Frugal Recipes Happenings ~ Autumn 2018

Happy Autumn! It is my favorite time of year. Last night, Zowie and Devan brought my grandchildren for a Halloween visit. Little Man was a witch, and Little Miss a pumpkin. I made up treat bags for Little Man and his parents, and gave Little Miss (almost four months old!) a little stuffed witch. Before they got there, I watched old episodes of The Adam’s Family. Then, while they were there I played Double, Double, Toil and Trouble – the girls and I used to watch that when they were young. When they left, I watched Stephen King’s Sometimes They Come Back, and ate peanut butter cups. And I went to bed early. Not the grandest of Halloweens, but I was exhausted. How was your Halloween?

I’m so over horror movies for the year, probably since I’ve been watching them since the first of September, haha. I am still enjoying Riverdale, though, and started watching the new Charmed, and Legacies. During October I also enjoyed watching The Chilling Adventures of SabrinaCastle Rock, and The Haunting of Hill House.

I love the chilliness in the air, watching the leaves change, the smell of the changing season, and I love to do more cooking this time of year: Pineapple  -keilbasa soup, harvest salad, chili, and more. And I drink more chai tea. Yum!

I’m very excited about Thanksgiving. Well, our early Thanksgiving celebration that Zowie is putting on for the family. We are using the community building where she lives, and my sister and I have both offered to go early and start the meal while Zowie works. Sheila has some foods she’ll be making, and I’m in charge of making cheesecakes. My daughter Skye, and her boyfriend Ryan, will be supplying some alcohol for the get-together, but no one will be drinking much.

What are you doing for Thanksgiving? Since I live alone, I no longer make an entire meal on the big day. Also, I’m usually working. But I do like to cook something to celebrate. I wanted to share a few recipes with you:

If I were going to make an entire Thanksgiving meal on my own, and if I had a real freezer and not just a dorm size fridge in the room I rent, I would plan for leftovers to have over the next couple of months. These recipes utilize Thanksgiving leftovers:

Enjoy the rest of autumn, time with family, and the delicious tastes of autumn.

Love and Light,

Shannon

Frugal Recipes Happenings ~ Spring 2018

Yesterday was the first day of spring, but you wouldn’t know it with all the snow and cold. I took out the trash this morning and there was no hint of spring in the air or on the ground. Brrrr.

But I know it will be here soon enough. The warmer days. The buds on the trees. The tulips starting to pop up from the ground. Soon.

With the onset of spring, I always start bringing back lighter food choices. I don’t want the heartier meals of fall and as winter much. I’d rather eat more salads and drink more healthy smoothies. All of this, of course, packs one heck of a nutritional punch each day. Are you noticing you are having different cravings? Are smoothies even affordable? If you make them yourself they are far more affordable that buying one when out and about. Be prepared: Bring one with you.

I’ve been reworking some of the older posts that used to populate this blog, making them healthier – testing them out – and I’ve started to put some of them back. I’ve also posted a couple of new ones. And I’m planning to experiment with a few new recipes. If they turn out well, I’ll be sharing them here on the blog.

I don’t have a lot planned for spring. Once the weather turns nice, I’ll be out and about more: Walking, taking pictures. I may picnic in the park once or twice this season. Maybe ask a few people to join me one time, and use the other to work on writing related things.

It’s also almost time to switch to iced mint tea when writing at Aroma Joe’s. I love my tea iced. I’m working on a new story series while there, about stalkers. I’ve published a few other stories this winter. If you care to check them out, I’m sharing them below.

Something my daughter did for her husband, both Harry Potter fans, was to create for him a Harry Potter themed birthday party. It took her days to prepare for it. She invited a couple of his friends. He and Little Man enjoyed it, as did his friends. My daughter, being pregnant with her second child, tired herself right out with it all, but she said it was worth it. She’d spent three days cooking for it, as well as working at her job.

If you haven’t seen these yet, this is what I’ve put on the blog recently:

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck, copyright 2017.Fruity Cocoa Goodness (Smoothie)

Quick Tip: Using Leftovers to Make Smoothies

I Bought Me Presents!

Quick Tip: Keep a Few Homemade Single Serve Meals on Hand

Invest n Containers for Meal Prep

Quick Tip: Plan Meals AFTER You Shop

I also wrote a short piece on the USDA Thrifty Food Plan for January 2018. Want to know how your family stacks up? Find out what you have to spend to be considered a thrifty shopper.

