Frugal Foodie Mama

Friday, January 6, 2017

The Top 6 Traveling Frugal Foodie Mama Posts of 2016

From travel tips to historical destinations to amazing family dining, here are the Top 6 Traveling Frugal Foodie Mama Posts of 2016 as clicked on & shared by you...
From travel tips to historical destinations to amazing family dining, here are the Top 6 Traveling Frugal Foodie Mama Posts of 2016 as clicked on & shared by you.

When I decided to publish my first ever travel post on Frugal Foodie Mama in 2013, I really didn't set out with the intention of merging my predominantly food & recipe blog with a family friendly travel blog. My family and I had stayed at a bed & breakfast in Virginia for a little weekend getaway, and I was impressed with how the innkeepers had went above and beyond to accommodate us. I wanted to show my appreciation and gratitude, so I thought why not write up a little review of our stay on my blog and share it with my social media followers as a way to thank them for their generous hospitality? I had no idea how my loyal readers would react to a travel piece, but I figured it was just one post so why not?

Luckily for me, my first ever travel review was well received by you all. But I wasn't entirely convinced that I should delve head first into travel writing, so it took me over a year to write and publish my second ever travel post. When that post was also pretty well received, it dawned on me that I might be onto to something here and Traveling Frugal Foodie Mama (or #TravelingFFM, as it is known on social media) was born! :)

Since that time, I have published a total of 39 travel posts to the blog- 16 of those being from 2016 alone. Yep, I really upped my travel game in the past year, folks. While I am not sharing all 16 travel posts from last year with you all here today, I am sharing my top 6 travel posts from 2016. Hopefully, you all will find a little family travel inspiration for 2017 below... 

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Top 16 Recipes of 2016

These are the Top 16 Recipes of 2016 on Frugal Foodie Mama as clicked on, pinned, and shared by you...
Looking for recipe inspiration in the new year? These are the Top 16 Recipes of 2016 on Frugal Foodie Mama as clicked on, pinned, and shared by you.

I am still finding it hard to believe that we have just flipped the page to the start of a new year a few days ago. In fact, I just now bought a brand spanking new binder with tabs and calendar sheets for my blogging editorial calendar. Yes, I am a little old-fashioned like that. No Google calendars or a streamlined online planner for me. There is just something about putting the ink to a fresh calendar page that is so personally satisfying to me. Even though I have definitely went full-on digital in many other aspects of my life, I have a feeling that I will always stay low-tech when it comes to my yearly planner and stick to paper & ink. ;) Can anyone else relate to me here?

I think the start to a new year always prompts most of us to look back on the year past. Which goals did we meet and which ones did we fall short of in the past 365 days? Blog-wise, I had set 3 goals for myself at the beginning of 2016- 1. To grow to 10,000 followers on Instagram. 2. To foster more of a community with my readers and followers on social media by becoming more engaged & present. & 3. To learn & embrace Snapchat. The first one I fell short of by a little less than 2,000. With the second goal, I feel that I have made great strides with it, but I do feel I can still improve on this community of ours even more over the next year. And the last goal? Well, let's just say I didn't even start it. As much as I tried, I just couldn't make myself love Snapchat. And then Instagram came out with their Stories feature, and I didn't see much of a point in learning yet another social media platform. ;) 

Friday, December 30, 2016

Pomegranate Mimosa Mule

Two classic cocktails come together into one delicious & bubbly concoction in this Pomegranate Mimosa Mule. Perfect for a midnight toast or a weekend brunch!
Two classic cocktails come together into one delicious & bubbly concoction in this Pomegranate Mimosa Mule. Perfect for a midnight toast or a weekend brunch!

So it just occurred to me as I was sitting down to write this that this will be my last blog post on Frugal Foodie Mama for 2016. And what a year it has been for this blog! :) I found myself traveling 10 times this year- from our family trip to Gettysburg in March all the way to my solo trip to Amelia Island, Florida last month. I was fortunate to enjoy some fabulous long-term partnerships with brands such as Kroger, Hamilton Beach, Save-A-Lot, & Rice Krispies & to be able to share some amazing recipes with you all as a result of that. I met almost all of my blog and social media growth goals for the year (save my 10K goal for Instagram- I am a little over 8,000 right now ;) ). 

Every year I look back on what started as a fun little hobby for me, and I am amazed at how much it has grown and flourished. And while I know that quite of bit of that has to do with all of the hard work, blood, sweat, tears, and time I have invested in this, it also has A LOT to do with one other thing that I will forever be grateful for- you all. Those of you who come back week after week to check out my travel adventures and my newest recipe creations. Those of you who share my recipes & travel posts with your friends and family on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Those of you who have been with me since the start of this great blogging adventure of mine almost 6 years ago, as well of those of you who may have just discovered Frugal Foodie Mama this past month while searching for the perfect holiday recipe to make. 

