Frugal Home Friday: Featured Participants

Frugal HOME Friday

Link up your frugal tips for home and homestead,

recipes, DIY, or crafts and share ideas to inspire others:

Featured Link-Ups:

Do More and Save Money in 2014 – by Mumtopia 

and . . . . .

 

Gluten Free Cowboy Stew

from The Gluten Free Homestead 

GF Cowboy Stew

 Get the Recipe HERE

 

Please share your own Frugal Home & Homestead posts

You could be our next feature!

linking up: Fabulously FrugalOrganized 31,Fabulously Frugal Thurs,Sunday Showcase Works 4 Me

 

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Almond cheese rounds: Build a Menu recipe

almondcheeseroundsBAM
You may have heard our exciting news about our new partnership with the ladies of Build a Menu.
You can look forward to more yumminess like the following Almond Cheese Rounds ( Trim Healthy Mama special).
Even better! Molly members get a special discount to a full membership from BAM – and FREE access to their Dine on a Dime recipe planner.
 Learn more about how Build a Menu can save you big money – HERE. 
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Mix all ingredients.
  3. Divide into 6-8 balls and flatten slightly, place on baking sheet.
  4. Bake for about 10-12 min until golden brown.

 

- See more at BAM and Print the Recipe HERE

Easy Allergy-Friendly Lunches~ Works For Me

Last month I shared my trick for fast-fix salads at home. Today I thought I’d share about how I prep quick-grab lunches for my husband. This time of year he’s working harvest, which means 13 hour days. And since he’s gluten-free, he can’t just grab a sandwich and go. Therefore, I’ve been spending Sunday afternoons prepping a week’s worth of lunches that he can grab. That way I don’t have to worry about it again and he has a healthy lunch ready to go.

Last week was just a partial week of harvest and I fixed him some salads with two kinds of beans, marinated grilled chicken and cheese. I actually had two boxes of Ziploc bowls that I’d gotten free on a promo and never used. The salads worked perfectly in them. I prepped the salads, boiled up a bunch of hard boiled eggs and filled sandwich bags with some mini carrots, string cheese and almonds. I also made up some brown rice with lentils and peas and put them in bowls as well (not pictured.) I put some dressing in tiny cups and put some yogurt nearby. Now hubby has all his lunch items on one shelf and can easily grab what he wants.

This week I made a TON of potato salad. I filled six bowls with it for hubs and kept a tub for us to eat as well. I made my version of Southwest chicken salad. I used a package of the cubed chicken I’d prepped from my Zaycon foods purchase, mixed it with black beans and corn and dumped in some taco seasoning. Then I topped them with cheese.

I then cooked up a bunch of rice and added the rest of the chicken/corn/bean mixture to that to make a “rice bowl” type dish. I had some extra taco sauce packets from Taco Bell in my odds & ends drawer so I stuck a couple right on top of each bowl.

Another week down! Here’s a pic of things “in process”.

Here’s a shot of the rice bowl. You can put pretty much any kind of meat & veggies in these and have them come out well.

I took another shot of the fridge this week to show how I label dishes with my pink hair tape labels. I like these because they’re cheap, easy to write on, and peel right off. I decided I’d better label them after hubs took two of the same dish for lunch last week. I thought they were see-through enough (or that one could lift the lid and look?!), but I guess not. ;-)

Oh! And if you look at the cost of a pre-made salad bowl you’ll find that they’re right at $3!! And rice bowls are about the same, I believe. CRAZY! it’s definitely worth the time to make your own. Same with potato salad. It’s very inexpensive to make, but costs a fortune to buy pre-made.

What about you? Do you have any easy lunch tricks or tricks for dealing with allergies or intolerances?

Linking up to Tackle it Tuesday and Works for Me Wednesday.

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Memorial Day Activities From Food to Fun

Midge copyGuest Blog by: Midge

Hiya! I have been searching high and low throughout the world wide web in order to compile this pretty cool list of Memorial Day Activities for you and your family! We will travel all the way from food to fun in this roundup of links! So, pour yourself a cup of joe (or a diet beverage of your choice ~ my favorite) and start planning your weekend!!!

 

Dinner and Dessert Ideas

For the Salad: STRAWBERRY BBQ CHICKEN SPINACH AND QUINOA SALAD WITH BACON, AVOCADO, AND GOAT CHEESE I would probably substitute the goat cheese with a bit of Gouda but ~ man oh man~ if the title of this salad doesn’t just strike me as delectable! 