I know that sometimes, even though we want to eat healthy, we simply do not have the money to do so. I try to keep the recipes here on the blog affordable & healthy, but at times we need recipes for the ingredients and foods we can afford on an even tighter budget. I’ve got your back! These frugal recipe cookbooks are on sale at this time.

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Fabulously Frugal Fruits: Recipes and Uses ($1.99)

Very Frugal Vegetables: Recipes and Uses ($1.99)

Beverages on a Budget ($1.99)

Main Meal Magic ($1.99)

As Always, Frugal Ways to Save Money in the Kitchen + Frugal Recipes for the Health Conscious costs nothing. Enjoy! And Check out Keeping the Single Mom Home: The Kitchen for $1.99.

Enjoy the recipes, books, and articles in this newsletter. Again, I’m so happy to be writing Frugal Recipes Happenings back here on the site.

Here are the fiction books I indicated I’d share. If you like reading fiction, but don’t have a lot of time on your hands like so many these days, these are short stories that can be read quickly.

The Old Shack in the Woods ($1.99)

My Mother ($1.99)

Find out about my other books + over on the fiction blog!

Enjoy spring!

Shannon

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quick Tip: Keep a Few Homemade Single-Serve Meals on Hand

You never know when you may need one. In a hurry and need a meal for work? Grab a container of chili-topped squash or sweet potato from the freezer? Not feeling good and don’t want to cook? Take out a container of chicken noodle soup and heat it in the microwave.

It’s easy to prepare these extra meals without too much extra effort. Simply make a little more than you need at each meal, and freeze a meal or two from that. Here are some recipes that lend themselves well to freezer storage.

Label each container with the meal name and the date it should be eaten by.

Shannon

Frugal Recipes Happenings, Winter 2018

Some of you will remember when I used to publish this newsletter right here on the blog. It was a long time ago. I’ve tried two other platforms for publishing since then, but neither was the same as posting straight to this blog. So I am posting here again. It feels more comfortable. The way it should be.

I will be combining all the old newsletter issues and other items into an ebook to offer free to anyone who wants it, like I did with Frugal Ways to Save Money in the Kitchen + Frugal Recipes for the Health Conscious. (Grab your free copy if you haven’t already!) I’m not sure when the new eBook will be ready, but I’ll announce it here on Frugal Recipes when it is.

Photograph copyright January 2018 by Shannon L. Buck. http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/shannonbuckThe temperatures here in Maine have been atrocious, making walking outside impossible. We’re finally getting a break from the extreme cold, though, so I have had a couple of opportunities to do some walking. Thank goodness! Walking always helps me to clear my head, and it helps to get the creative juices flowing. It refreshes the soul.

Some of the ideas that came to me during the first walk after that cold snap had to do with cooking and other kitchen related things. I have new recipes I want to experiment with, some crafty things I would like to do, and some nutritional things I want to learn more about. That’s also when I decided to move the newsletter back here, and create a freebie for you all out of the old issues.

All this means some exciting things for the Frugal Recipes blog, for you, and even for me! Visit often to see what I will be sharing, and let me know what you think of the things here on the blog – either by commenting on individual posts, or by emailing me at shannonlbuck@gmail.com. I would love to hear from you. 🙂

And please remember, I’m always here to offer up advice when funds are low and you’re not sure what to do.I love hearing from you.

The holidays were a stressful but fun time. I had to work, but I also found some time to spend with my family. Skye had moved back home in October, and Zowie and Devan brought Little Man for a couple of nights just before Christmas. Unfortunately, with my work schedule, I was not able to keep Little Man over night during their stay – which is something I always try to do.

Photograph copyright January 2018 by Zowie Arnold. http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/shannonbuckWhile I missed having our little slumber party, I still got to spend plenty of time with him. And before he left on Christmas Eve morning, he told me he loved me and wanted to stay with me forever. Awww ❤ My heart just melted.

We all went to my parents place on the 23rd, to celebrate with other family members, and then we moved our little party to my bosses office at work for my evening shift. The inn is not busy this time of year, so we were able to open our gifts to each other without too many distractions.

