Frugal Foodie Mama

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Cherry Chocolate Clafoutis

Sweet, fresh cherries are paired with deep, rich chocolate chips in a creamy custard-like cake in this easy to make Cherry Chocolate Clafoutis...
Sweet, fresh cherries are paired with deep, rich chocolate chips in a creamy custard-like cake in this easy to make Cherry Chocolate Clafoutis.
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Okay, I know some of you all may be scratching your heads right now and wondering what in the world is a clafoutis?? Trust me- I was right there with you earlier this summer. I was noticing more and more of these clafoutis recipes popping up on recipe sites and fellow food blogs, but I found myself so intimidated by the "fancy" name that I just stopped right there. They all looked delicious and amazing, but I just didn't bother to take a look at the recipes. Let's face it- it is a French word and a French dish. French cuisine and baking always seems so fancy and involved. But there is another side to the French culinary world that originates more from their countryside- a rustic and easier style of cooking and baking. And though a clafoutis sounds refined and complicated, let me assure you all that it is far from being either one of those things. In fact when curiosity finally got the best of me and I checked out a clafoutis recipe or two, I wanted to kick myself for shying away from trying to make one of my own for so long. They are so, so easy to make, folks. But at the same time, they are rustically elegant.

A traditional clafoutis is usually made with just fresh cherries, but I just had to add to some dark chocolate chips to this recipe... because cherries and chocolate! Is there a more perfect dessert flavor combination? ;) I scored a bag of the Pacari Organic Chocolate Drops Raw 70% when I attended the Food & Wine Conference last month, and when I came up with the idea for this clafoutis I knew immediately that I would use them in this dessert recipe. 
Sweet, fresh cherries are paired with deep, rich chocolate chips in a creamy custard-like cake in this easy to make Cherry Chocolate Clafoutis...

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Why You Need to Make the Food & Wine Conference Happen in 2016

As a brand ambassador for the 2015 Food & Wine Conference, I was provided a conference ticket at a discounted rate. All opinions (and occasional droolings) stated below are my own.
Already looking ahead to 2016 for the must-attend food blogger conferences? Come check out my 7 reasons Why You Need to Make the Food & Wine Conference Happen in 2016. #FWCon
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When it comes to which food blogger conferences I chose to attend, I would like to say that I am pretty picky. I really have to justify the expense of the conference and the traveling involved as well as the time that I will be spending away from my family. That is probably why in my over 3 years of blogging I have only attended 3 food blogger conferences so far. Would I like to attend more of them and travel more and learn more? Well, yes! :) But like I said above, they cost money and have to be worth the stress of finding child care for my youngest while I am away and my husband is at work. So far, I can say unequivocally that all 3 blogger conferences I have attended have been 100% worth it. 

After hearing so many good things about the Food & Wine Conference from many of my food blogger friends online, I decided to apply for a brand ambassadorship with the conference. I had no idea if I would make the cut, but I decided that if I did I would find a way to make this conference happen this year. And let me tell you all something- I am so glad that I landed a spot as a brand ambassador! Not only did I get to attend an amazing food blogger conference, but I also was able to be a brand ambassador representing Wisconsin Cheese. I mean, you all know me by now. I love my cheese, so it was a match made in heaven.

Friday, July 31, 2015

WineforaWedding- A Unique Wedding Gift for Wine Lovers

Looking for a unique wedding or anniversary present for the wine loving couple in your life? Create a personalized, handcrafted WineforaWedding box for them!
While I was provided with a wine box to review, all opinions expressed below are my own.
Looking for a unique wedding or anniversary gift for that wine loving couple? Come check out my review of the WineforaWedding box! #ad
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Summertime is definitely king of the wedding season, but did you know that 15% of all weddings in the United States last year happened in September? (Source: The Knot) That ties it with June as one of the two most popular months of the year for couples to get married! So that means that quite a few of us have upcoming weddings we are planning on attending in the next couple of months, myself included.

My sister is getting married next month to her soul mate that took her one marriage and many years to find. The problem is that in this day and age the traditional wedding gifts just don't make sense. More and more people are getting married later... or many cases, getting remarried. The need for stand mixers, and dish sets, and pots and pans, and linens just isn't there anymore. Many couples getting married now have already formed established households (whether separately or together) and already own all the household necessities. So what is a wedding guest to do when it comes to a gift? Well, if the happy couple happens to be wine lovers, then WineforaWedding just might be the perfect solution for your gift giving needs... ;)

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Mint Chocolate Affogato Floats

Skip the fancy coffee shop for your next date night! Make these creamy two ingredient Mint Chocolate Affogato Floats at home for a date night-in instead.
Post Sponsored by Lunchbox. All opinions are 100% my own.
Skip the fancy coffee shop, and make these creamy two ingredient Mint Chocolate Affogato Floats at home instead. #gelatodate
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As much as my husband & I have tried making at least two date night-outs happen every month, we haven't always been very successful at that. Mainly because life is life, and it is a known fact that it often gets in the way of even the most well intended plans. Most times it is the unpredictability of my husband's job that undermines even our most well thought out date night plans. Anyone else have a husband who works in sales? Namely selling cars? ;) Then I have a feeling that you ladies can definitely feel me on this one. Quitting time may be 5:00, but not when he is in the midst of a potential new sale and a decent commission is at stake. Does that mean that he & I just scrap our date night plans when he comes home just a little too late to make a dinner out happen? Nope! We like to keep a few ideas ready in our date night-in arsenal.

