It's in the Bag, Gluten Free & The WoW Diet

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

New Blog!

The Bag Lady Has Changed Her Name
to the
Queen of Common Cents
My latest book, Queen of Common Cents: 1001 tips & Facts for Saving Time and Money will be released in January!
I invite you to visit my new blog at and learn about daily shopping finds, household tips, vacation savings, recipes and more importantly, how to be thrifty!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Wishing you all a fond farewell!

We would like to thank all of our readers for their love and support over the past couple of years. You have made It's in the Bag a best seller! All good things must come to and end, especially when exciting adventures present themselves. Therefore, it is with mixed emotions that we are ending the Bag Meal Blog. Thank you again for your support. We invite everyone to visit Michelle's website to keep in touch, ask questions and get updates on Michelle's forth coming publications.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

White Fudge

Apparently, I'm still stuck in Christmas mode. If you had this fudge, you would be too.

Normally, I'm not a white chocolate kind of girl, but this? This is A-MAZ-ING. In fact, last year I sacrificed my arm to a boiling pot of this fudge and it was worth it. I wear that scar like a sugary badge of honor. It is also a tradition. When December rolls around I actually have friends that ask, "Has The Bag Lady made any white fudge yet?" It's better than chocolate fudge. It's a heavenly dance of silky ecstasy across your tongue. It's smooth. It's creamy. It's delicious. It's entirely impossible to adequately describe. It must be EXPERIENCED! So, give it try... or track me down in December when there is a whole container at my desk.

White fudge
3 feet wax paper
Resealable bag: 1 cup sugar
3/4 cup canned butter
2/3 cup evap milk
1 -12 oz pkg white chocolate chips
1 7 oz jar marshmallow creme

Unfold wax paper and place on counter. In a large pot over medium heat bring to boil sugar, butter, and milk. Boil for 4 minutes or until candy thermometer reaches 230 degrees. Remove from heat and stir in marshmallow creme and white chocolate chips. Working quickly drop fudge by 1 teaspoon dollops onto waxed paper*. When cool remove and store in air tight container.

*Do NOT get lazy and pour it in a pan. Dolloping is a key aspect of this recipe. Not only does the fudge taste better in disc form, many of my Christmas memories revolve around The Bag Lady and I madly dolloping before the pot of fudge cooled. My dollops were always fat and ugly. Hers were always dainty with a delectably delicious curl. I always ate hers first. :)

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Cake Mix Cobbler

You've probably made cake with a cake mix. You may have even tried cake box cookies. But have you ever had cake mix cobbler? Today is your lucky day. It's quick and easy and bag meal friendly (as all of our postings usually are.) Best of all, you only use 3 ingredients.

Fruit cobbler
1 can fruit pie filling
1 yellow cake mix
1/2 cup canned butter, melted + 1 tbl. for buttering pan

Butter 9 x 9 pan. Spoon in fruit pie filling. Top with dry cake mix. Drizzle melted butter evenly over top of cake mix. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes.

If you're making this for kicks and giggles, remember to save your canned butter for a real emergency and substitute fresh. Since July is National Ice Cream Month, go ahead and top it with a scoop of nice vanilla bean.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Christmas in June

Hello folks!

Ok, it's a little early for Christmas, and I'm definitely still working on my summer tan, but it's NEVER too early to be prepared. AND you'll never be sorry if you're prepared for DESSERT!! So here it is:

Now, you've probably heard some horrible things about fruitcake. Perhaps you're one of those families that re-gifts the same fruitcake every year, because no one wants it. Well, it's time to give fruitcake another chance! This is actually one of The Bag Lady's favorite dessert recipes. You can mix up the fruit and experiment to find your favorite combination, so give it a try. I'm sure you'll be pleasantly surprised. Now then, I'm off to go find a new swim suit. :)

Bag Meal Fruitcake

Wax paper to line bottom of 9 x13 pan
1 quart fruit, puree including the juice. I used apricots
1 -16 oz. container fruit cake mix

Resealable bag:
4 teas soda
2 cup sugar
4 cup flour
1 teas salt
4 teaspoon cinnamon

Resealable bag:
2/3 cup raisins
Resealable bag:
2/3 cup nuts*

Pantry: 1 cup oil

Directions: Grease and flour and line bottom of pan with wax paper. Mix all ingredients in large bowl. Pour into prepared pan. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Reduce heat to 300 and bake until center is done i.e. toothpick comes out clean. Approximately 45 minutes.