For Dinner: COFFEE INFUSED BABY BACK RIBS ~ Seriously, WHAT? Wow, this sounds interesting and delicious! Now, you can have your coffee and eat it too.

For a Side Dish: JACK’S POTATO SALAD  Everyone has their own “secret” recipe for potato salad (at least most of the grandmas I know have one!). But, this one is distinctly from “Jack”, I suppose, and it looks OH so yummy . . .

GLUTEN-FREE CHOCOLATE PANCAKE LAYER CAKE One look at this dessert and you may just fall out of your chair . . . and its gluten- free. It is a bit of red, white, and blue with a whole lot of scrumptious. Who’s up for trying something new?

Fun for Kids 

Gardening: PLANT A SURPRISE GARDEN This blog post warmed my heart. Memorial Day weekend is a great weekend for planting a few small container pots with your children.

CraftsPreschool: FUN AND MESSY AMERICAN FLAG! Oh yes, I love it when my little one plays with glue and glitter. Well, okay, not really . . .  glitter is my least favorite crafty item! BUT, this flag looks so fun to make I may just have to let my sweet one glitter away!

For School Aged Kids: FREE E-BOOK WITH TEACHING IDEAS FOR KIDS AND WORKSHEETS! This is a very complete study guide regarding ideas for helping your children learn about Memorial Day and celebrate it with style!

Fun and Crafts for Moms
PATRIOTIC SAND CANDLES Super simple craft with colored sand and candles!

DRIFTWOOD FLAG What’s trending?  Driftwood and painted driftwood . . .  need I say anymore? Click on the link to check it out!

RECYCLED PALLET MADE INTO A PORCH SWING There is something always “hip” about taking a pallet and turning it in to a useful and rustic looking “something else”. This porch swing takes the cake!

 

What are your plans for Memorial Day? Are you planning a weekend full of activities or a weekend full of napping?  Hope your Memorial Day weekend is wonderful no matter what you decide to do! ;)

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Keeping it Simple

Back to Basics

At the beginning of each new year there seems to be a lot of discussion about healthy eating, dieting, and exercise methods. We’re hearing the words “gluten-free” more and more these days. Do you know where gluten is found? Gluten is a protein composite in wheat, barley, rye and spelt. Gluten is what helps hold together bakery items such as breads, rolls, and buns. Many of the food items we consume every day may contain some form of wheat flour such as in: bread, crackers, cereal, and pizza. Many frozen, prepared, and processed foods contain flour binders. Do you read food labels or look for foods that are gluten free?

I’ve also been hearing things about the Paleo diet. Paleo is short for Paleolithic and is sometimes referred to as the “caveman, Stone Age, or hunter-gatherer diet.” This diet is known as a modern, nutritional plan based on the presumed ancient diet (of wild plants and animals that may have been consumed) during the Paleolithic era. Those that follow the “Paleo” diet seem to mainly eat fish, grass-fed meats, eggs, vegetables, fruit, various forms of plant roots, and nuts.

I’ve seen many testimonies that those who follow a gluten-free or Paleo diet feel better and have more energy. Have any of you experienced this?

All-in-all, keeping your ingredients simple is not only a healthier choice but more cost effective as well. As always, to get the most bang for your buck when it comes to buying weekly groceries try, to buy fresh produce in season and in bulk (if the unit price proves to be the best deal). It’s a good idea to stay along the perimeter walls of the grocery store. You’re most likely to find your food “staples” there such as produce, meat, dairy, and breads.

How do your feed your family healthy foods on a budget?

Chinese New Year 2013

I love Chinese food! Next to Italian food, it’s my favorite food to enjoy.

Next Sunday, February 10th, is the Chinese New Year. Let’s join in the celebration this year. We’ll learn a little bit about the history behind it, customs, and share a few delicious recipes in the process.

Just FYI, did you know that Christianity is the fastest growing religion in China right now? That’s definitely worth celebrating!

Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year is the most important of all the traditional Chinese holidays. People in China and Taiwan may also refer to it as the Lunar New Year or Spring Festival.

Chinese months are calculated around a lunar calendar, with each month beginning on the darkest day. New Year festivities traditionally start on the first day of the month and continue until the fifteenth day, when the moon is brightest. In China, New Year preparations are similar to Christmas in America. Many people may take vacation from work or school to prepare for and celebrate the New Year.

