In the Kitchen

Ideas for Using Garden Veggies Series: Recipes Using Fresh Spinach

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by Cassie on July 8, 2014

fresh-spinach-recipe-collectionIt’s garden season and we are going to share a fun, yummy, helpful, fruitful (in a veggie kind a way :)) series with fellow bloggers on Ideas for Using Garden Veggies so that you can make the most of your gardening efforts.

We have spent so much of our time sharing so many gardening ideas on our Garden Gallery of Ideas HERE, Pinterest HERE and Facebook HERE that we hope you are seeing some incredible results with your homegrown food supply.  And, as always, we will continue to share gardening tips and ideas on all our site.

But, what about ideas on how to use your veggies?  You grew them, now use them!

First up in our series is Fresh Spinach!! Oh YUM! This is a FAVORITE in our house.  Spinach graces our table at least once a week, if not a few more times…. especially when it is in season!

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The first feature is this luscious Warm Spinach Salad with Bacon and Mushroom. You know how the old saying goes… “everything’s better with bacon on it…” at least that’s what Alex and the kids think! You will find the recipe for the Bacon and Mushroom Sautéed Spinach on A Frugal Chick site HERE.

Now for even more ideas, a popular way that we eat spinach is just plain ol’, good ol’ raw spinach! Basically, a spinach salad!

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This Strawberry Spinach Salad with Homemade Berry Vinaigrette is a huge hit and uses even more of your fresh garden foods!

In addition, you can make any salad from spinach with just the right dressing.  Pour olive oil and vinegar and sprinkle with salt and pepper – an all-time, penny pinchin’ favorite ’round our table!

But, topped with some nice homemade buttermilk ranch dressing, or even 5-minute emergency ranch dressing when you are short on time is a spinach salad comfort food!

For more yummy goodness, here’s the links to many other recipes using fresh spinach on our site. *Note, our second favorite use, or the “we need to use this” are in morning smoothies! It’s the best!

So what plans do you have for your spinach? 

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Keep watching for more ideas on using your garden veggies as we have many more veggies recipes and ideas to share this summer with you as you make the most of your garden and farmer’s market finds! 

See more Recipes

See our Recipe Pinterest Board

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Alex & Cassie
 

10 Fun, Festive, Yummy Patriotic Dessert Recipes

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by Cassie on June 16, 2014

10-patriotic-yummy-and-easy-desserts

Earlier, we shared patriotic treats using fresh fruit, well now we wanted to share some dessert ideas that are cute and festive for your patriotic celebrations this coming July 4th. Fourth of July recipes are so fun and there are hundreds of ideas and we hope these treats will give you ideas and inspiration to get your party rolling!

01 - Sugar Bee Crafts - Red White and Blue Candy Kabobs-sm

Red, White and Blue Patriotic Candy Kabobs @ Sugar Bee Crafts HERE

18 - Chic n Savvy Reviews - Red White and Blue Jello Bites-sm

 Red, White and Blue Jello Bites Recipe @ Chic N Savvy Reviews HERE 

12 - Its Yummi - Old Glory Cupcakes-sm

Old Glory Patriotic Cupcakes Recipe @ It’s Yummi HERE

02 - Just Us Four Blog - Marshmallow Firecrackers-sm

Red, White and Blue Marshmallow Firecracker Pops Recipe @ Just Us Four Blog HERE 

09 - This Mama Loves - Fourth of July Popcorn Crunch-sm

Patriotic Popcorn Crunch Recipe @ This Mama Loves HERE 

07 - Simplee Thrifty - Patriotic Pudding Pops-sm

Patriotic Pudding Pops Recipe @ Simplee Thrifty HERE

24 - Who Needs a Cape - Patriotic Cake Batter Truffles-sm

Patriotic No-Bake Cake Batter Truffles Recipe @ Who Needs a Cape HERE

10 - Im Topsy Turvy - July 4th Fireworks Cupcakes-sm

Red, White and Blue Fireworks Cupcakes Recipe @ I’m Topsy Turvy HERE 

21 - Mama LIkes to Cook - White Chocolate Berry Recipes-sm

Patriotic Berry Crepes Recipe @ Mama Likes to Cook HERE

25 - A Step in the Journey - Independence Day Cookie Pops-sm

Independence Day Cookie Pops Recipe @ A Step in the Journey HERE 

See more Recipes HERE

See our 4th of July Recipes Pinterest Board HERE

See our 4th of July Decor Ideas Pinterest Board HERE

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Alex & Cassie
 

How to Make Hollandaise Sauce In a Mixer or Blender – Quick, Easy and Tasty Recipe

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by Cassie on April 9, 2014

easy-hollandaise-sauce-recipe

There is a very easy, very creamy, very yummy, very quick way to whip up Hollandaise Sauce.  We have Hollandaise sauce a couple of times a month on eggs benedict and on roasted asparagus.  It is a favorite sauce in our house!

