits/veggies in and would love to be able to add more while being budget concious!!!

  • Donna says:

    I love these ideas! I don’t know how you find time to do all that baking/cooking and keep up with a blog. I would love to have that recipe for the muffins! I also forgot about freezing bananas, thanks for reminding me!

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