Valentine Ideas For Your Spouse that won’t break the bank

Valentine Spouse ideas

Go Digital

Remember mixed tapes? This Valentines Day, make your husband or wife a cd with all their favorite music.

Send them a You-Tube video with a song or a poem singing their virtues!

Send a special Skype video message instead of a traditional love note, listing all the reasons you love them still.

No sitter?

Take a family walk – be sure to hold hands and talk about the good old days.

Put the kids to bed early and share a candle light dinner with your favorite foods.

Love Notes

Bring them breakfast in bed with a handmade card.

Place sticky notes around the house – like on the bathroom mirror, by the coffee maker, on a breakfast tray, in a briefcase – all with different messages telling them why you love them.

Coupon Book 

Create a coupon book full of favorite date night ideas and romantic notions that can be redeemed monthly, weekly, and daily.  These don’t need to be expensive to be appreciated. Think: evening picnic, a foot rub and a favorite movie,  a drive in the country, or a stroll through downtown and out for coffee.

Create a practical book with redeemable coupons for the chores they hate to do. How about: wash the car, cut the grass, or weed the garden? Use whatever may be a small sacrifice on your part, but will mean the most to them!

homemade chocolate peanut butter cups

Homemade Goods

Bust out the apron and get to baking! No need to spend lots of money on chocolate candy when the homemade kind is even better.

Get a recipe HERE for Giant Peanut Butter Cups

Homemade Lotion

Women aren’t the only ones who need good moisturizer! Using natural ingredients and essential oils, you can create lotion and bath/shower products your man will love.

See recipe HERE for a manly lotion

Go HERE for homemade scrubs

homemade lip balm


For an affordable gift that will encourage and inspire all year long – give a subscription membership to Molly Green Magazine

Member benefits include cottage industry web site hosting where you can network and sell your products for home industry and small business! You can’t beat the cost – (Launching in March).

Members also enjoy exclusive access to Dine on a Dime menu planner and shopping list by Build a Menu (downloaded right from the member page)!

Learn about beginner homesteading, gardening, bee keeping, and valuable information to run your home and family life in a more simple, back to basics style. Wonderful for city dwellers who want to make steps in that direction or down home on the farm!

linking with Works for Me Wednesday & Fabulously Frugal Thurs


Do you have more ideas to share? I’d love to hear about them – in the comments!

Build a Menu recipe- Philly Beef Skillet: Sneak Peek Monday

Philly Beef Skillet Recipe

Build a Menu RecipePhilly Beef Skillet: on Sneak Peek Monday

If you have not yet met our friends from Build a Menu – you should hop over to their blog or their Facebook page (here) and say hello!


Enjoy a few valuable words from Lisa -

I have to admit to you that my kids LOVE Hamburger Helper.  However, I don’t.  I don’t like how processed it all is and how much sodium it has in it.  It is fast and convenient and can make a busy mom feel like she’s cooking a nutritious meal.

I’ve been known to do so as well.  However, I can honestly say it’s probably been at least 3 years since Hamburger Helper has made it’s way into my kitchen.   So, I started looking for other alternatives to the much loved (by my kids) Hamburger Helper and I’m telling you , this recipe is just as quick and easy.

Sure, I had to chop some onion but that really wasn’t a big deal.  It was fast, easy and yummy and I had the satisfaction of knowing that it was also so much more healthy and “clean” than a box of Hamburger Helper.  AND… only cost about $10.50 at most major grocery stores for the ingredients and serves 4-6!  Enjoy!

If you are following the Trim Healthy Mama plan, then this is an “S” meal.


Philly Beef Skillet


Download your FREE printable recipe

and read more about the mission and the resources available at Build a Menu.

Molly Members – Check your Member Page for a special discount code to save big on the already affordable full program at BAM or take advantage of your exclusive access to the Dine on a Dime menu planners – now also downloadable from your Molly Green Member page!

We have more great member benefits coming your way – stay tuned!!


Oysters 3 Ways: Super bowl food from the sea -Friday Linky

oysters 3 ways

*affiliate links may be present

With the Super Bowl approaching, it is the perfect time to pull out those favorite food recipes. One of our favorites? . . . . . Oysters!!!

Oysters 3 ways


  • 2 cups fresh or thawed cranberries
  • 2 small yellow onions
  • 2 lbs. fresh horseradish, peeled and finely grated
  • 2 cups honey
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1  tsp. nutmeg
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 4 carrots, grated
  • 3 large apples, peeled and grated fine (Granny Smith)
  • 3 ” piece ginger, peeled and grated fine

50 oysters in their shells, scrubbed clean (For 25 oysters – divide relish ingredients in half)

Pre-Heat oven to 450° – prepare relish – Purée cranberries and onion in a food processor until blended smoothly. Place in a bowl; add horseradish, honey, and stir together. Add remaining ingredients (no oysters). Combine well and marinate 30 minutes.