Zowie made everyone homemade marshmallows and homemade hot cocoa mix. Both were wonderfully delicious! I take full credit for her cooking and baking abilities.

My stepfather made his baked beans (my favorite!), and wieners (haha), and he and mom made fudge and snickerdoodles, for everyone to have have at their house. They even bought Governor’s rolls. Yum! I brought a vegetable tray, purchased at Walmart. Unfortunately, I had to work so much at the holidays that I did not get to enjoy the baking and cooking. But I sure did have enough leftovers of beans, rolls, and vegetables to last a few shifts at work.

However, the bestest and I did have our baking day earlier in the month. This was our third year.

Photograph copyright December 16, 2017 by Shannon L. Buck. http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/shannonbuckWe bake for whoever we will be seeing during the few day period after the baking date. For me, this was my coworkers, my sister, and everyone at Katie’s house. Together Missy and I put together baskets of goodies for a couple of long-time friends. One went to my friend Bob, who has been a friend to my family maybe longer than I have been alive. The other was for Dwight, best guy friend of the bestest’s since she was little. We spoiled them.

I also dropped a tin of goodies of to my friend Jesse at work on our way to back Orono. She had worked for me that night so I could have the entire day for baking, and I wanted to show her my appreciation. I knew lemon treats were her favorite, and that she loved no-bakes, so I made homemade lemon pound cake for the first time, and no-bakes – along with homemade gingerbread, and cookie bars.

The bestest made banana bread, Chinese noodles, and Christmas candies, and I helped her drizzle chocolate over pretzels. Our people were well taken care of. ❤

Have you noticed that the holidays are very food-centered? Even our work party centers around the food. This year, our boss took us to Governor’s, where they serve home-cooked style meals. The food was so good.

And my friend Jesse dropped me off a bag of treats and a scarf at work, which made my day. (And I just love when people help me to expand my fancy scarf collection!)

The previous year there were just so many bad-for-you foods, that even my mom commented that it was too much. So many of us didn’t feel good after a month of eating those foods, that I made the decision to not eat as much of the junk stuff this year as I used to. I’m happy to report that I came out of the holidays season feeling much better this year. While I didn’t give up the treats entirely, I did consume much less than in previous years.

Have you changed the way you’ve been eating at the holidays? I’m always trying to eat healthier. I love how I feel when I’m eating good-for-you foods rather than junk and overly processed foods. How about you?

With winter in full swing, I wanted to share some recipes with you. This tasty beef soup recipe will get you started. And why not enjoy some hot mulled cider or festive hot cocoa after spending a day shoveling. It’s definitely the time of year for soups and casseroles, and a good time to experiment with your own versions of both. I’d love to hear the results!

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck, copyright March 11. 2017. http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/shannonbuckHeartier breakfasts are also welcome this time of year. Try pancakes with apple-maple syrup, an apple and sausage or banana and sausage oatmeal bowl, a corned beef and potatoes one pan meal, or a turkey and sausage one.

Egg scrambles are delicious as well. Try a turkey and squash or a turkey and tomato one. I also have a couple of omelet recipes you’ll like: Zucchini and carrot, and a spinach option.

I recently added a couple of recipes that will go nicely with many desserts. They use coconut cream as a base, and you add flavoring. I’m still experimenting with this one, and I figure you might want to do the same. Try the vanilla coconut cream and the peppermint coconut cream, and then try other flavoring options. Let me know how it goes!

 

A few of the things I’m using regularly in an effort to eat in a healthier way.

  • organic coconut oil
  • organic, raw honey
  • Vermont and Maine maple syrups
  • organic almond flour
  • organic almond butter
  • organic coconut flour
  • organic, unsweetened coconut flakes
  • baker’s cocoa made with 100% cacao

Healthy eating is different for each person. My way may not be right for you. It’s great if you have a doctor and nutritionist to work with. I can’t afford that, so I’m trying to figure it out on my own. I know that when I am eating about 80% Paleo or Whole30, I am losing weight and feeling great. That is what I’m striving for. I won’t lie though, it’s not always easy on my budget.

What food adventures will you take this winter? Let us know.

Shannon

shannonlbuck@gmail.com

eCover by Shannon L. Buck via Canva. Copyright December 2017. https://www.amazon.com/Dont-Go-Into-Woods-Alone-ebook/dp/B078H6T3FJ/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8P. S. I have a few things going on this year. First of all, I’d like anyone interested in creating the life of their dreams to check out my site at shannonlbuck.com. The site is called Create Your Success and while it could mean career-wise, it actually deals with all aspects of life.