*Don't chop nuts before using. They won't last as long.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

No-Bake Bag Meal Cookies!

Ok, who doesn't love no-bake cookies? Come on, admit it. I know I do. I think its because they are full of oats, so I feel healthy when I eat them. No-bakes are even popular in China. When I was getting ready for my trip I was told to make sure I brought cocoa powder. Cocoa powder? What for? For no-bake cookies of course! They don't do milk in China, so we had to use a powdered version when we made our experiment. They were pretty good, but using American peanut butter you'll be sure to have tastier results. When you no longer use a spoon, but can roll up your cookies and place them on wax paper with chopsticks, you will have reached the pinnacle of skill!

No-Bake Bag Meal Cookies

Wax paper
Resealable bag: 2 cups sugar, 1/4 cup cocoa, 3 tablespoons powdered milk
Resealable bag: 3 cups quick oats
1/2 cup canned butter
1/2 cup water
Pantry:1 cup peanut butter
Directions: In a medium pot bring to boil sugar, cocoa, powdered milk, butter, and water, stirring constantly. Boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and add peanut butter stirring until smooth. Add oats. drop by spoonfuls on to waxed paper.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Chameleon Wacky Cake

Hello, hello!

Today we have a special treat for you. Guest bagger Christy P. Is pleased to share her recipe for Wacky Cake. I added the Chameleon part, because with minor adjustments this cake easily transforms into chocolate, lemon, or chocolate espresso. This time, you can have you cake and eat it too!

Chameleon Wacky Cake
Courtesy of Christy P.

"I didn't make up the name, I promise. This Depression-era cake takes advantage of ingredients that were readily available at the time. I suspect it is enjoying a new era of fame because it is also vegan. That means it is ok for people with dairy and egg sensitivities, too. That's why I bring it to potluck affairs.

After one recent affair, I was asked for the recipe. Nothing special about it, except that it is easy to make, always a hit, friendly to all but the gluten-intolerant, and tasty to boot.


* 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

* 2/3 cup white sugar

* 4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

* 1 teaspoon baking soda

* 1/2 teaspoon salt

* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

* 1 tablespoon white vinegar

* 5 tablespoons vegetable oil

* 1 cup water


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

2. Mix all of the dry ingredients together in a bowl with a whisk.

3. Add liquids and mix. (I used 1 cup of cold brewed coffee with an additional scoop of instant coffee powder last time - I couldn't taste the coffee, so if I did that again I would use more instant coffee powder or use espresso powder which has a stronger taste.) I do not think that this needs frosting. I have dusted with powdered sugar for a special effect.

My other tip for maximum efficiency and reduced chance of cross-contamination -- measure the soda, then salt, and last the cocoa of the dry ingredients (so that you don't contaminate your salt or soda with cocoa powder). Then measure wet ingredients with the measuring spoons - oil, then vanilla, then vinegar.

To make a lemon cake, you take advantage of the acidity of lemon juice and use it in place of the vinegar. Leave out the cocoa powder, and instead use the zest of 1-2 lemons. I tend to use the zest of more lemons than I use the juice, so the extra juice goes into salad dressing or hummus, or frozen in an ice cube tray for later use. Otherwise it’s the same!"

Give this cake a go, I'm sure that after you try it you'll be a "box of fluffy ducks!" (That's Kiwi talk for, "I'm on top of the world!" After all, what is happier that a box full of happy, fluffy, quacking ducklings? (I must warn you that this phrase it a bit outdated, but with our combined efforts, we can bring it back in to fashion.)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Marmite Toast and Buttermilk Rhubarb Squares

Hello my diligent readers! I do apologize for neglecting you for so long. I've been busy traveling the world you see. I realize that as soon as I reveal my location any forgiveness for my lackadaisical posting will be lost, but...I'm in New Zealand!

Don't worry though, there are benefits for you too. I am very pleased to present a New Zealand recipe:

Marmite Toast!

As much bread as you like
olive oil spread
Marmite*/vegemite if you prefer
sharp cheese
sesame seeds

Basically you spread and layer your bread with the ingredients listed above. First goes the olive oil spread, then a THIN, THIN, THIN spread of marmite. Top with some "tasty" cheese (aka "sharp"), a sprinkling of sesame seeds, and bake until it is crisp. Cut into strips and serve!

