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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Beautiful handmade gifts: a guest post by Jessica

handmade sugar scrub and more

Works for me Wednesday


Introducing the beautiful designs of

Jessica from Bespangled Jewelry - Jessica also has some wonderful DIY tutorials for lovely gift ideas.

DIY Raspberry Lemon Sugar Scrub

(per 6-7 oz jar)
1/2 cup (4 oz.) granulated sugar
1/4 cup (2 oz.) coconut oil, melted (preferably organic)
1/8 to 1/4 tsp raspberry extract
1/8 to 1/4 tsp lemon extract
red food coloring (optional*)
Mix ingredients together in a bowl. I suggest starting with an 1/8 teaspoon measure of both the raspberry and lemon extract, and then adding more according to your preference. I think I ended up using a bit more lemon than raspberry.
The raspberry extract may already have some color added to it – mine did but the scrub without it was a much lighter pink than you see here. I used a single drop of red food coloring mixed in at the end to make the color pop a little more.
When your scrub is all mixed up and you’re happy with the scent and the color, spoon it into a jar and place in the freezer for about 30 minutes to set the consistency. After you take it out, you don’t have to keep it refrigerated. If the coconut oil returns to its liquid state and you’d like to firm it up, simply place it back in the freezer for another 30 minutes. (Coconut oil remains solid up to 76˚F).

How to use your new homemade sugar scrub: 

Rub wet skin with about a tablespoon of the mixture at a time, in a circular motion until the sugar has dissolved. Repeat all over your body and rinse as normal.

Why give  handmade?

  • Quality – use only the ingredients you choose
  • Personal – handmade gifts are extra special and can be catered for the recipient
  • Frugal – many options for any budget
  • Green – a great way to upcycle empty containers and goods
  • Unique – often one of a kind or uniquely special
  • Small business – the backbone of the American economy, family owned small business deserves our support
  • Love – handmade gifts are full of love -whether you make them yourself or purchase from someone who has

Handmade Gifts – Work for Me! 


See other tutorials on Bespangled Jewelry here : Homemade Lemon Butter Lip & Skin Balm 

homemade lip balm


Jessica isn’t just a talented DIY’er with wonderful gifts you can make at home – she’s a talented jewelry designer! Visit her cute little Etsy shop today to buy unique and beautiful handmade Christmas gifts for your loved ones. Go here to Jessica’s shop

handmade bespangled bracelet

Our BIG Sale for the Friday – Monday and  GREEN Tuesday ends soon  -See Details HERE and Enter our GIVEAWAY


What to do with leftover turkey? recipes & storage solutions

leftover turkey recipes & storage


What to do with leftover turkey?

Remove the cooked turkey meat from the bones and store meal-sized portions in foil then sealing in a freezer bag to store for longer lengths of time. Simply thaw and chop what you need for casseroles, soups, and other recipes.

Take advantage of  the turkey bones by browning them and using them for an extra-tasty, healthy stock.  Make turkey broth by boiling the leftover turkey bones in a large pot or crock pot, right away, then freeze in 1-cup portions for up to 6 months. It makes a frugal and delicious addition to cooked rice, in casseroles, sauces, and as a base for many soups.

turkey stock


Keep it simple. If you’ve saved leftover celery stalks and onion, you can throw them in for flavor. A little garlic, and a touch of red pepper flakes make a savory broth. Freeze in jars, or plastic containers after cooling.

You’ll find simple instructions here for freezing with jars from the Ball jar company. 

Recipes to use up leftover turkey meat:

After pulling turkey off the bone (or pulling out of the freezer from the meal portions frozen before)

Curry Turkey and Rice

Cook rice in a large pot according to directions, measure enough rice to be sure it covers your family as the main course.

Add 3-5 tablespoons of mild curry powder to the water, 1 -2 teaspoons of garlic powder, and a tablespoon of coconut or olive oil. When rice is almost finished, and the water has almost been cooked off, stir in the bites of turkey.

Serve with a fresh side of veggies!