Roasted Oysters
Scrub oyster shells clean. Place clean, oysters (rounded side down) in roasting pan, stack up to 2 layers, and pour 2 cups water into bottom of pan. Roast 20–25 minutes until shells pop open.

Transfer pan to rack, and cover with towel. Oysters will steam a bit under cover. Once cool enough to touch, use an oyster knife to remove the upper portion of shell.  Serve on the half shell with cranberry-horseradish relish on the side.

southern fried oysters

Southern Fried Oysters

Shuck oysters and add to a bowl with most of the liquid. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil, or coconut oil in a cast iron skillet (others will do, but “Southern Fried” is more official with cast iron) Place flour as needed into a shallow bowl. Dredge individual oysters through, adding a light coat of flour to each and add to hot skillet. Brown quickly, flip and remove from heat as soon as oyster is golden brown on each side. Serve with cranberry horseradish relish, with fresh horseradish, or cocktail sauce.

homemade oyster stew

Oyster Stew          

  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 pints oysters with liquid
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • dash of cayenne pepper to taste

Chopped green onion to garnish and/or oyster crackers Cook oyster liquid, milk, cream, and half of the butter and bring just under soft boil. Add oysters and bring back to boiling point. Remove from heat.  Ladle into bowls. Top with bits of remaining butter, cayenne, chopped green onions to taste. Enjoy with oyster crackers or without.


linking up: Fabulously Frugal, Organized 31,


Are you making  football plans for the Super Bowl?

Molly Green Members – be sure to check out the yummy SUPER BOWL 2014 Dine on a Dime menu from Build a Menu and shopping list – You can download right from your member page now!!

Become a Molly member to enjoy this and other great benefits – get the scoop HERE 

If you haven’t signed up yet for our newsletter - be sure to do so HERE - You won’t want to miss out on the Freebies and special info.



Linking with: SundayShowcase

Come and link up your homestead, recipe and frugal tips!  Share ideas and encourage each other. Please grab the Friday Linky button from the side bar or use a text link back to this post.  

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Importance of family dinners: & Recipe from Build a Menu

In the fast paced world we live in, it can be easy to forget the importance of bringing the family together around the table.

Guest post by Lisa Holcomb of Build a Menu

Nacho beef soup - build a menu


10 Conversation Starters for Dinner Time

     When you think of happy families sitting around the table eating dinner do you conjure up thoughts of “Leave it to Beaver” or some other old sitcom?   The mother walking around in her apron, high heels and pearls with a perfectly set table, perfect dinner and perfect family all sitting at the table.

Well, let’s get real please.  I know that’s sure not me.  Just like you, I’m a homeschooling, chauffeuring, (sometimes scatter brained), Jesus loving, busy, busy mom.  I’m usually doing good to get all four of my boys and my husband to the table in the evening.  Not that they don’t want to eat, just our busy schedules can get in the way.  However, we do try to make it a priority to eat dinner together as a family as many nights during the week as possible.  Some nights are harder than others.  Some nights we’re not all at home.  Still, we make it a priority as much as we can and I find that we are able to be together around the dinner table more often than not.

It really is amazing what a difference a positive meal time can make in children and families. Studies show that children who dine with the family:

  • eat more fruits and vegetables
  • are happier
  • are better adjusted  
  • are more socially adept
  • get better grades
  • are less likely to smoke, abuse drugs or alcohol
  • are less likely to suffer from eating disorders, obesity or depression

Kids of all ages benefit from family meal time together.  Teens and tweens need the family table time.  They need the positive atmosphere and conversation that should take place at the table.  They need to be reminded that they are valued and loved.

Our two youngest children were adopted from the Texas foster care system and its amazing how much healing can be done around the kitchen table eating a meal together and bonding. Families who eat together share values together.

Some of the family eat Sunday dinner, on Sunda...

Some of the family eat Sunday dinner, on Sundays the two married sons of the Sergents, their wives and children often… – NARA – 541343 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Need some conversation starters for dinner time?  Here are just a few fun ones:

  1. If you couldn’t watch TV or go online for a month, how would you spend that time?
  2. If you could have any superpower, which would you choose?  (This one is a regular topic at our table.)
  3. How can you tell someone you love them without using words?
  4. If you could be a famous person for a week, who would you be and why?
  5. If you could trade places with your parents for a day, how would you do things differently?
  6. If you could have another name what would you choose?
  7. Would you rather meet your great great grandparents or your great great grandchildren?
  8. If you could be brilliant in one subject, which would you choose?
  9. What do you think Heaven will be like?
  10. In what era would you most like to have grown up (besides the current one)?