Sometimes my husband and I like to go down to the little local coffee shop in town and have a coffee and dessert date. But on evenings that we can't make our usual coffee date out happen, I thought why not bring the fancy coffee shop to our house instead? And it is so easy when I pick up some Breyer's Gelato and a few canned espresso drinks from my local Target. With just two ingredients and a few minutes, my husband & I are lounging on our deck on a summer evening sipping on a couple of creamy and decadent Mint Chocolate Affogato Floats... ;)

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

10 Essentials for Your Carry-On Bag

This “Flavor Your Adventure” post is sponsored by Blue Diamond Almonds. For more snack ideas to “Flavor Your Adventure” this summer, visit Blue Diamond Almonds on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.
Never leave home or board a plane again without these 10 Essentials for Your Carry-On Bag! #FlavorYourAdventure #ad
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When I first started blogging around 4 years ago, I never dreamed it would end up being a career for me. And I couldn't have possibly fathomed at the time that my blogging would one day open so many travel opportunity doors for me.  In fact, I have flown more times in the past 7 months than I probably have in the last 5 years combined! From a fabulous opportunity to visit the Southern Living test kitchens in Birmingham to an amazing foodie adventure in Portland to my most recent trip to take part in the Food & Wine Conference in Orlando, I have experienced my share of great flights, bumpy flights, delayed flights (don't get me started on that one), and lost luggage this past year. I have also learned what I need, want, and don't necessarily need in my carry-on bag.

When you are limited to just two carry-on's and your purse is included in that number, you start getting very particular about what you put in those two bags. And you have to keep in mind that you will have at least limited access to one of those two bags as it will be stowed in an overhead compartment for the duration of the flight. So what are my 10 must-have, don't fly without them essentials for my carry-on bag? Check them out below... :)

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

3 Ingredient PB&J Ice Cream Sandwiches

You all are going to love this recipe for 3 Ingredient PB&J Ice Cream Sandwiches- a kid approved & easy to make frozen summer treat! This content was created in partnership with Kroger Family Stores using free products provided by Kroger.
Two childhood favorites- peanut butter & jelly and ice cream sandwiches- come together in these easy to make 3 Ingredient PB&J Ice Cream Sandwiches.
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Summer is in full swing around here (I am not admitting that back to school is getting closer just yet, folks), and I am always trying to come up with fun and often times tasty ways for the kiddos and I to stay cool.  Whether it is running through the sprinkler, heading to the local pool, or making a simple and frosty frozen treat like these 3 Ingredient PB & J Ice Cream Sandwiches. Seriously, folks. These ice cream sandwiches are so easy to make and quick that you can even get those "bored" kids of yours in on the ice cream sandwich making fun! :) The method for making these is pretty much assembly line anyways, so you can assign one tasty task to each member of the family (just leave any cutting to the adults). 
Everyone is doing something. Everyone is having fun. And these ice cream sandwiches come together even quicker when everyone is in on the delicious action of making these... 

Monday, July 27, 2015

Big Country- Making Travel Dreams a Reality

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of U.S. Cellular. 
The opinions and text are all mine.
Find out how you can make your's or a loved one's travel dreams a reality with U.S. Cellular & Big Country. #USCCBigCountry
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When I was growing up, travel wasn't a big part of my childhood. I remember a couple of family vacations to beaches that were within a day's driving distance, but that was about it as far as family travel went. Money was tight and neither of my parents were big on long road trips or flying in planes. The travel bug didn't really bite me until years later into my adulthood. I left the small West Virginia town I had grown up in and moved to a much bigger city. And then once I had overcome my fear of flying (I may have suffered a full-on anxiety attack on my first ever flight), I was hooked. I wanted to go and explore and visit as many cities and states as I could afford to. And when I became a mother, those travel experiences were something that I wanted to share with my children as well. I decided that travel would be a part of their childhoods. Not that we have unlimited expendable income for traveling, but we budget for what it is important to us- and the travels, the road trips, the experiences, and the memories we make together are a priority for us. Now I can't imagine my life or theirs without travel. But I had no idea what I had been missing or what my children would have been missing until I actually got out there and overcame my small town girl fears and started traveling.