*Marmite courtesy of Wikipedia is "a sticky, dark brown paste with a distinctive, powerful flavor, which is extremely salty and savory. This distinctive taste is reflected in the British company's marketing slogan: 'Love it or hate it.'" Salty is right! Beware! I heard a Kiwi divulge that one of their favorite games is to offer Americans some "chocolate sauce" and then give them a spoonful of marmite!

In case that doesn't suit your tastes, you'll be relieved to know that while the Bag-ette is off trotting the globe, The Bag Lady diligently remains in "The Bag Meal Test Kitchen." Thus, we are pleased to present the real reason you came to the blog today, I know and accept this fact. Marmite is not for could probably use it in a bag meal though...

Buttermilk Rhubarb Squares
Resealable bag:
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup brown sugar (Mix in baggy with other ingredients or you will get a hard rock of sugar)
1/2 cup coarsely chopped almonds (For longer storage life do not chop until ready to use)
1/2 cup rolled oats
2 tablespoons melted canned butter

1 cup bottled water
2 tablespoons powdered eggs
2 cups flour
1/4 cup powdered buttermilk
1/2 cup oil (Tip: Did you know that cubes of shortening will last in bag meals up to 6 months after opening? Keep this in mind for your tortilla recipes)
2 cups canned stewed rhubarb (sweetened to taste and cooked in a pan then canned)

Directions: Add melted butter to topping ingredients and set aside. Grease and flour 9 x 13 pan. Mix all batter ingredients in a large bowl. Pour batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle topping over batter. Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes or until center is done using tooth pick test. Serve warm or cold. It is fabulous with vanilla ice cream.

Isn't everything fabulous with ice cream? Well, maybe not marmite...

Monday, April 25, 2011

Bag Meal Lemon Bars

Winter got you down? Tired of swirling clouds of snow flurries and torrents of rain when it should be spring? Yeah, so are we. However, The Bag Lady is a problem solver. Nothing says spring like the playful dance of lemon zinging across your palette. Close your eyes and bite into these babies--the burst of lemon goodness will usher in the sweet assurance of the coming spring. Indeed, there is a light at the end of that wintery tunnel.

Bag Meal Lemon Bars

1- 15 oz. can of lemon pie filling
2 pkg graham crackers
3/4 cup canned butter, melted
Optional resealable bag:2 tablespoons powdered sugar

Directions: Break crackers into crumbs. Add melted butter and press firmly into 9 x9 pan. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes. Cool. When crust is cool top with 1- 15 oz. can of lemon pie filling. Refrigerate for 4 hours. Cut into squares. Sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Death by Chocolate Brownies

Yes, I skipped a weekly post. I know. BUT there was a good reason. You see, we often think of disasters as earthquakes, floods, and week long power outages. However, this past week there was a crisis. Truly. And guess what? Bag meals saved the day. You see, it was the first week of law school finals. That qualifies as dangerous to one's health, happiness, and well being. How did bag meals save the day? 3 words: Mexican. Chicken. Soup. (page 24 in the book) It was warm. It was zesty. It only took 20 minutes of precious study time to make. It lasted longer and was more nourishing than a hot pocket and there was enough that the study group got be comforted, nourished, and sustained in the face of impending doom too. Make it in your next crisis. Make it the next time you're crunched for time. Make it for yourself, or your neighbor that just had a baby. You'll be glad you did.

Speaking of stress and impending doom: what spells comfort better than BROWNIES?!?!? Nothing, that's what. If I was banished to a desert island and could only take one baked good with me. It would be brownies. I love them. Periodically I ponder other desserts, but brownies always come out on top. (Sometimes on my birthday, I have brownies instead of cake.) There is nothing more blissful than the chewy chocolate explosion of freshly-baked-warm-brownie-goodness on your tongue. A warm, fudgey base, hugging chips of perfectly melted silky chocolate, dissipates any trace of stress or anxiety that you may harbor. (Yes, I have eaten a whole pan of brownies this past week of finals, why do you ask?) SO of course, it is only natural that the world needs a recipe for bag meal brownies.