Does your family have any favorite topics or dinner time games they like to play? We’d love to hear about them.

Try this fun dish for family game night!

This soup recipe really hit the spot and was so easy and quick to make and cost about $11.00 for the ingredients to feed my family of 6.  If you’re a Trim Healthy Mama, then this is an “S” meal for you.  I hope your family enjoys it as much as we did.

nacho beef soup


Molly Green Members enjoy exclusive access to Dine on a Dime –  weekly menu & shopping list -access right from your Molly Member Page!
Members – be sure to check out the SUPERBOWL Menu in your Dine on a Dime section this week!!! Are you ready for some FOOTBALL?

DIY Cornhole: frugal family football fun

DIY Cornhole

There’s a whole lotta’ buzz about football right now as families across America prepare for the Big Game!

Football and food aren’t all the fun to be had during the Super Bowl – cornhole goes hand in hand with tail gate and back yard parties surrounding the game. As a matter of fact, cornhole is so popular, it is officially a sport in it’s own right. Cornhole even has it’s very own National Association.

Watch the Video by the American Cornhole Association HERE

To purchase these game sets – you will spend, on average of about $124 – $250 . . . . . . or you can go the frugal route.

Get step by step instructions on how to build your own cornhole board paint it and make bean bags HERE. 

Be sure to check out these fun ideas from Pinterest for Super Bowl Food!

super bowl party food

Big Game Food


Super Bowl XLVIII Viewing Information

DateSunday, Feb. 2

Where: MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.

Start Time: 6:25 p.m. ET

TV Info: Fox

Live Stream:

Mobile: Fox Sports Go Mobile App

Spread: Denver -2 (via


Are you making frugal family football plans for the Super Bowl?

Molly Green Members – be sure to check out the yummy SUPER BOWL 2014 Dine on a Dime menu and shopping list – You can download right from your member page now!!

If you haven’t signed up yet for our newsletter – be sure to do so on the side bar. You will receive updates on Friday including freebies and more!

Come and link up your own frugal tricks and tips to share ideas and encourage each other. Please grab the Frugal Friday button from the side bar or use a text link back to this post.  

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Frugal healthy lunch ideas: works for me Wednesday

frugal healthy lunch

Frugal healthy lunch ideas from Midge

Hi all! It’s Molly’s cousin Midge here. Molly knows I’ve been working hard to find new ways to be frugal and for this new year – I’ve set some personal goals for my health as well.

Fortunately for me, my Molly Green magazine membership will allow me to have exclusive access to the Dine on a Dime menu planner from Build a Menu (coming soon) AND I get a big discount on a full membership to BAM which includes the fabulous Trim Healthy Mama recipes to help me even more.

Now, I know you may be thinking “lucky Midge – being related to Molly and all”  but, this is not just a family deal - YOU get the same benefits with a Molly Membership – see,  you can join the Molly Family too!

So now, about those frugal healthy lunches . . .

I’ve been making my very own kind of “Lean Cuisine” meals for the week.  When I do my batch cooking  or prepare evening meals – I set aside food to build the lunches with the tips as follows:

  1. Measure 1 cup of extra brown rice to add to broth. Freeze in baggies for quick access.
  2. Place portions of rice in freezer containers and add chopped veggies for a frugal, healthy homemade lean cuisine.
  3. Use broccoli stems to chop small pieces to add to rice for lunch stir-fry or to salads.
  4. Use the tops of tomatoes and bottom portion and chop for a fresh pico de gallo - to add to beans, salad, or chicken,  a Mexican rice dish or fish – for an instant burst of flavor that will light up your taste buds!  pico de gallo
  5.  Use tops and bottoms of white onions and peppers you might normally toss out for the same purpose. Chop ‘em small and throw them into sauce or soup too.
  6. Freeze washed berries and grapes individually on a tray and then divide them into portion sizes for your smoothies and health drinks.
  7. Chop bite size pieces of leftover meats – chicken, fish, steak – and freeze in portion sizes to go into your rice or healthy pasta for a protein boost at lunch.
  8. Once cooled, freeze lunch size portions of your homemade chick broth  in Mason jars or other freezer containers – add leftover rice, chicken, and veggies for a hearty hot lunch.
  9. Use frozen broth to make a homemade Egg Drop Soupfrugal healthy lunch: egg drop soup
  10. Freeze stuffed bell peppers  for a flavorful lunch – use leftover ingredients of rice and lean ground beef, turkey, or venison to fill them with.