So today on this next to the last day of 2016, I raise a glass to all of you with this bubbly & festive Pomegranate Moscow Mule. THANK YOU for being a part of this, for being part of my dream job and a part of Frugal Foodie Mama. Here is to another year of tasty, budget friendly recipes and fun travel adventures that I get the pleasure of sharing with you all. Cheers! :)

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

12 Elegant & Impressive Pork Dinners

Move over plain ole pork chops! Celebrate the holidays or that special occasion with one of these 12 Elegant & Impressive Pork Dinners...
Move over plain ole pork chops! Celebrate the holidays or that special occasion with one of these 12 Elegant & Impressive Pork Dinners.

Growing up, my mom always made pork chops with sauerkraut every single New Year's Day. Just simple fried pork chops with stove top heated sauerkraut from a can. Nothing too fancy, but also not my idea of a tasty way to start the new year. I always ate most of my somewhat overcooked pork chop (love you, mom!) and forced down at least one bite of the sauerkraut because of that whole good luck thing. I mean, I wasn't about to chance an entire year of crappy luck because I couldn't eat just one teeny, tiny bite of fermented cabbage. ;)

Fast forward to 20-some years later, and I still serve a pork dish to my own family on the first day of the new year for luck. Usually, I serve cabbage of some sort (fried with a little bacon is my preference), but long gone are my days of tough, pan fried pork chops. Nowadays, I tend to slow cook a tender & flavorful pork loin roast or pan roast some thick & juicy pork chops. 

If you are ready to change up that usual New Year's Day pork chops & sauerkraut for a pork dish that is a little more ooooohhh & ahhhhhh-worthy, then you are going to love this collection of 12 Elegant & Impressive Pork Dinners that I am sharing with you all today...

Monday, December 26, 2016

No-Bake Cannoli Cheesecake Shortcake

Looking for an elegant, yet fuss-free dessert perfect for ringing in the new year? Then you are going to love this recipe for No-Bake Cannoli Cheesecake Shortcake... 
Looking for an elegant, yet fuss-free dessert perfect for ringing in the new year? Then you are going to love this recipe for No-Bake Cannoli Cheesecake Shortcake!
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Save-A-Lot. The opinions and text are all mine.

When it comes to New Year's Eve, my family and I like to keep it low key, fuss free, yet still fun and festive each year. We usually stay home to ring in the new year with a little bubbly (sparkling wine for my husband & I and sparkling grape cider for the kiddos), lots of tasty appetizers, and a classy dessert. We may not be painting the town at some swanky party when the clock strikes midnight, but we still like to do something special at home as a family to celebrate the beginning of a new year.

This December 31st my family and I will be indulging in these easy to make No-Bake Cannoli Cheesecake Shortcakes. And to make them even more fun, I plan on setting up a toppings bar so everyone can garnish their shortcakes with their favorite fruits and candies... :)

Monday, December 19, 2016

Orange & Chinese Five Spice Tea Brined Chicken

A southern favorite gets a citrus spiced twist perfect for wintertime in this flavorful Orange & Chinese Five Spice Tea Brined Chicken...
A southern favorite gets a citrus spiced twist perfect for wintertime in this flavorful Orange & Chinese Five Spice Tea Brined Chicken.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Lipton. The opinions and text are all mine.

I know that when folks usually think of tea brined chicken they think of summertime grilling or classic Southern fried chicken. But I wanted to give this family dinner favorite a citrusy & warm spiced twist for the holidays and for the colder months ahead. I paired iced tea sweetened with maple syrup with fresh orange slices and Chinese Five Spice. Chinese Five Spice is a warm and flavorful blend of cinnamon, cloves, fennel, star anise, and peppercorns. It pairs perfectly with the bright citrus notes from the orange.

So why tea brine your chicken? First of all, it makes the chicken crazy moist and tender. Secondly, it adds amazing flavor to your chicken. And the maple syrup sweetened tea ensures that your chicken caramelizes beautifully as you grill it.

Friday, December 16, 2016

12 DIY Holiday Gifts From the Kitchen

These 12 DIY Holiday Gifts from the Kitchen (& the heart!) are the perfect last minute teacher, neighbor, hostess, or coworker gifts...
These 12 DIY Holiday Gifts from the Kitchen (& the heart!) are the perfect last minute teacher, neighbor, hostess, or coworker gifts.

Wowzers, you all. I am trying to wrap my head around the fact that Christmas is next weekend! Luckily, we have most of the gifts already bought, save a few for our neighbors and my daughter's teachers. It is definitely getting down to the wire to order gifts online and still be able to get them shipped in time for Christmas. And forget about the stores right now- most of them are an absolute madhouse at this point! That is why I love having a few gift ideas on hand that I can make at home with pantry staples I probably already have on hand like these 12 DIY Holiday Gifts From the Kitchen that I am sharing with you all today. ;)

Okay, so let's go over your game plan for this weekend- 1. Browse through this list of homemade & tasty DIY gift ideas, & pick out 1 or 2 that you would like to make. 2. Gather the kids in the kitchen, and then knock out a few of those last minute gifts you need for your kids' teachers, a next door neighbor, coworkers, or as a heartfelt hostess gift. I also like to whip up a couple of extras just to have on hand for when unexpected guests show up at the door or when we get that last minute invite to a holiday party (or for when my husband forgets that his coworker invited us over for cocktails)...