These brownies fall into the fudgey camp, which is the only true brownie. If you're in the cakey brownie camp, its time you converted. Fudgey is the more excellent way. You don't have time for homemade brownies? Well, these puppies aren't going to take much longer than a box: dump, stir, pour, bake. See, it's the same steps. You can even repeat if you're feeling extra hungry. Go whip some up. Don't you want the power of brownies in the palm of your hand during the next disaster?

Death by Chocolate Brownies

2/3 cup canned butter, melted
3/4 cup bottled water

Resealable bag:
3/4 cup cocoa
1/2 teas. baking soda
2 tablespoons powdered eggs
1 1/3 cup flour
1/4 teas salt
2 cup sugar
1 cup mini chocolate chips

Directions: Mix all dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add water and melted butter. Add chocolate chips. Bake in greased 13 x 9 pan for 30 minutes at 350.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


I know what you're thinking right now: "Bag meal pizza? Food storage PIZZA?! What?! It's not possible. It defies the laws of nature, food storage, and all that is wholesome and good in the world! You're teasing us Bagette and its not a very nice joke."

Well friends, I'm here to tell you that this is neither an intergalactic phenomenon the likes of which mere mortals can only hope to attain, nor is it a bad joke. It is in fact a reality. Oh yes. You too can have fresh, hot, cheesy, pepperoni-ee, goodness in the midst of a disaster, crisis, conundrum, or on a busy weekday night.

So, without further ado we're pleased to present the bag meal that children have dreamed of and parents have waited for! The one that teenagers everywhere are sure to eat! The one that brought dinnertime tranquility to homes around the world! Yes, the bag meal that changed a nation! (Or at least expanded your repertoire.)

THE PIZZA BAG MEAL (Makes 1 large pizza)

1 individual package of yeast (you will only use 1/2 of the package)
1- 15 oz can pizza sauce (you will use about 1/2 the can)
2- cans canned cheese, grated
Canned toppings of choice- olives, mushrooms, pineapple, sausage, hamburger, canned ham, re-hydrated onions and bell peppers, OR pepperoni*

Resealable bag:
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup white flour
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt

Resealable bag: 2 tablespoons corn meal for pizza stone

1 1/4 cup bottled water (hot water)

2 tablespoons oil

Directions: Place pizza stone in oven and pre-heat to 500. Mix all dry ingredients. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and add warm water and oil. Mix. Knead for 3-5 minutes. Turn into an oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let dough rise in a warm spot until double in size. Roll out and place on a prepared pizza stone (pre-heated and sprinkled with corn meal (sprinkle the corn meal onto the hot stone right before you place the dough on it.)) Top with pizza sauce, grated canned cheese, and toppings of choice. Lower heat to 425 and bake for 15 minutes or until crust is thoroughly baked. Allow to cool 5- 10 minutes before cutting or cheese will slide off. ENJOY!!!

Remember, if your pizza topping includes pepperoni the bag meal will only last until the expiration date--typically 6 months.

*YES YOU CAN USE PEPPERONI! Most pepperoni is shelf stable for 6 months until opened. Once opened it MUST be refrigerated. Look for your favorite brand and see if it gives a date and then states that it must be refrigerated once opened. Grocery stores often place shelf stable pepperoni in the refrigerator section even though it doesn't need to be refrigerated until after opening. Why? Its purely psychological. People think it is better for them if it must be refrigerated! WORD OF WARNING- Even though the packaging is similar, CANADIAN BACON MUST BE REFRIGERATED AT ALL TIMES!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Chocolate Snack Cake

Sometimes, the best things in life are accidents. Like the fact that Ivory soap floats (someone fell asleep and it got overmixed, causing extra air bubbles), or Coca-cola (Wasn't it supposed to be some sort of tonic?) A pleasant accident--that is what happened with today's recipe. Sometimes you're going for one thing and something completely unexpected and wonderful happens instead. Give this snack cake a try, it's positively angelic. See, it even looks like it's floating!

Chocolate Snack Cake

1 cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup canned butter, melted

Resealable bag:
1/2 cup cocoa
1 cup sugar
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons powdered eggs
1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup mini chocolate chips

Grease 9 x9 pan. Mix all ingredients together. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Cheap Bags and Healthy Truffles

Greetings! I know, 2 posts in 2 weeks. It's ok, you can be impressed. :)

First on the docket, we have a hot tip for purchasing bags. Staples is currently selling a box of 250 bags for $44.99. That works out to a mere $0.18 a bag! Wowza! As an added bonus, the bags are a very pleasant mint green color. They used to paint hospitals green you know. It soothed the patients. If you're not into soothing greens, it appears you also have the option of "electric blue." Join up with some friends and order several boxes to get free shipping. Check it out.... here.

