Crafts · Family · For the kids · Free Fun · Frugal Life · Good Ideas · Homemade · Parenting · Recipes

Peanut Butter Play Dough Recipe

My kids LOVE making play dough, and it is something we do often.  But, when we make Peanut Butter Play Dough they REALLY REALLY love it.

Peanut Butter Play Dough is such a great sensory activity for kids.  They can touch, see, smell, and even taste it.  That is my kids favorite part!  They love that they actually get to EAT the play dough.

It is so so easy to make peanut butter play dough.  It only takes three ingredients and a few minutes of your time.

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Peanut Butter Play Dough Recipe

2 cups powdered sugar

1 cup peanut butter

1/2 cup honey

Mix all ingredients in bowl.  Stir well and knead until smooth.

That’s it!  So easy!  Let your kids play and enjoy!  We get out cookie cutters and knives and forks.  My kids can spend hours playing.

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Recipes

Easy Pizza Night ideas

I talked about one of our favorite family traditions in my post:  My favorite easy Homemade Pizza Crust Recipe.  We all look forward to Friday nights to eat pizza and watch a movie together.

To save on costs I always try to make the pizza at home.  Some Fridays we use My favorite easy Homemade Pizza Crust Recipe, but to try to help us not getting bored with pizza (but seriously, who could get bored of pizza?!?) I try to change the pizza up from time to time.

Here are two very easy, simple pizza ideas for your next pizza night.  The kids love helping with both of these, and It’s a lot easier than making a crust!  😉

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French Bread Pizza

Slice a loaf of french bread in half.  Place both slices on a baking sheet and cook in 350 degree oven for about 5 minutes.  You do not want it to get toasty, but it helps to harden up the bread just a bit.

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After a few minutes in the oven take it out and put all of your toppings on it.  Bake it in the oven for about 15 minutes, or until cheese is melted.  Slice and serve!

 

Pizza on Rolls

I have made pizza this way using two different methods.  I have used Pillsbury biscuits from the can.  I have also used Rhodes Freezer Rolls.  I think that I prefer the Rhodes rolls better.  But, the Pillsbury biscuits are a little easier because they don’t need time to thaw.

Take the Rhodes Freezer Rolls out of the freezer three hours before you will need to eat.  Place them on a baking sheet to thaw.

Once they are all thawed and had a little time to rise you are ready to make your pizzas!

Gently smoosh and pull the rolls to form flat pizza circles.  This is the step your kids will really want to help with.  Place them on a greased pan.  Add your toppings, let everyone top their own individual pizza just the way they want it.

Bake in 400 degree oven for 15 minutes until cheese is melted and crust is slightly browned.

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They are all ready to eat!  Enjoy your own little personal pizza!

for free · Frugal Life · Good Ideas · Recipes

Homemade Bathroom Cleaner

My least favorite room to clean in the house is the bathroom.  I’m sure I am not alone in this!  I always put this job off for days!  I would rather make this homemade bathroom cleaner than actually use it.  😉

I started making my homemade bathroom cleaner a few years ago and have not looked back!  Making your own bathroom cleaner is so easy and is a great way to save money!  Buying it in the store can get pricey.  For this recipe I always have the ingredients on hand and it only takes me a few minutes to put it all together.

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You will need a plastic spray bottle.  I recommend spending a few extra dollars rather than buying the cheapest bottle.  It will last much longer this way.

Ingredients:

2 tsp. baking soda

1 cup vinegar

1/3 cup lemon juice

1/4 cup dish soap

1 1/2 cups water

First, add the baking soda to the spray bottle and then add the vinegar.  I do this in the sink, and do it slowly because it will foam.

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Squeeze the foam out and then add the rest of the ingredients.  After all of the ingredients are added put the lid back on the bottle and shake it up really good.  That’s it!  You are ready to tackle the bathroom!  This lasts me about a year and I use it for every part of the bathroom; the toilet, sink, countertops, shower and bath.

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It does make cleaning the bathroom maybe SLIGHTLY more enjoyable if I know that I am saving money while doing it.  Right?!?!

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Do you make your own cleaners?  Have you noticed a savings when doing so?