I use to do the double broiler thing, which was tedious, time consuming, and finicky!

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Then I heard about someone using their blender to make Hollandaise sauce.  Well, I decided to try it in my Kitchenaid Mixer and it worked like a dream and I have done this ever since…. so I thought it was time to share it with you!

Here’s how to do this in either a blender or a mixer!

What you need:

  • 3 egg yolks
  • 8 TBSP of butter (1/2 cup or whole cube)
  • 1 TBSP lemon or lime juice
  • A couple of dashes of Cayenne Pepper (Tabasco or Frank’s Red Hot works too!)
  • Optional: 1/2 tsp mustard – we don’t use it as we like the other flavors alone, but classic Hollandaise does have it.

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First, put the eggs, lemon juice and Cayenne Pepper (and mustard if using) in the bowl of the mixer or blender.  Blend on medium speed for about 2 minutes.

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While this is blending, melt the butter completely in the microwave or stovetop until hot.  Important: dump the butter into the mixer or blender immediately while it is at it’s hottest.

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Then turn the mixer or blender to high speed and mix/blend for about 4-5 minutes until your Hollandaise is a nice creamy texture!

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Then serve it immediately in your favorite dish, recipe or vegetable…. like Asparagus!

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A couple of notes:

  • You cannot successfully reheat Hollandaise sauce.  It will cause separation and lumpiness.  You can re-blend it and add a bit of hot melted butter, but this is the only way.  So make it moments before you need it.
  • The hot butter and the friction from the machines is enough heat to safely heat the eggs for consumption.  We’ve made this several times and it is heated perfectly this way.

Here’s a printable recipe for you to print and keep in your home binder!

How to Make Hollandaise Sauce In a Mixer or Blender - Quick, Easy and Tasty Recipe
Print
Recipe type: Sauce
Author:
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 6
Here is a very easy, very creamy, very yummy, very quick way to whip up Hollandaise Sauce
Ingredients
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 8 TBSP of butter (1/2 cup or whole cube)
  • 1 TBSP lemon or lime juice
  • A couple of dashes of Cayenne Pepper (Tabasco or Frank's Red Hot works too!)
  • Optional: ½ tsp mustard - we don't use it as we like the other flavors alone, but classic Hollandaise does have it.
Instructions
  1. First, put the eggs, lemon juice and Cayenne Pepper (and mustard if using) in the bowl of the mixer or blender. Blend on medium speed for about 2 minutes.
  2. While this is blending, melt the butter completely in the microwave or stovetop until hot. Important: dump the butter into the mixer or blender immediately while it is at it's hottest.
  3. Then turn the mixer or blender to high speed and mix/blend for about 4-5 minutes until your Hollandaise is a nice creamy texture!
  4. Then serve it immediately in your favorite dish, recipe or vegetable.... like Asparagus!
Notes
You cannot successfully reheat Hollandaise sauce. It will cause separation and lumpiness. You can re-blend it and add a bit of hot melted butter, but this is the only way. So make it moments before you need it.
• The hot butter and the friction from the machines is enough heat to safely heat the eggs for consumption. We've made this several times and it is heated perfectly this way.

 See more Recipes

See our Recipes Pinterest Board

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Alex & Cassie
 

12 Yummy Pecan Dessert Recipes

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by Cassie on April 2, 2014

12-pecan-recipes

Pecans are perfect any time of year, with any special occasion and just because.  So we wanted to share some recipes with you that all use pecans!

Here’s 12 delicious recipes to enjoy those pecans!

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Glazed Butter Pecan Toffee Cookies | Couponing and Cooking

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Mini Apple Pecan Pies | Food Done Light

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Brownie Pecan Tart | Confessions of An Overworked Mom

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Baked Brown Sugar Pecan & Brie Bites | Couponing and Cooking

pecan-pie

 Pecan Pie Bread Pudding | Call Me PMC

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White Chocolate Pecan Popcorn Crunch | SusieQTpies Cafe

And even more shown from the top picture:

Easy Butterscotch Pecan Cinnamon Rolls | Mom on Timeout

Pecan pumpkin roll cake | Roxana’s Home Baking

Bourbon Pecan Pie | My Turn for Us

Pumpkin Dump Cake | illi Style

Chocolate Pecan Sandies | Mom on Timeout

Spiced Pecans | A Family Feast

See even more Recipes on our site HERE

See our Recipe Pinterest Board HERE 

 

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Alex & Cassie
 

Why It’s Important To Create a Menu or Meal Plan (Different Ideas and Free Download Menu Planner)

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by Cassie on March 12, 2014

why-its-important-to-create-menu-and-meal-plan-grey

As a reminder, the 30 Be Intentional baby steps are designed to get you on the right foot, the right track and give you energy, efficiency and organization which will propel you into a life that is able to develop an overall financially smart, happy and frugal home. We encourage couples and families to do these challenges together so the whole house can function well!