Turkey Pot Pie - Southern Food.About

Turkey Quiche - Southern Food.About

Turkey Enchiladas - Taste of Home

Turkey Quesadillas  - Cooking Light

Turkey Tetrazzini  -The Pioneer Woman


Be sure to enter our subscription giveaway and check out the fantastic Black Friday – Green Tuesday 1/2 Price Deal

GO HERE to Enter Giveaway



frugal friday

Come link up your own Leftover Turkey Recipes with us – or your other Frugal Posts for our Frugal Friday link up!

After you link up your post – go back to this same link below in order to visit other blogs & support & learn from the other participants. I’ll be pinning away! Do you follow Molly on Pinterest? 


4 Meals from 1 Chicken: a guest post by Midge

4 meals 1 chicken

These meals are designed to feed a family of 4 or 5 with little ones. If you have a larger family, you may only get 2 – 3 meals from your chicken, but by putting the broth to good use, you’ll be surprised at just how far you can stretch a chicken!

This is one of the favorite lessons I’ve learned on my journey to a more frugal lifestyle. I believe you’ll like it too!

4 Meals from 1 Chicken:

1)      Roasted Chicken – Begin with 1 whole chicken, rubbed with olive oil and sprinkled with garlic, salt and pepper. Add 1/2  inch of water to bottom of baking dish for a moist and tender chicken. Bake at 350 degrees, for 1 – 1 ½ hours (general rule is to roast the chicken for 20 minutes per pound with additional 15 minutes for browning). Be sure the juices run clear and that your chicken is cooked through. Cover with foil for the first 45 minutes, then remove foil for browning. (Adjust browning time for larger chickens – 15 to 30 minutes is all that is needed for a crisp, browned top.)

Slice and serve with veggies and potatoes for a hearty meal.

2)    Yummy Vegetable Soup Boil leftover chicken in large stock pot for 2 hours. Add pepper flakes, garlic, salt and pepper to the water with a heaping spoonful of coconut oil. Strain chicken and bones out of broth, then set aside to cool. Save remaining broth simmering on low. Pick chicken off of bones and store bones in bag. Store chicken pieces in another bag.

Add sliced carrots, celery, corn, peas, chopped onions and tomatoes to broth and cook on low for about 30 min. to an hour, until veggies are all tender.

Serve with fresh bread or corn bread for a delicious vegetable soup.

cheese sauce 

3)     Cheesy Chicken Noodle Casserole – Boil noodles in a pot of water. Grate 1 cup cheese (cheddar, jack or other favorite). Add leftover chicken pieces to pan with chopped onion and a pat of butter or coconut oil to heat. In a separate skillet, add a TB of butter and heaping spoonful of flour and stir until it begins to brown. Add ½ cup of milk and stir. Continue adding ¼ cup milk at a time until gravy is a thickened liquid (or desired consistency – remember, it will thicken a bit after sitting). Add the grated cheese and stir until combined.

Drain boiled noodles and put them in a large mixing bowl, pour chicken and onions over them and add cheese sauce, then stir it all together. If desired, add to a casserole dish and sprinkle Durkey onions on top. Place in oven to brown for 15 min. before serving.

 crock pot broth

4)     Wholesome broth for soup, stew or dumplings – Add leftover chicken bones to a crock-pot full of water. Sprinkle in red pepper flakes and garlic powder (add salt to taste later). Cook bones on high for 8 hours; continually adding more water to make sure it does not dry out. Store cooled broth in jars or bags in freezer for ready-made healthy and homemade chicken broth. Use for soups such as potato soup, vegetable soup, chicken dumplings and more!

These 4 in 1 meals can be enjoyed during a single week, or frozen for later use. If you have favorite ways to stretch a chicken I would LOVE to hear about it! Please share in the comments below.


Salmon – Off the Hook

Midge copyGuest blog by: Midge

Ever have a good idea for a meal… that ended up rolling into a dinner party for ten?


My last Year of the Carnivore Series meat selection is: Salmon!  I decided to be INCREDIBLY frugal and bought some $2 small filets at our mart of many discounts.  Going the easy route, the salmon filets sounded like they would be easy breakfast fixings for just my husband and I.  Then, I started to doubt myself… wait, am I really trying salmon if I just use these bargain filets?