Frugal Life · Recipes

How I use ONE Roast for THREE Meals

I have learned that one of the easiest ways to save money on food is to stretch meat through multiple meals.  I am going to share how I am able to use ONE roast for three different meals.  Each of these three meals are super simple, easy dinner ideas.  As a busy mom, I love meals that do not require a lot of effort and time.  🙂

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Meal #1:  Pot Roast

The first meal I use the roast for is a simple Pot Roast cooked in the crock pot.  I make this meal for our Sunday Dinner and serve it with mashed potatoes, gravy and a salad.  My sister shared this recipe with me a few years ago and I still can’t believe how easy and delicious it is to make.

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For the Pot Roast you will need a packet of brown gravy mix, a packet of ranch dressing, a packet of Italian dressing, a 1/4 cup of water and a 3 1/2 lb. roast.  The size of your roast will vary depending on how many are in your family and how many left overs you want to have.

First, mix the three packets and water together in your crock pot.

 

Next, you will need to brown your roast.  Heat a couple of TBSP of oil in a large sauce pan on stove top over medium heat .  When oil is hot add roast and cook it on each side until each side is lightly browned.  This only takes a few minutes to get it all browned.

 

Once the roast is browned place it into the sauce in the crock pot.  Spoon the sauce as much as you can over the roast.  Turn the crock pot to low and let the roast cook for 6-8 hours.

 

After the roast is done cooking set it on a cutting board, cover, and let rest while you prepare the gravy.

For the gravy you will need to dump the excess sauce from the crock pot into a sauce pan.  Heat this over medium-high heat.  In a small bowl mix about a 1/4 cup of cornstarch with approximately a 1/2 cup water.  Slowly add this to the gravy in sauce pan.  Continue heating until it comes to just a boil.  I do not always use all of the cornstarch/water mix.  I slowly add it and stir until the gravy becomes thick.  When it achieves the right amount of thickness I quit adding the cornstarch mixture.  Remove from heat.

 

Slice the roast into thin pieces and it should be ready to serve!  If you want to use this roast for two more meals make sure to set aside 2/3 of the roast slices.

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Meal #2:  French Dip Sandwiches

For dinner the next day I used 1/2 of the Pot Roasts leftovers to make French Dip Sandwiches.  I do not have a recipe for this meal.  I butter the insides of hoagie rolls and lay them face up on a cookie sheet.  I stick them under the broiler for a few minutes to get them slightly toasted.  I then just layer cheese (provolone tastes best) and the roast beef slices on the rolls, and cook them for a few more minutes until the cheese is melty.  While they are cooking I follow the directions on the Au Jus packet to make the dipping sauce.  This dinner is SO easy!  I usually serve it with some carrots or celery on the side.

 

Meal #3:  Beef Stew

I was given this recipe to me years ago by a friend.  It has become my go to dinner for winter evenings when all I want is to eat something warm and let the crock pot do all the work.  🙂  It does require a little bit of prep work to chop all the veggies, but once that is done it is an easy recipe.  I am posting the recipe below.  I cut the rest of my leftover stew meat into chunks, put it in the crock pot and mix with the salt and pepper.  Just add the rest of your ingredients, set it to low and let it cook for 6-8 hours.

 

I hope you love these three meal ideas for one roast.  Do you have any great meal ideas from a roast?  Please share them in the comments!

 

Holidays · Recipes · Valentines Day

Chocolate Dipped Valentine Cookies Recipe

This is one of my favorite valentine traditions.  I love baking these for my kiddos and make them every February.   We usually hand some out to friends and neighbors as well. The cream cheese gives the cookie a delicious shortbread flavor and the peppermint extract gives the cookie the perfect amount of light flavor.

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Mix your flour, sugar, butter, cream cheese, egg and peppermint extract together in mixer.  I like this pure peppermint extract.  Beat until well mixed.

Add flour and beat until just mixed.

Divide dough in half. Roll each ball in saran wrap and refrigerate for a couple of hours.

 

Roll dough on a lightly floured surface to 1/4 inch thick and cut with heart shaped cookie cutters.  Place on an ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake in oven for 7 minutes.

Let baked cookies cool completely.  Once cool make your glaze bymelting chocolate with butter in a saucepan over low heat.

Dip cooled cookies in chocolate glaze and place on wax paper or tin foil to harden.  Once hardened store in a covered container in refrigerator.

 

These are delicious!