As the 30 steps go along, we will be focusing on 5 areas for the Be Intentional Month:

  • Self
  • Home
  • Budget
  • Schedule
  • Frugality

See the full list of baby steps HERE.

Now we are really starting to head into some nitty-gritty of frugal habits you and your household can develop to help you meet your frugal and financial goals!

This next one is probably something you may already be doing, but it is good to be committed to doing it and reminded to do it and perhaps find some new resources or ideas!

Be Intentional Baby Step #23

Menu Planning

You probably have heard and even experienced just how an organized and financial smart household menu plans! Well, that’s because it is both!

First, here’s why it’s important to menu plan:

  • Saves time
  • Saves money by eating out less
  • Saves money by using the right tools to help you eat all of the food in your house to prevent food waste
  • Saves sanity – sometimes it can be frustrating standing in the kitchen trying to throw something together – often, you want to pull out your hair.  Well, spend a few minutes once a week to plan your menu so you can save your hair… I mean sanity!
  • Creates a nice dinner and family atmosphere when you have a plan and when you are intentional about meal time.  Focus more on family time around the table rather than in the kitchen!

There are literally dozens of different ways to menu plan.  We are going to share some ideas along with a favorite weekly menu planning tool that we use that makes our meals frugal, fun, different and saves loads of money by reducing food waste too!

First, here are some common ways to plan a menu:

  • Having theme nights each week – for example, Monday is Mexican night, Tuesday is Asian night, Wednesday is Italian Night, Thursday is All-American night, etc.   Then based on these themes, you plan foods to go with it.  For example, you can take the Mexican night and one night have enchiladas, another Monday have tacos, another Monday have Fajitas, another Monday is taco soup…. etc. and plan out 4-6 weeks worth of menus for each night based on those themes. It is a fun and organized way to plan.
  • Take your top 6, 12 or 18 meals (as sample numbers) and rotate through, meaning start at #1 and next day is #2 until you get to the number of meal favorites your family has and then start the list over.  This is a very simple one and a great way to ensure that your family is getting their favorites often and it also makes for very easy shopping.
  • Planning meals based on the store sales.  This is a popular one as many think that this is one of the best ways to save money on your meals.  I actually disagree and I do not think it is very productive financially to meal plan this way.  It is going to be talked about in another theme in a future month as it is too much information to summarize as to why this isn’t smart, but if you are doing this now, stick with it for now as it is better to meal plan than not at all as it still saves you money, time and your sanity.  Then you can see what we are talking about in a later month to see if you want to change your perspective :)
  • Meal plan based on Pinterest and fun recipes you find.  Now while this sounds like a fun and exciting way to meal plan, a fun way to try new things and to have some fun in the kitchen, it is also the most expensive one! It is not cost effective to buy recipe ingredients when you need them – that is when they cost the most.  However, you can do this frugally if you have a filled pantry and a bit of creativity to change the recipes up to match what you have – then by all means, have at it :)
  • Finally, the way that we meal plan is based on what we have on hand.  I do not consider the store flyers when I meal plan, I merely look to my own shelves, fridge and pantry. I LOVE this method as it allows creativity, new things, old favorites, and allows me to stick to my budget, eat healthy, and use up all of my perishables! 

So since I do that last one, how do I do it? 

no-waste-food-menu-planning-download

I use our “No Food Waste Menu Planner.” This is a FREE download for you to use, so be sure not to miss it and download yours! 

We have a full tutorial on how this No Food Waste Menu Planner can work for you to save you tons of time and money.  We suggest heading to our original post HERE for the full details.

In addition, we also suggest that you see our Menu Planning Page HERE with many more resources for planning meals and menus!

The point of this baby step is to get into the habit of menu planning no matter how you do it! 

One final thing….. we also have a Facebook Group where you can engage in discussions, receive encouragement and talk to others that are participating in the challenges too for more ideas! Head to the Be Intentional with The Thrifty Couple Facebook Page HERE and ask to join us there! You can also invite friends and spouses too!

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Alex & Cassie