Archive for March, 2010

Easy Healthy Home Fries

March 31, 2010

Another great recipe from this weeks Meal Plan (served them with hotdogs and Pinto Beans) 🙂

It is insane to me how much mark up is on Frozen Potato Products. Companies take about .25 worth of potato, slice it,dice it and make shapes out of it and in that process manage to mark their products up to $3.00 or more. Not a bad profit 😉 I’d rather keep that money in my pocket though. Not to mention the fact that most of the companies remove the peels which is where a lot of the nutrients are.

It’s also suprising the extra ingredients you will find listed on the backs of the packages. I much prefer to make our own and know what we are ingesting. In this case, potato, Olive Oil and Season Salt (salt,sugar,cornstarch,paprika,onion and garlic).


Cut about 6-7 potatoes into fries. *6-7 potatoes is enough to feed the 4 of us with plenty of leftovers*

Toss in 3 TBSP olive oil and Sprinkle with Season Salt

Flip the Potatoes over

Sprinkle that side with Season Salt as well

Cook at 400 for 45 minutes to an hour or until golden brown and crispy. Make sure to flip the potatoes at least once during cooking to make sure they cook evenly. *To make them extra brown and crispie, at the end of your cooking time turn your broiler on and broil for 2-3 minutes. Just make sure to keep a very close eye on them because they could burn VERY quickly*

These can be flash frozen on wax paper on a baking sheet and then transferred to a Freezer Bag for later warming up in the oven or microwave.




Save Money AND Eat Healthier with: Healthy Homemade Cracker Jacks

March 30, 2010

Low Calorie, High Protien “Cracker Jacks”
from 50 Ways to take the junk out of junk food by Julie Whittingham

7 cups air-popped popcorn (I cook mine on the stove top)
Salt to taste
1 cup peanuts
2 TBSP honey
3 TBSP light margarine
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 350
2.Put popcorn in a large bowl and flavor it with salt. Mix in peanuts.
3.Put honey, margarine and cinnamon into a microwave safe container and microwave for 3o seconds.
4.Stir honey mixture and then pour over popcorn and peanuts. Coat well.
5.Spread popcorn evenly on a lightly oiled sheet pan.
Bake 12-14 minutes. Stir once while cooking.
6. Let cool 15 minutes before eating or storing in an airtight container.

**Notes: You may need to add a little more popcorn to achieve desired consistency. My picture shows about 8 cups of popcorn.

Would make a great snack in packed lunches 🙂

Peanut Butter Icing or Fruit Dip

March 29, 2010

This is a great recipe for icing that is fantastic paired with yellow or chocolate cake for cupcakes. You can make them especially decadent by taking a pastry syringe and filling the middle from the top and then icing all over the top to cover the hole.

I plan to make a batch and take it this Thursday to my kids School for their Easter Parties with Cut Up Apples for Dipping (as posted before I brush the Apple Slices with Apple Juice to keep them from turning brown). Picture posted above 🙂

You will LOVE this if you are a fan of peanut butter fudge because that’s what it tastes like 😉

Peanut Butter Icing or Fruit Dip

Mix together:

1 Cup Peanut Butter

2 Cups Confectionary Sugar

1 stick (8 TBSP) Butter at Room Temperature

2 tsp Pure Vanilla

**Note** if it’s too thick add a little milk to thin it

Meal Plan Week of March 29

March 28, 2010

In no particular order. My family will choose 5 from the 6 choices:

Taco Dip, Quesadillas

Pinto Beans, Hotdogs,Home Fries

Round Steak and Mushroom Gravy in the Crockpot,Green Beans,Mashed Potatoes

Chicken Fried Rice with Carrots,Peas and Onions (made from Frozen Leftover Chicken)

Glazed Chicken,Baked Potatoes,Green Beans

French Toast,Bacon and Eggs

Saturday: Pizza

Sunday:Easter Dinner at Mom’s House (bringing Mashed Potatoes)

Lunches and Breakfasts this week will be similar to the ones posted before

Use up Leftover Turkey with: Turkey Taco Soup

March 27, 2010

This is one of my favorite recipes for using up leftover turkey. It would also work with leftover chicken.

I put all of the ingredients in my removable crock from my Crockpot. Put it in the fridge and pop it in the Crockpot Unit when I get up in the morning before we go to church. I also make wrap sandwiches the night before and place them in the fridge to serve with the soup, along side tortilla chips.

From my meal plan last week….

Turkey Taco Soup


  • 1 (11 ounce) can cream corn
  • 2 cups black beans (I cook huge batches of these and freeze in 1 cup servings)
  • 2 (14.5 ounce) cans chicken broth
  • 1 (16 ounce) jar chunky salsa
  • 2 1/2 cups cooked, chopped turkey meat
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup low-fat sour cream


  1. In crock, combine corn, black beans, broth ,salsa and turkey. Place in the fridge
  2. Pop crock into Crockpot first thing in the morning before leaving for church or about 2 or 3 hours before you want to eat it and cook on high
  3. Salt and pepper to taste
  4. Serve in bowl with a dollop of sour cream on top

What to do with those Bundt Pans!