So, last week as I was at the market and I spotted a large salmon fillet on special.  Now, that fish is what a “Midge Challenge Meal” is all about!  Large and in charge, this salmon looked like it could feed an army (or at least four more people – ha ha)!  So, I decided to invite a few people over to dinner.  Soon, the number rose to ten with a few children to boot!

My next point of conflict… what if the children do not like the way I prepare the fillets?  So, I bought a few salmon burgers to even out our salmon choices.  But, when it came down to THE DAY of the big meal I realized what all of my piece meal salmon buying had come down to.  I now had three different packages of salmon to cook for a dinner party of ten with side dishes and new recipes to conquer.  I suppose I have come a long, long way from the Midge of a couple of years ago because surprisingly, I looked forward to the challenge.

I created three separate salmon meals:

A salsa based salmon bake prepared in tin foil in the oven ~ SALMON BAKED IN FOIL

Salmon fillets grilled on our BBQ with limited seasonings ~ VIDEO OF GRILLING SALMON


And I also bought a pre-made Salmon Burger frozen product and cooked it on our indoor George Foreman grill.

**In case you were wondering, we served it with freshly baked cornbread, fresh raspberries, grapes and apple cider.**

My husband and I favored the salsa baked salmon.  It was flavorful and moist although I would definitely choose to use my own salsa choice next time as the lemon flavor the recipe required was too much and threw off the taste of the salsa and salmon.  Our other party guests enjoyed the grilled salmon fillets but they were a bit on the dry side.  This was probably due to the fact that the sun had set by the time the salmon was finishing on the grill.  I cooked by flashlight and had a hard time identifying whether the meat was “truly” done.  Three out of four kids ate their whole salmon burger… so I can only guess that it was a success!!

On a side note, I did panic a “wee little” bit (okay, a lot) before attempting to create the salmon.  But, I put out a call on my Facebook page saying, “help, there is a salmon in my freezer and I don’t know what to do!” or something like that ;) .  I had many helpful hints from my friends and felt a lot more confident embarking on this salmon cooking endeavor than before I posted my cry for help!!!  Two of my favorite were ideas from Christina Mann and Rachel Crites; writers at the HIDING THE PEAS BLOG.  Christina shared her favorite recipe with me for a sweet bourbon salmon…. Wow, that sounded good (wish I could share it here!!)!

And Rachel, shared a few helpful hints plus the following recipe:  Wrap your salmon in tin foil and add butter, lemon juice and dill weed.  Bake it at 350 for 15-20 minutes until it is white and it flakes apart.  She stated that this was the main way they enjoyed salmon.

And really folks, salmon is just that easy.  Although for me and my taste buds, we will just stick to MAHI MAHI and TILAPIA ;)   Salmon is a bit too fresh “off the hook” fishy tasting for me!


How do you cook your salmon?  Every have a small dinner turn into a dinner party for ten… or is that just me? ;)





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Sneak Peek Monday~ HALF OFF SALE!

Store and stock up . . . adding significantly to your savings!
Get the best pick on apples . . . learning a bushel of useful information!
Grow responsible kids . . . employing time management support (with three great forms) to inspire productivity!


STORING SUMMER’S BOUNTY is half off this week!

What’s your vision for storing summer’s bounty? Putting up a pantry full of homemade goodness? Stocking a freezer full? What great machine can save you money, makes life convenient, takes little to no effort to use, and is fun? Wipe the dust off that dehydrator!

Whether you’re well equipped or curiously new to the methods of storing your bounty of fruits and veggies, you’ll find a delightful collection of articles on a variety of appealing topics. You’ll come away with some new and practical ways to help you save more and enjoy life more.

Spend just $2.50, apply just one tip from each issue and you’ll easily save the cost of the magazine!

There are so many ways to save and a lot to learn. . . a small price to pay compared to the great benefits you’ll receive and the money you’ll be saving once you dig into this magazine! Buy this E-Magazine for ONLY $2.50 (sale price is reflected upon checkout)!

Molly members already have this magazine in your member page! Simply click the “Molly Members” tab above, log in, and search out August 2010.

If you’re not a Molly member, check out everything you receive and sign up now on our SUBSCRIPTION PAGE!

