Showing posts with label recipes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label recipes. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

20 Mother's Day Gift Ideas to Honor Your Mother Without Breaking Your Budget

With Mother's Day around the corner (May 10, 2015) it is time to start figuring out what you are going to do for (or with) your Mom. In John's family we have a tradition of buying his Mom a large beautiful hanging flower basket every year. To save money we start looking for deals a month ahead of time. This year we received a $4 off coupon in the mail for a 14 inch  flower basket from Countyside Greenhouse in Allendale, MI. (Those not from the West Michigan area this greenhouse is massive, reasonably priced and AMAZING!) We easily found a gorgeous hanging basket on sale for $24 and with our $4 coupon we walked away only paying $20. (this will test whether our family actually reads our blog!...but I guess our family already knows we are cheap! hence John's brother mentioning it in his Best Man speech at our wedding! lol).

And last year we bought and used a Groupon for Huizenga Brothers Greenhouse to buy her hanging basket. So anway, the point I am making is you can save money by thinking ahead and looking for deals.

For those that need a little help figuring out what to do for their Mom, here is a list of 20 cheap Mother's Day Gift Ideas.

Cheap Mother's Day Gift Ideas:

1. Make her dinner instead of taking her out to a restaurant
2. Pack a picnic and take her to a beautiful setting such as a park, beach, or a place that is special to her.
3. Take your kids to Goodwill and give each child $5 to find something to buy for her or something to use to make into a gift for her (this could get expensive depending on how many kids you have :p.
4. Surprise her with a stay in movie night with her favorite movie or a movie of her choice (like the movie she has been dying to see but no one will watch it with her) and snacks. You can keep the price down by making your own popcorn and using large bags of candy instead of personal sizes. Make it extra special by drizzling your popcorn with chocolate or peanut butter (I have been meaning to try this).
5. Have your kids write and perform a play.
6. Put together a  youtube video and profess your love on-line or make a digital collage of pictures.
7. Use a Groupon deal to go wine tasting, Paint Nite for two, bowling, boat cruise, etc.
8. Use an on-line deal (such as groupon) to order a canvas print of one of her favorite pictures or a family.
9. Do an act of service, especially one she hates to do or has been nagging you to do, such as cleaning out the garage, washing the dishes, de-clutter and organize your closet, clean the bathrooms, dust, etc.
10. Bake her her favorite dessert and customize it with a message.
11. Buy cheap cement mix and garden stepping stones with kid's hand or feet prints.
12. Have your kids paint rocks to decorate the garden.
13. Wash her car by hand (cheaper than automatic..unless you have a deal) and clean and vacuum the inside.
14. Let her sleep in.
15. Surprise her by showering her with gifts the day before Mother's Day so she caught off guard.
16. Ask her to make a list of 10 or more things that would make her feel loved (back massage, washing the dishes without being asked, love note left in her car, date night, you name it...well she names it! Save the list and do one or more of these things on special days such as Mother's Day, birthday, Christmas, etc. A great book to help you with this is The Five Love Languages. I love this book because it explains the different ways (words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service, and physical touch) people express and feel loved. It helps you identify the way she wants to be shown love so you can show your love more effectively. There is even an edition for children so you can learn the best way to show love to your kids.
17.  Have a make up party and let your kids do her make up and take silly pictures afterwards (please note some moms would not find this funny or enjoyable)
18. Set up a hot bath with candles and essential oils and take the kids to the park so she can have a relaxing afternoon or evening.
19. Take her to a movie matinee at a second showing theater for cheap! For those in the Grand Rapids area the Woodland Mall has showings for $5.
and the obvious
20. Make her breakfast in bed (don't do this if she is not a morning person or doesn't usually like to eat breakfast).

The main point is to personalize whatever you do for her so you don't simply spend money on her because that is what is expected. I guess if she really wants a diamond necklace than you  better buy her a diamond necklace. But personally, I would be pissed if John bought me a diamond necklace because it is expensive and I don't really wear jewelry.

For me, the perfect Mother's Day (or any special occasion) would be sleeping in and waking up to a healthy homemade breakfast (like my chocolate waffles with strawberry sauce), not having to do the dishes afterwards, spending time with my family (maybe go for a walk, bike ride, movie, etc) and finally being surprised with my favorite ice cream cake (Peanut Butter Playground) from Cold Stone using the $4 off coupon we got in the mail that I filed away in our coupon folder. So I would cost a whopping $20! But you know what I am doing on  Mother's Day instead...working. But then again my amazing husband usually lets me sleep in and makes me breakfast when I work Sundays so I am one lucky Momma.