March 27, 2010

I am so excited to have run across this idea! A friend posted it on a board I frequent. Now I know what to do with the Bundt Pan I’ve had in my basement for about 5 years and have never used. The huge plus is I already have Basil sprouted on my kitchen counter and just this morning was wondering where I was going to transplant it to 🙂

To view the original posting which has more in depth instructions OR if you have spare time to look for other great ideas this site is FULL of them…. Bundt Pan Planter Instructions

Save Money By Using Reusable Everyday Items

March 26, 2010

When most people think of savings they automatically think of things that are intended to save you hundreds of dollars. Now I’m defiantly not against that amount of savings, however most of the spending we do is on a much smaller level such as weekly food purchases etc… I am of the mind that little savings here and there add up to huge amounts. Think about the change jar that you may have kept and how fast those coins added up to something big ( ,the kids and I once took a beach vacation on change jar money. Imagine the surprise of the lady at the front desk of our hotel when I paid for our weeks room in Quarters lol).

There are tons of things we do on a daily basis to save money. I plan to share all of them here in my blog. To start off ,here are three off the top of my head. You will have to keep visiting to read about the rest 😉

We use Reusable containers in lunches instead of baggies. Now for those of you that are hardcore frugal you can actually wash baggies (as long as they haven’t had meat in them) but I just don’t have the space to dry them on my counter and not even really sure if I’d want to . If you do decided you want to AND have the space a baby bottle drying rack is excellent for this purpose.

You will see Reusable Containers pictured in my lunchbox-ideas section.

I hardly ever purchase Plastic Wrap. I consider it a waste of money. If I do not have a Reusable Container that fits what I’m going to store OR if I’m putting a plate in the fridge I use Reusable Bowl Covers which not only will cover Bowls as the name says but also plates. These can be purchased about anywhere from The Dollar Tree to online kitchen specialty stores. I purchased mine at CVS at 90% off in an after summer clearance. I just wash them in my sink with soap and hot water. I lay them out to dry in my kitchen strainer.

We use a Reusable Coffee Filter. We were lucky that the little cheapie Coffee Maker I bought came with a reusable basket. If your coffee pot did not, here is a link Mr. Quiltie sent me telling you how to make one:


Hopefully these tips will save you a little cash. Make sure to keep checking back for other Reusable Savings Tips 😉



Save Money By Making Phone Calls

March 25, 2010

Ever wish you had a coupon for something you purchase regularly and yet the company never offers them to you locally?

When I am cooking dinner Mr. Frugalista is usually hanging out with the kids to keep them from being underfoot. That leaves me alone in the kitchen where it is nice and quite. I use that time to call the phone numbers that are provided on the packages of items that we like. I call and speak to customer service and tell them why and how much we like their product. I then ask them if they have coupons available to mail. Usually they do. I have gotten coupons for everything imaginable this way, everything from hair gel to flour.

You can also call if you are displeased with an item. Notice I did not start out with the negative because I feel we should meditate on the positive: Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.Phillipians 4:8.

When calling to complain on an item the company will usually ask you to look at the package and give them information off of it. This gives them the product knowledge they need to know exactly what the item is and where it was produced. I have called about everything from vitamins that made me sick to soda that’s lid was entirely too tight to get off (it was so tight Mr. Frugalista had to hold it and I had to use pliers on it). I will admit with complaints you usually do get better coupons. An example would be recently I called Kraft to tell them that the bags on their Natural Shredded Cheese product (which I paid .99 for) was so thin that when I was placing it in the freezer the bag ripped with normal handling. They sent me a coupon for a free Kraft Cheese item up to $6.

Try making a phone call to the companies who manufacture your favorite products and I’m sure you will be pleased at the savings that will follow.


Save Money Making Your Own Bubbles

March 24, 2010

Kids +Spring/Summer = Bubbles

I had been looking for years for a recipe for Bubbles that didn’t require Glycerin. Since we live in small town USA that sort of thing is not readily available to buy. A friend of mine recently shared this recipe with me and it uses sugar instead of Glycerin 🙂

BEST Homemade Bubble Recipe

 3 cups Water

1 cup dish liquid (I use Ajax dish liquid.. Grapefruit scent :))

1 TBSP sugar

Mix together and you’ve got The BEST Bubbles!!!

Useful Easter Basket Ideas

March 23, 2010

Don’t you just hate the myriad of things that our kids drag into our house that basically just take up space, aka clutter? It seems there are two times a year that I especially have to fight the clutter epidemic, Christmas and Easter. One of the solutions I have come up with is for the kids to ask Santa and The Easter Bunny for things that are fun but also useful (no their baskets are not stuffed with cleaning supplies and canned goods lol).

Below is a list of some of the Useful things my kids ask to receive in their Easter Baskets. We try to keep candy to a minimum (that is a whole other post though 🙂 )

Lots of these suggestions can be found at your local Dollar Store which will also save you money. Hopefully these will give you a few ideas:


Character Pencils or Pens to take to School

Markers or Crayons to take to School (by this time of year they usually need new ones at school anyway)

Character Bandaids (Little Dude loves to play Dr.)


Cool Lunchboxes

Good Smelling Lotions,Shampoos,Conditioners,Hand Sanitizer (For Little Miss, bought at the HUGE after Christmas Sale at Bath and Body Works)

Bath Fizzies

Bubble Bath

Character Socks

Character or Pretty Notebooks

Pencil Boxes


Freezer Boo Boo Buddies (there are some really cute ones of these)

Books (Little Miss is a HUGE reader)

Seeds to plant

Starter plants (start the seeds yourself in little mulch pots / smaller kids may enjoy this more then seeds since they can see the plant starts)

Garden Tools

Garden Gloves

Reusable Water Bottles

Cool Plates, Bowls or Cups (Character,Pretty or Cool Print etc..)






Character Underwear

Pretty or Cool Hairbrushes and Combs

Freezer Pops to put in the Freezer (to usher in Summer)