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Chocolate Dipped Valentine Cookies

Cookie

3/4 cup sugar

1 cup softened butter

3 ounces softened cream cheese

1 egg

1 tsp peppermint extract

3 cups flour

Chocolate

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/4 cup butter

Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Mix sugar, butter, cream cheese, egg and peppermint extract in mixer until light and fluffy.  Add flour and beat until well mixed.

Cut the dough into two half balls.  Wrap the balls in ceran wrap and place in fridge for a couple of hours to chill.

Roll out dough to a 1/4 inch thick.  Cut with heart shaped cookie cutters and place on ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake for 6-7 minutes.

Cool completely.

For the glaze melt butter and chocolate together in saucepan over low heat.  Once melted remove from heat.  Dip cookies into chocolate and let them sit on tin foil or waxed paper.

Store in refrigerator.

Recipes · Valentines Day

Homemade Graham Cracker Recipe

I have a rule.  A little grocery shopping rule to help me stay in my grocery budget.  I am only allowed to go to the grocery store once a week.  If I run out of something earlier in the week or if I realize I forgot something, well that’s just to bad, I have to wait.. I have learned to do without and to use what I have on hand.  Read all about my favorite way to grocery shop here.

This past weekend my kids ate through all of my store bought snacks.  Does anyone else’s kids do that?  I thought I had bought plenty snacks for the week, but we are all out.  I still have two more days until my grocery day.  So, today I decided I needed to whip up a few homemade snacks to help tide my kids over until grocery day.   The more food you make from scratch, the more money you will save.  This graham cracker recipe has been a favorite in our house for years.  It is fairly easy, somewhat healthy, and 100% delicious!

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I use my Blendtec to grind my wheat kernels into wheat flour.  (The Blendtec is one of my most favorite christmas presents ever, but not very budget friendly!  Save your pennies for it though, it’s worth it!)

 

 

Combine flours, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt and soda in mixer.

 

 

Add butter and mix slowly until it turns to crumbs.

 

 

Add vanilla, honey and water.  Mix well.

 

 

Turn onto a floured surface.  Roll out into 1/4 inch thick.  Cut out with your favorite cookie cutters.  We’ve used all shapes and sizes.  It’s fun to mix things up!

 

 

Bake in oven for 10 minutes.  Enjoy!  Hopefully my kids can last on graham crackers and fruit until grocery day!  🙂

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Homemade Graham Crackers

1 1/2 cup wheat flour

1 cup white flour

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 cup butter chilled and cubed

1 tsp vanilla

1/4 honey

1/4 water

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine flours, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt and soda in mixer.

Add butter and mix slowly until it turns to crumbs.

Add vanilla, honey and water.  Mix well.

Turn onto a floured surface.  Roll out into 1/4 inch thick.  Cut out with your favorite cookie cutters.  We’ve used all shapes and sizes.  It’s fun to mix things up!

Bake in oven for 10 minutes.  Enjoy!

Happy Frugal Baking!

Recipes

The absolute easiest Pasta Bake Recipe!

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I got this recipe for an easy Pasta Bake from my sister years and years ago and it soon became an instant hit in my house.  It is full of yummy noodles and cheesy goodness, it also happens to be one of the quickest and easiest dinners I make.  So if you are needing a simple, budget friendly dinner idea, this is for you!  It is perfect for those busy evenings you need to throw something together quick!  I am pretty sure it is impossible to mess this recipe up!

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Dump a box of pasta into a casserole dish.  I usually use rotini or penne, but occasionally I will use macaroni pasta.  It just depends on what I have on hand.

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Pour a jar of spaghetti sauce and water over the pasta.  You can also add olives or mushrooms.  Stir it all up and put it in the oven.

After 20 minutes take it out of the oven and sprinkle cheese evenly on top.  Bake for another 10 minutes or until cheese is melted.

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Take it out of the oven and ENJOY!  My entire family loves this meal!

 

Pasta Bake

1 box pasta

24 oz. spaghetti sauce

12 oz. water

olive or mushrooms optional

1 cup mozzarella cheese

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Stir pasta, spaghetti sauce, water and olives and mushrooms in 9X13 casserole dish.  Bake in oven for 20 minutes.  Sprinkle mozzarella cheese on top.  Bake another 10 minutes or until cheese is melted.