Happy Mother's Day!

Coming soon...The best cheap dates without seeming cheap!

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Monday, March 9, 2015

7 Ways to Use Veggie Broth (Two recipes included)

Now that you have a stockpile of veggie broth from using all of your veggie straps, you are probably thinking, “What am I going to do with all of this?!”  We’re almost drowning here because we have made over 16 quarts of veggie broth for free in the past three weeks since we posted about how to make veggie broth from veggie scraps. If you missed my post click here.

What to do with your veggie broth:

1) Make soup: 

The easiest way we have found to use a lot of veggie broth is in our soups. When we were first married my husband hated soup but now we eat soup almost every week especially in the winter. Once we started trying to eat healthier, soups became an easy way to incorporate a lot of vegetables into our diet. Soups are also easy to freeze, reheat, pack for work, and put in a crock pot or thermos for road trips or weekend getaways.
Just today I grabbed a mason jar full of our Spring Asparagus Broccoli Soup from the freezer to put in my lunch because I didn’t have enough leftovers for hubby and me.

These are the mason jars we like the best. 

2) Make more soup

When we stay at a hotel for the weekend we like to take a crockpot full of uncooked soup that we can simply plug in when we arrive and it is ready for lunch the next day. The same thing works well for a weekend trip visiting friends or family because then you have an already prepared meal or side dish to supplement a meal to offer your hosts 

3) Make even more soup such as this Black Bean and Sweet Potato Soup

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Soup
Author: Two Peas and Their Pod with modifications by Practically Frugal Family
Click here for a printer friendly PDF
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 red onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 large sweet potato, peeled and chopped (we use 2 and we don’t bother peeling them)
1 roasted red pepper, chopped
2 cans (15oz) low sodium vegetable broth (we use homemade veggie broth)
2 cups water (we omit because we like our soup thicker with more flavor)
3 cans low sodium black beans, rinsed and drained (we soak and cook dry beans ahead of time)
3 cans diced tomatoes with green chilies (we used frozen or canned tomatoes from our garden and add 3 cans of store bought green chiles)
1 Tablespoon chili powder (we like more! probably almost double)
2 teaspoons cumin (we like more!)
Dash of red pepper flakes (again, we like more! lots more!)
½ bunch of cilantro, chopped
salt and pepper, to taste (remember homemade veggie broth does not contain salt so you will need to add more than you except)

  1. In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil. Add the onion and cook until tender. Add in the garlic and cook for about 2 minutes.
  2. Stir in sweet potato and roasted red peppers. Cook for 5 minutes.
  3. Add in the broth, water, black beans, and tomatoes. Stir well.
  4. Add the chili powder, cumin, and red pepper flakes. Stir and toss in the cilantro. Stir again. Let the soup simmer on medium low for 30 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes are soft. (We like using our crock pot- After sauteing onions, sweet potato, and roasted red peppers add all ingredients to crock pot and cook on low for 4-6 hours)
  5. Season with salt and pepper and serve hot.

**You can garnish the soup with cilantro, avocado slices, cheese, tortilla chips, and/or sour cream. To freeze-cool completely and put the soup in freezer safe containers.

But lets be real not everyone likes soup or maybe you are just sick of eating soup. Here are other ways you can use your veggie broth:

4) Cook rice, quinoa, or any other grain in veggie broth instead of water (Here is a great example Quinoa Fried Rice)

5) Water saute” your vegetables (“How to water saute your vegetables” post coming soon)

6) Cook dry beans in veggie broth instead of water

7) Use in place of chicken or beef stock (it will change the flavor of your dish some). 

Be creative and comment below ways you have found to use your nutrient-dense free veggie broth.  

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Click here to read about how to save money by comparing grocery prices

Creative ways: Add to a green smoothie

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Quick Tip Tuesday: How to Freeze Avocados

A regular staple in our diet is avocado. It is creamy, versatile and has really healthy fats. What is a problem is that we are frugal and avocados can be pretty expensive for a small amount of food. A great way to stretch your budget and have avocado more often is to buy them on sale (usually between $0.50 a piece and $1.00 a piece) and freeze them!

Now, this won't work very well if you are looking to use slices of avocado. It is much better for using avocado in recipes or dips. According to an article at Huffington Post you can either half the avocados, remove the skin and then freeze or mash them, add a little lemon juice and freeze (we like to put them in quart sized bags). We have never tried the halving methods but have tried the mash with some success!

Make sure to check out the Huffington Post link for recipe ideas for those avocados!

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