We'd like to thank Christy for her excellent contribution of healthy truffles! Who doesn't like truffles after all?

"Take a dry fruit that is fairly moist (like a store-bought prune) and roll or dust with unsweetened cocoa powder. Healthy truffle! Kick it up by adding a little cayenne to the cocoa if you dare.

One can make a more complicated version that is a mixture of dried fruit that has been food-processed into something paste-like and then rolled into balls and dusted with cocoa. But the first way is really simple and good."

It's quick, it's easy, it's delicious! Give it a try. In fact, I'd probably fill a whole minty green bag full of them. Everybody loves a truffle! Come to think of it...I like prunes too. (Shhh, don't tell.)

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Aloha Cookies

Aloooha Baggers! Does the winter season have you down? Are you pining away for azure waters and white sand beaches? Well, we here at The Bag Meal Test Kitchen firmly believe that it is best to eat your way through your travels! Besides, if you can't travel, you can always eat, so it works out both ways! ;)

You have probably noticed that there is a lack of dessert bag meals in the book. There are several reasons for this, one being that those publisher folks have these crazy things called "page limits," another being that The Bag Lady lives by The WoW Diet (click here for more info) and so she doesn't do many desserts. But we are thinking of you and are willing to take one for the team, so The Bag Lady has put on her dessert hat and developed some new yummies for your food storage needs. Besides, if you're in the middle of a disaster, what spells comfort like a warm cookie pulled fresh from a solar oven?

These cookies are a burst of tropical fusion on your tongue! Bite into one and you'll be transported to the azure waters and white beaches of your favorite island. (To enhance the experience hold an EMPTY glass up to your ear and you'll hear the ocean.) The buttery cookie hugs mounds of sweet flaky coconut and smooth white chocolate chunks. The delectable crunch of macadamia nuts rounds off the texture play nicely. So bake up a batch, hold a glass to your ear, close your eyes, and chase those winter blues away! (Yes, we at The Bag Meal Test kitchen are easily entertained.)

Aloha Bag Meal Cookies
1 yellow cake mix
1/2 cup canned butter, melted*
1/3 cup bottled water
Resealable bag: 3 tablespoons powdered whole egg**
Resealable bag:1/2 cup flaked coconut, 1/2 cup white chocolate chips, 1/2 cup macadamia nuts, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In large bowl combine cake mix and powdered egg. Stir in water and melted butter. Add remaining ingredients. Bake on ungreased cookie sheet 12-14 minutes or until edges are slightly golden. Allow to cool for a few minutes on baking sheet before moving to cooling rack.

*Remember you want to save your canned butter for a real emergency, so if you're making these at home, substitute fresh butter.

**If you want to use fresh egg, only put in 2 fresh eggs and decrease the water by 2 tablespoons.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Another Contest!

Hey there baggers!

We realize that we have more than fallen off the blogging boat...we pretty much drowned. BUT we're happy to announce another contest! This one is courtesy of a fellow bagger and blogger- PitterPatHeart. Keep tabs on her bag meal adventures and find out about the contest here. You can only enter this give away through PitterPatHeart's blog, so make sure you leave her some comment love!

Keep bagging and I'll see what I can do about getting some exciting new content up on the blog! An exclusive recipe perhaps? (I promise, it will be sooner than later...)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


Hello folks! The puppies are doing well. They now have teeth and are beginning to scurry about the house!

And now, the moment you've all been waiting for... OUR WINNERS! (in no particular order)

Please email The Bag Lady and let her know your mailing address and whether you would like a copy of It's in the Bag, Gluten Free, or The WOW Diet!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Cheaper Bags

Apparently, the bag meal craze is taking off and suppliers are taking note. Some stores are wanting upwards of $0.45 a bag! As of today, Uline is the cheapest site that we know of. Check it out, stock up, and let us know if you come across a better deal.

Happy Bagging!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The puppies have arrived!

In case you haven't heard, the puppies are here! There are 3 girls and one boy. We're still accepting suggestions for names. Remember, the top 3 names will get to pick a title from The Bag Lady's collection.