Second, I have been writing fiction for some time now and I sell short stories on Amazon. If you’re a reader, I’d sure appreciate it if you would have a look and see if there is anything you are interested in. I’d also appreciate reviews!

And third, I also have a fiction blog you will enjoy, and would love it if you would sign up for my fiction mailing list to be one of the first to know about new releases, as well as letters about my fiction writing. Thank you so much!

 

Homemade Food Gifts: Baked Goods

The most frugal way to make these foods is from scratch. Admittedly, I often use boxed items when I’m able to purchase them on sale, with a coupon. They can be pretty affordable just before and during the holidays. The trick to doing this in the most frugal manner possible is by figuring out whether it is cheaper to bake from scratch or a box when all factors are added in, or deducted 🙂 Be sure to factor in home preserved produce for the food items that have fruit as an ingredient.
Just a note: These are not healthy baked-goods. But most people on my gift list won’t likely eat healthy versions. They like what they are used to. So yes, I give sweets at the holidays. Also, I don’t think it is necessarily bad to treat yourself once-in-a-while. You just don’t want to make a habit of it.

Fill baskets with one or more of the following:

  • HM (Homemade) quick breads
  • Quick breads from a box: Lemon poppy seed, apple cinnamon, pumpkin and cinnamon swirl are all tasty options.
  • Brownies
  • HM pumpkin chocolate chip cookies or bars.
  • HM sugar cookies decorated with colored sugars or icings.
  • HM apple or zucchini bars with chocolate chips.
  • HM mints

Tips

  • To save money on electricity, I bake multiple items at once.
  • To save time, I mix up multiple batches at once in large bowls.
  • To save a few more pennies, when mixing up multiple batches I delete and egg or two.
  • To save more money, I use small or medium eggs – or large depending on what is on sale. You can use any size eggs in baking, even if large eggs are specifically called for. 1 small or medium egg = 1 large egg.
  • Use mini loaf pans, if possible.
  • Use mini decorative cake pans for breads, bars and cakes.

What homemade baked goods do you make to give as holiday gifts? Please share with us in the comments below.

Shannon

 

Homemade Food Gifts: Herbed Butters

Purchase sweet butter in large packages, preferably on sale. Generic and store brand butter is fine. Use a coupon if you have one.

Herbed butters are simple to make, and can be made up to three months before the date they will be given as gifts. Simply freeze them in 1/2 or 1 pint canning jars, or other thick jars that have been saved and cleaned for this purpose. Be sure to sterilize the jars before using them.

Two days before you wish to give the gifts, take the butters out of the freezer and place them into the refrigerator. The next day, you will want to tie a square or round of fabric over the jars’ lid with raffia or twine. Add a tag or a sticker with the name of each butter and its’ ingredients, as well as a line that reads ‘From the Kitchen of (Your Name).’

RATIO: 1/2 cup butter to 1 Tablespoon of herb or herb combination. Mix it all up well. (May need to be remixed before giving as a gift.)

USE: Herbs fresh from the garden or pot. Wash and mince them before use.

Variations:

  • Dill and mint
  • Garlic and marjoram
  • Parsley

Experiment with different herbs and combinations of herbs.

NOTE: These jars of butter do not need processing.

What combinations of herbs do you use when making butter? Please share your experiences with us in the comments below.

Shannon

References:

Rodale’s Illustrated Encyclopedia of Herbs (1987, Rodale Press)

Watermelon and Blueberries with Coconut Cream

I love melons and berries, and find combining the two makes for some tasty recipes. These combinations are great for spring and summer.

This recipe makes a great side dish to any meal, but will also make a delicious snack or dessert.

Ingredients

1 cup cubed or balled seedless watermelon

½ cup blueberries

2 to 3 tablespoons coconut cream flavored with pure vanilla or mint extract to taste

  1. Rinse the blueberries well. Lay them out one towel and pat dry with a towel.

  2. Place the watermelon and blueberries in a salad bowl, and top with coconut cream.

Tips

  • To save money, use fresh produce from your own garden.