Friday Linky Party!

There are so many different ways to live a frugal lifestyle . . . this is a great place to learn new things and encourage one another! Below you can share the link to a post on your own blog, share a little about your frugal life and encourage others. This linky party will now be open for the entire month of October (expiring October  31st). Come and link-up to this great community of frugal followers!

If you get my Friday newsletter, you most likely read Midge’s question about my favorite pumpkin themed recipes and crafts (if you don’t get my FREE newsletter be sure and subscribe via the sticky note in the upper right corner). Read below to see my response.  Molly

Dear Midge,

I LOVE pumpkin! As I type this I’m actually sipping on my morning coffee (I added in a little pumpkin pie spice to the coffee grounds before brewing)–YUM! Not only are pumpkins so cute to decorate with, it is so yummy to eat. I’ve been known to put a few out for decorating but then start roasting as many as I can to put in the freezer for later in winter (fresh pumpkin puree sure does beat the canned stuff!). Roasting a pumpkin is easier than you might think, check out THIS LINK for more info if you’re interested in giving it a try. Don’t forget the seeds. . . just another yummy bonus to roasting your own pumpkin!

I have so many Fall recipes that I actually gathered them all into a “seasonal” binder. No more searching for my favorite Fall recipes that got tucked “who knows where” from last year! I can safely say I don’t have just one favorite recipe–check out THIS SITE for some great ideas. . . I already printed off some new recipes to try!

And Fall crafts are super fun as well! I love to decorate the house with all the masterpieces the kids put together. Take a look HERE for some super cute (and easy), Fall craft ideas.

Happy baking–and crafting!

Love ya, Molly

Linky Party Button2




 To share a link to your post about frugal living, use the Linky below. But first . . .

1. We’d love for you to share your links that include anything related to DIY projects, saving money, frugal living, made from scratch cooking, cleaning products, sustainable living, gardening, organic, and anything else related to homemaking! You can also include your struggles while trying to live a frugal lifestyle (like Midge!)! Show us about how you are thriving while surviving on a smaller budget!

2. Please, no link-ups to giveaways or blog topics in which you are just selling a product.

3. Link directly to your frugal post, not to your home page.

4. Grab our linky graphic (from the sidebar) and put it on your blog or on your linky post.

5. If a linked up post does not meet the above guidelines, it will be removed.

6. If you link-up, please click on other’s links as well. Our frugal followers have a lot to share!

Living frugally means living, learning, and growing from each other. We can’t wait to see what you are going to share (to see other blogs who have linked up, click the link below)! Ready, set, link!


The Freezer Files~ Works for Me

When preparing food for the freezer, whether freezer meals, meats or veggies, place the food in a freezer bag and press the bag as flat as you can, removing as much air as possible. Freeze in this position. Taking the extra time to flatten out your bags will be well worth it down the road.  I often stack my freezer “files” on a cookie sheet until they’re entirely frozen. From there, I can stand on end in the freezer as shown in the bottom picture.

This systems helps with both organization and space efficiency. Just compare the below.

These bags of hamburger, though not terribly “lumpy”, were not smashed totally flat and can’t be stacked very well. They slide off one another quite easily.

These items (apple pie filling, frozen peaches, and marinated chicken strips) were frozen using the “file’ method. It’s super easy to quickly flip through the files to see what I have. If I need more room, it’s also easy to stack them on top of one another and have them stay relatively stable.  Many freezer meals can be frozen taking advantage of this method.

Tip: Whenever possible freeze food “flat”. If you must use containers, opt for square vs. round to conserve more space. (If you’re not concerned about space savings and have round containers on had, use away!)

If you need some help with freezer organization check out these great printable labels from Amy Bayliss. I don’t have a chest freezer, but can see hanging the labels from a hook magnet on the freezer door to show what is inside.

Freezer files work for me. To see more Works for Me Wednesday tips visit We Are That Family.

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How to Make Your Own Butter~ Works For Me

Guest post by Lisa Barthuly of Homestead Originals.

My husband was offered 10 quarts of whipping cream recently and he called and said ” Do you want these?!” To which I replied,  “BUTTER!”