The Chinese buy presents, decorate with red paper decorations, and cook large feast for the event. It is also the tradition that every family thoroughly cleans the house to sweep away any ill-fortune in hopes to make way for good incoming luck.

On the Eve of Chinese New Year, supper is a feast with families. Foods will include pork, duck, chicken, and sticky rice cakes. The family will end the night with fireworks.

Early the next morning, children will greet their parents by wishing them a healthy and happy new year. Parents and family members give the children money wrapped in red paper envelopes. (As a side note, Chinese families also give money wrapped in red paper to a bride and groom at a Chinese wedding and at the birth a baby)

Chinese New Year Foods

Certain foods hold symbolism to Chinese people.”Lucky” foods are served throughout the two week Chinese New Year celebration. A whole chicken symbolizes family togetherness. Long noodles represent long life. It’s actually considered bad luck to cut the noodles.

Spring Rolls and clams symbolize wealth. Spring Rolls are shaped to look like gold bars. Lettuce wraps are served to remind the people of the hope of rising fortunes. Oranges, tangerines, and pomelos are passed out freely as symbols of luck, wealth, and abundance.

These symbols of abundance,wealth, prosperity, and family unity are very important to the Chinese. One of those symbols, fish, plays a large role in the festivities. The Chinese word for fish is “yu,” and it sounds like the Chinese words for wish or abundance. So, it is not uncommon to see a whole fish being served at the end of the evening meal. A whole fish, with head and tail still attached, symbolizes a good beginning to a new year and the ending of the old.

Finally, sweet sticky rice cakes are served for dessert to symbolize a rich sweet life. The layers on the rice cake also symbolize rising abundance in the new year, and the round shape of the rice cake symbolizes family togetherness.

Chinese New Year Menu

Here’s an easy way to enjoy Chinese New Year without speading hours in the kitchen. Pick up some of the Chinese food dishes from the local grocer/deli or local Chinese restaurant and combine with a few home cooked dishes and desserts

  • Roasted Chicken (buy a roasted chicken from the local grocer or deli)
  • Spring Rolls, Egg Rolls, lo mein long noodles, and sweet & sour sauce can all be bought from a local Chinese restaurant.
  • Lettuce wraps are easy to make.
  • Steamed fish and clams can be bought from the grocery seafood department (some stores will steam these for free).
  • Set a fruit bowl out loaded with tangerines, oranges, and grapefruits (similar to pomelos)
  • Rice Cake or New Year’s Cake is not so easy to make. Consider picking it up at a Chinese bakery, or make a family favorite instead. Chinese desserts are not as sweet as traditional American desserts.

More Recipes and Ideas

Throughout this next week, on our Facebook page, I’ll be sharing with you all kinds of wonderful Chinese Food recipes and decorating ideas. Come join in the conversation and the fun. Also check out my Molly Pinterest Boards. I have one dedicated to Chinese Recipes!

How Will You celebrate Chinese New Year?

Will you be joining in the fun this week? Will you make a few Chinese Food recipes? Will you decorate or play games? Share with us how you will make this fun at your house. My family really enjoys Chinese Food, but at the average price of $10 a plate in a restaurant, we’ve learned to cook many of our favorite dishes at home. Have you done the same?

 

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Gluten-Free Graham Crackers

If you get my weekly newsletter, you most likely read Midge’s situation regarding allergy free alternatives. (if you don’t get my newsletter be sure and subscribe via the sticky note in the upper right corner of the blog). Here are a few thoughts I had regarding her request for an alternate option for graham crackers. Molly

Dear Midge,

When searching for gluten and/or sugar free alternatives, things can get a little tricky.  But, with a little investigating it is possible!  When making s’mores you can substitute the graham cracker with things such as gluten-free pretzels, cookies (such as chocolate chip or ginger snaps) or even saltine crackers.  Give these combinations a try and see which one makes your taste buds happy!  Of course you could always just skip the crackers/cookies all together and just use 2 pieces of chocolate to sandwich that gooey marshmallow.  A little messy but isn’t that part of the fun?


I read here about making your own graham crackers, there’s so many recipes available to do this. Making your own gives you the option of changing ingredients to suit your needs.  If someone is allergic to a certain sweetener (such as honey) you could choose another option such as agave.  Substituting the flours allows you to control which ones have gluten and which ones don’t.