Frugal healthy lunches can be yours with just a little bit of prep and planning ahead of time.

Don’t wait to get your Molly Membership so you can take advantage of the big discount for Build a Menu and have the Trim Healthy Mama recipes at your finger tips – or just use the Molly Membership to enjoy the ever frugal Dine on a Dime menu planner!

Go here to get your first month for only $1 and only $7.95 ever after. 

linking with Works for Me Wed

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Build a Menu: Puffy Chicken Recipe

build a menu - trim healthy mama


This Build a Menu: Puffy Chicken recipe has 3 ingredients, takes about 5 min to prepare and about 35 min for it to cook! It costs an average of $10 at most major grocery stores.  Best part is, my family really enjoyed it!  Hope yours does as well.  Enjoy.

build a menu - puffy chicken 3 ingredients, about 5 min to prepare it and about 35 min for it to cook and cost an average of $10 at most major grocery stores.  Best part is, my family really enjoyed it!  Hope yours does as well.  Enjoy.

If you are on the Trim Healthy Mama plan then this is an S meal.

  • 4-6 chicken breast boneless skinless
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese shredded
  1. Mix together Parmesan cheese with mayonnaise, to make a thick paste.
  2. Place chicken in a pan. Bake in a 350 degree oven till half-done.
  3. Turn over the chicken pieces and coat each thickly with the cheese/mayo mixture. Return to oven and bake until done.
  4. The paste will puff up into a delicious coating.

- See more and print the recipe on the Build a Menu blog here.

Molly Members will soon have weekly exclusive access to the BAM – Dine on a Dime planners!

Find out more about the new member benefits here.

Learn how having a Molly membership can save you money!

Almond cheese rounds: Build a Menu recipe

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. 
  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

Frugal Friday – recipes for leftover ham


frugal family leftover ham

Christmas ham is an all time favorite at our house. We love to get the honey baked ham and we always have plenty of it left over. After the first day or two, I always need to come up with a new way to serve that delicious ham to keep it interesting.

One of the best ways I’ve found to use it up is to put it into a cheesy macaroni casserole. This recipe once gained me a standing ovation – right in my own kitchen! It really is THAT good!

I call it:

“Cheesy Delicious Macaroni & Ham Casserole” 


  • 2 cups  macaroni -cooked according to package directions & drained
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup  flour
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onion or other onion
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 pack (10 ounces), frozen chopped broccoli, cooked & drained (1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 cups chopped/bite size pieces – cooked ham
  • 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup dry bread crumbs or crushed Ritz crackers tossed with 1 tablespoon melted butter

cheesy delicious ham casserole


Cook macaroni according to package directions; drain and set aside. In a medium saucepan melt 3 tablespoons butter over low heat. Add flour, green onion, salt, and pepper; stir until blended. Add milk and stir until blended. Bring to a boil; cook, stirring constantly, until mixture is thickened and bubbly, about 2 minutes. Add in broccoli, macaroni, ham, and 1 cup cheese. Transfer to a 2-quart casserole dish. Sprinkle with remaining cheese & buttered crumbs over top of the casserole.
Bake at 350° for 30 minutes, or until top is brown.
Stretch those leftovers a little further by using the ham bone and scraps to slow cook pinto beans. Follow this delicious step-by-step recipe for southern pinto’s ,so good it’ll make yer tongue slap yer brains out! (If any of my northern friends need a translator for that one, just holler)
I’d love to see some of your family recipes or favorite ways to stretch a dollar.

You never know . . . you could be featured in a magazine or blog post – Share using the links below.

Be sure to follow me on Pinterest –  here - I’ve been collecting wonderful ideas to last all year long

frugal friday

Grab the button above or from the sidebar and link your post up below. Be sure to visit others to see their lovely projects.

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Meet our friends at BuildAMenu: Caramelized spiced pumpkin seeds


If you have been visiting our Facebook page lately, you have surely heard mention of our friends at Build a

We are excited about our new partnership with them and thrilled to introduce you!

Beginning in January, Molly Green Magazine members will have exclusive access to the Dine on a Dime section at BAM – super frugal, delicious recipes – organized so that you can plan your shopping at local stores!

It’s a valuable resource we know you will love as much as we do.

You’ll be hearing more from the ladies at BAM in their newly featured column in Molly Green Magazine issues beginning with our site and magazine launch in January.

I hope this works for you – because it totally works for me!

linking with: Works for me Wednesday 


Print The Recipe Here