So, he brought it home and the girls and I proceeded to whip it up into over 12 pounds of BUTTER!

The BOSCH made it simple, and we did 2 quarts at a time. Just dump the cream in, turn it on and let the BOSCH do the work. :)

I didn’t time it, but I am guessing around 20 minutes per batch.

As you can see it goes from pure liquid cream, to a rising foam to this point where the buttermilk starts to separate from the butter….


Here is what you get when it turns to solid…keep squeezing and squishing to work buttermilk out of it and…

Now I take the ‘butter ball’ and keep squeezing out as much buttermilk as I can, toss it in a bowl or container of some sort–sprinkle with kosher salt, need it/mix it back into the ball and reshape…

Place it in nice COLD salt water, while I make more….

I kept it all in super cold salt water til we had made it all up and then divided it up in portions, put in wax paper, and in gallon freezer bags and put it in the freezer to store!

Butter logs!

LOTS of butter logs!

This was so easy! We also make fresh goat milk butter (although the cream is harder to come by in goats milk!) and eat that fresh, since it comes in such small quantities at a time (the children just shake it up into butter in a mason jar)–but what a blessing to make it up ourselves and you know–with the price of commercially made BUTTER these days— I think that whipping cream IS CHEAPER to buy and just make it up ourselves! Next time I go to town I am going to price that out! :)

Now if I can find organic or raw pure cream………..oooooooooooh — that would be wonderful! ;)


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Frugal Friday~ Linky Party

There are so many different ways to live a frugal  lifestyle . . . this is a great place to learn new things and encourage one another! Below you can share the link to a post on your own blog, share a little about your frugal life and encourage others. This linky party will now be open for the entire month of July (expiring August 1st). Come and link-up to this great community of frugal followers!

If you get my Friday newsletter, you most likely read Midge’s question about my favorite go-to craft item to have on hand (if you don’t get my FREE newsletter be sure and subscribe via the sticky note in the upper right corner). Read below to see my response.  Molly


Dear Midge,

Because I still have school-aged children I always like to have stickers, construction paper, watercolor and tempera paints (along with freezer paper, various size paint brushes and sponge shapes) in my art supply stash. The girls love to glue little pompoms to their projects and you’d be amazed how creative kids can get with a package of popsicle sticks! I have yet to find a great way to organize all of these things, it seems like art supplies are ALWAYS spilling out of the cabinet I store them in.

I usually wait until after the school year begins and then take advantage of the super cheap sales the week after when stores are trying to get rid of their inventory. I also watch the bigger craft store chains and get their coupons via email or through the mail. I wait until some of the craft supplies go on sale and/or use a good coupon to stock up on other items not found in a department store.

Over the years, I’ve also come across the issue of storing art projects for all of my children. Just last year I began taking photographs of them and I’m now compiling a digital file instead of trying to cram them all into my filing cabinet. :)

I was thinking of getting the kids all together to make some handprint stepping stones for Grandma’s garden. I gathered the supplies using THIS SITE as a guide. Here’s some instructions on how to do THIS PROJECT along with some other TIPS AND TRICKS. HERE ARE some pictures of different shapes and styles, which ones do you like?

Love ya, Molly

Frugal Friday Linky Party

To share a link to your post about frugal living, use the Linky below. But first. . .


1. We’d love for you to share your links that include anything  related to DIY projectssaving money, frugal living, made from scratch cooking, cleaning products, sustainable livinggardening, organic, and anything else related to homemaking! You can also  include your struggles while trying to live a frugal lifestyle (like  Midge!)! Show us about how you are thriving while surviving on a smaller budget!


2. Please, no link-ups to giveaways or blog topics in which you are just selling a product.


3. Link directly to your frugal post, not to your home page.


4. Grab our linky graphic (from the sidebar) and put it on your blog or on your linky post.


5. If a linked up post does not meet the above guidelines, it will  be removed.


6. If you link-up, please click on other’s links as well. Our frugal followers have a lot to share!


Living frugally means living, learning, and growing from each other. We can’t wait to see what you are going to share (to see other blogs who have linked up, click the link below)!  Ready, set, link!