Whatever you choose to use on your s’mores, may they be ooey, gooey and scrumptious!

Love ya, Molly

Gluten-Free Graham Crackers works for me! To see more Works For Me Wednesday tips, be sure to visit We Are That Family.

Easy Gluten-Free Lunches

Today I thought I’d share about how I prep quick-grab lunches for my husband. Since he’s gluten-free, he can’t just grab a sandwich and go. Therefore, I’ve been spending Sunday afternoons prepping a week’s worth of lunches that he can grab. That way I don’t have to worry about it again and he has a healthy lunch ready to go.

Recently, I fixed him some salads with two kinds of beans, marinated grilled chicken and cheese. I actually had two boxes of Ziploc bowls that I’d gotten free on a promo and never used. The salads worked perfectly in them. I prepped the salads, boiled up a bunch of hard boiled eggs and filled sandwich bags with some mini carrots, string cheese and almonds. I also made up some brown rice with lentils and peas and put them in bowls as well (not pictured.) I put some dressing in tiny cups and put some yogurt nearby. Now hubby has all his lunch items on one shelf and can easily grab what he wants.

This week I made a TON of potato salad. I filled six bowls with it for hubs and kept a tub for us to eat as well. I made my version of Southwest chicken salad. I used a package of the cubed chicken I’d prepped from my Zaycon foods purchase, mixed it with black beans and corn and dumped in some taco seasoning. Then I topped them with cheese.

I then cooked up a bunch of rice and added the rest of the chicken/corn/bean mixture to that to make a “rice bowl” type dish. I had some extra taco sauce packets from Taco Bell in my odds & ends drawer so I stuck a couple right on top of each bowl.

Another week down! Here’s a pic of things “in process”.

Here’s a shot of the rice bowl. You can put pretty much any kind of meat & veggies in these and have them come out well.

I took another shot of the fridge this week to show how I label dishes with my pink hair tape labels. I like these because they’re cheap, easy to write on, and peel right off. I decided I’d better label them after hubs took two of the same dish for lunch last week. I thought they were see-through enough (or that one could lift the lid and look?!), but I guess not.

Oh! And if you look at the cost of a pre-made salad bowl you’ll find that they’re right at $3!! And rice bowls are about the same, I believe. CRAZY! it’s definitely worth the time to make your own. Same with potato salad. It’s very inexpensive to make, but costs a fortune to buy pre-made. These tips work whether you have food issues or not.

What about you? Do you have any easy lunch tricks or tricks for dealing with allergies or intolerances?

Freebie Friday 2/10

Valentine’s Day is just right around the corner! Here are some lovely freebies ranging from DIY Crafts to Classic Stories!

Martha Stewart always has fantastic ClipArt. Check out theValentine’s Clip Art for cards, labels, and other decorations!

Just for simply “Liking” Living Locurto’s facebook page, you can print out their Valentine’s Party Collection! This includes 2 Circle Tags, 4/6 Card and Mini Tags, and Water Bottle Labels! This is perfect for a valentines day lunch with the family. The circle tags make fabulous cupcake toppers!

You may want to add these cute DIY treat bags to your lunch party via TwigandThistle.com. These are easy to make and even easier to download!

Speaking of treats, when I think of Valentine’s Day, I think of wonderful Desserts! Here is a free Valentine’s Dessert Cookbookthanks to MrFood.com!

Diabetic? Check our these Sugar Free Treats thanks to Diabetic Gourmet Magazine.

Gluten Allergy? Here are some recipes for you as well from Elana’s Pantry!

FairyTales are the perfect fit for this day of love and care. You can find free audio stories like Cinderella and The Sleeping Beautyon StoryNory.com. Natasha is a perfect narrator and you can not  help but love Prince Bertie the Frog!  The audio stories are free to stream as well as download! I will admit, although these are geared towards younger children, I have a few StoryNory’s sitting happily in my iPod.

Looking for a novel instead? Download “Pride and Prejudice“, one of the most famous novels about family, love, and independence. The full novel is available for your listening joy via LibriVox Recordings.

PBS.org is streaming the “LA Philharmonic performs An American in Paris. Gershwin wrote some of the most timeless love songs in history. This is a truly great performance, and can be a perfect end to your day.

Disclaimer: All these products were available at the time this post was written. All deals are subject to change at the discretion of individual sites.