For the kids · Free Fun · Good Ideas · Parenting · Recipes

Our Favorite Play dough Recipe

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Making a batch of play dough with my kids is one of my favorite things.  It is a quick, and easy activity and the kids love getting to help make it.

I have tried a lot of play dough recipes over the years, and I mean A LOT!  My friend shared a recipe with me a few years ago and it instantly became my favorite.  I haven’t looked back since.  This recipe is so easy!  You probably already have all of the ingredients on hand and will be able to whip it together in 15 minutes.

First, mix 1 cup water, 2 TBSP oil and a few drops of food coloring together in a pot over medium heat.  My preschooler always gets to choose the color and today he chose green.  Picking the color is probably his favorite part!  🙂

 

Next, add 1 cup flour, 1/2 cup salt and 1 tsp cream of tartar.  Stir this continually while heating.

 

Keep stirring until the play dough begins to form a ball.

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It doesn’t look pretty right now, but I promise, it will!  Take it out of the pan and begin kneading with your hands.  It might be hot right at first, it cools down fairly fast.

 

It only takes a few minutes of kneading until it is ready for your kids to cut into!

 

All that’s left to do is pull out all your cookie cutters and silverware and enjoy a fun frugal afternoon playing with your sweet kids!

I usually store this in my fridge for a few weeks and it keeps great!

 

Parenting · Recipes

My favorite easy Homemade Pizza Crust Recipe

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One of my families favorite traditions is Friday Night Pizza and Family Movie Night.  I started making homemade pizza instead of ordering take out.  It has been such a good change.  It saves us a lot of money not having to pay for take out.  It also tastes so so so much better than any of your regular pizza chain.  ANNNNDDD it’s healthier.  So basically a win all around in my book.  I wanted to share with you my favorite pizza crust recipe I have found.  I hope your family will love it as much as mine.

 

Sweet Frugal Life

Homemade Pizza Crust

2 ¼ tsp yeast

1 cup warm water (baby bath temp)

2 TBSP olive oil

1 tsp salt

2 ¼  cups flour

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

In mixer lightly mix water and yeast together.  Let sit for 5-10 minutes until it becomes frothy.

Add the oil, salt, sugar and flour to the yeast mixture.  Mix well.  You may need a little less or little more flour.  You want the dough to bounce back if you poke it.  I also usually keep the dough slightly sticky.

Put dough into greased bowl and cover with a dishcloth.  Let rise for 30-60 minutes until doubled.  I will usually put it next to the flour or in the sun to speed up the rising process.

Place dough on lightly floured surface.  Roll out into a pizza shape.  (If you don’t have a pizza pan, just use a cookie sheet.  It works great!)  Place on greased pan.  Poke all over with a fork.  Cover with your favorite toppings.

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Bake for 15 minutes or until cheese is melted and crust is golden brown.

Enjoy!

Good Ideas · Recipes

Quick and Easy Overnight Oatmeal

Getting my three kids ready for school in the morning is no easy task.  The mornings are always hectic and I am always on the search for ways to make it smoother and easier.   I was so happy a few years ago when I learned how to make overnight oats.  Not only is it EASY (check), and QUICK (check), it is also HEALTHY and BUDGET FRIENDLY (check and check!).  I will make a dozen or so of these every Monday and keep them in the fridge handy for quick breakfasts throughout the week.  The best part of overnight oats is that they are so easy to customize anyway your kiddos would like them best.

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I always make these in mason jars I have on hand in the house.  First, I add one cup of oatmeal.

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Now add one cup of milk.  I have done almond milk, regular cows milk, and water.  They have all turned out great!  I have heard of some people using yogurt.  Try what works best for you.

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Now comes the fun customizing part.  Add 1 Tablespoon of sweetener.  I have used honey, syrup, white sugar and brown sugar.  I prefer brown sugar, but all of them have turned out tasty.  I also add about a handful of fruit.  Our favorites are frozen blueberries or raspberries.  We have  tried diced apples and canned peaches as well.  Mix it up and try different combos to keep it interesting.

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Now put the lid back on the mason jar.  Shake it up real good.

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After you finish shaking put the jar in the refrigerator.  It will need to sit in there for at least 10 hours.  These will keep in the fridge for a few days.  I make a bunch of jars up on Monday and use them throughout the week.

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I hope you love these Quick and Easy Overnight Oats as much as we do!