Serving Suggestions

Shannon

Lettuce Wraps: Shrimp Scampi & Veggie

In Lettuce Wraps: Keepin’ it Veggie, I mentioned I bought shrimp, and will be posting some recipes that use shrimp scampi as their base. I don’t often by shrimp, so this is a real treat. I get a bag frozen raw, deveined, tail-off, shrimp for $5.00, and it will last through multiple meals. I try to buy the small ones, that come at least 60 (or as many as 80) per bag, and make a half a shrimp scampi recipe, keeping the rest of the shrimp frozen for another batch later on.

I cook the shrimp scampi and use it up over the course of a day-and-a-half, because I am super picky about seafood and freshness. Maybe over-picky, I’m not sure. But I’m okay with it. I just need to eat the shrimp quickly.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck, copyright 2017. http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/shannonbuck

 

 

Don’t these wraps look delicious? Try them for yourself!

Ingredients

(For two wraps.)

8 shrimp from the shrimp scampi recipe (I use this recipe from Paleoplan.com) (Hot or cold, does not matter.)

2 romaine lettuce leaves, rinsed and patted dry with a towel

shredded green cabbage

4 cucumber slices

4 zucchini slices

  1. Place the wraps flat on a plate.
  2. Sprinkle shredded cabbage over the wraps.
  3. Cut the cucumber and zucchini slices into fourths.
  4. Top the cabbage with the cucumber and zucchini.
  5. Add 4 shrimp to each wrap.
  6. Enjoy!

It’s that simple. Give it a try!

Tips

  • Use different types of leaf lettuce each time you make these.
  • Try different types of vegetables, such as broccoli.
  • Try other types of seafood.
  • Use leftover veggies to lower the cost.

Serving Suggestions

Share your veggie wrap ideas with us.

Shannon

Lettuce Wraps: Keepin’ it Veggie

I’ve wanted to get away from eating the heavier foods of winter, and back into eating lighter fare. I’m switching things out as I can, now that the winter stocks are almost depleted. The last shopping trip netted me many fresh fruits and vegetables at a reasonable cost. I love it when I can pull that off. The only meat I bought was shrimp, and I have a few recipes coming up for that. (So come back often this month to see what else is on the site!)

But this recipe is strictly vegetables. If you’re wondering about protein, this recipe does provide that, and many other nutrients. Meats aren’t the only foods you can get protein from, thank goodness. I don’t always want meat. As a matter-of-fact, the reason I made these wraps was because I wasn’t into eating meat on that particular day.

I just wanted my veggies!

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck, copyright 2017. http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/shannonbuck

Don’t these wraps look good? Try them for yourself!

Ingredients

(For two wraps.)

2 romaine lettuce leaves, rinsed and patted dry with a towel

shredded green cabbage

4 cucumber slices

4 zucchini slices

  1. Place the wraps flat on a plate.
  2. Sprinkle shredded cabbage over the wraps.
  3. Cut the cucumber and zucchini slices into fourths.
  4. Top the cabbage with the cucumber and zucchini.
  5. Enjoy!

It’s that simple. These wraps are so versatile they can be used as sides or snacks, or could even count as a whole meal.

Tips

  • Use different types of leaf lettuce each time you make these.
  • Try different types of vegetables, such as broccoli.
  • Add some sliced strawberry for a sweet kick.
  • Use leftover veggies to lower the cost.

Serving Suggestions

Share your veggie wrap ideas with us.

Shannon

 

Blueberry-Strawberry Parfait

I love parfaits during the spring and summer months. This berry based parfait is easy to make for a quick snack any time, and a little dark chocolate can be added if it is to be consumed as a dessert.

Ingredients

blueberries

strawberries

coconut cream flavored with pure vanilla extract

unsweetened coconut flakes (optional)

Paleo granola (optional)

dark chocolate chips (optional)

  1. Rinse the berries well, and lay them out on a towel to dry for a few minutes.

  2. Slice the strawberries, disposing of the tops.

  3. Layer the ingredients like so: Coconut cream, blueberries, strawberry slices. Do this, being sure the top layer is of coconut cream when done. Sprinkle Paleo granola over the top, and some dark chocolate chips if desired.

Tips

  • To save money, grow your own berries.

  • Try other berries when in season.

Serving Suggestions

  • Serve with a vegetable-based salad on a warm day.

 

Shannon