Frugal Foodie Mama

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The 5 Truths You Learn From Shopping at ALDI

The 5 Truths You Learn from Shopping at ALDI- like the true value of a quarter!
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If you are already a loyal ALDI shopper, then you will probably be able to relate to this entire post. In fact, you may even be able to add a truth or two that I may have missed or may not have realized already myself. ;)  But shopping at an ALDI is definitely not like shopping at your local chain grocery store. For a first-timer, a trip to ALDI may be uncomfortably foreign at first. And in fact, you may decide that it just isn't for you (this actually was my initial reaction when visiting an ALDI store for the first few times, but I changed my tune later). I mean, you have to pay for a cart. And there are not any grocery bags- unless you want to pay for those too. But once you have shopped there a few times, you may just see how genius their entire layout really is.

I became a loyal ALDI shopper over three years ago pretty much out of necessity. My husband and I had just had our daughter, and I desperately wanted to stay home with her. But for our family of four to make it on a single income, we really needed to cut down our budget and fast. Since food has always been my forte, I tackled our grocery budget first. I dug in and despite the fact that I had turned up my nose to shopping at ALDI before, I gave it another go. And once I realized how much I was saving on our groceries each week, I was sold for life. :) Now I still shop other grocery stores and retailers in addition to my weekly trip to ALDI. But that is mostly for things that ALDI just doesn't carry or when another grocery store is having an amazing sale. 

Okay, so let's get to it. Here are the 5 truths I have learned from shopping at ALDI over the past 3 years...

Monday, March 30, 2015

Simple Ham & Potato Chowder

This hearty & flavorful Simple Ham & Potato Chowder is a delicious way to use up leftover ham...
This hearty & flavorful Simple Ham & Potato Chowder is a delicious way to use up leftover ham. You just need 5 ingredients & 35 minutes to make this!
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Can you all believe that Easter is less than a week away? Pretty soon we will all be sitting around the table enjoying an Easter ham dinner with our families. :) If your all's family happens to be anything like mine, we always bake a huge ham and then divvy up the leftovers to take home. But let's be real- there are only so many ham sandwiches and fried ham steaks you can eat in a week. Am I right?

That is where my recipe for this Simple Ham & Potato Chowder comes in handy.  And when I say that this recipe is simple, I mean it is really simple. You just need 5 ingredients (including a little leftover Easter ham) and 35 minutes to make a pot of this hearty and flavorful chowder happen in your kitchen...

Friday, March 27, 2015

A Taste of Southern Living & Hospitality...

A huge thank you to Southern Living and Delta Faucet for sponsoring, hosting, and showing this food blogger what southern hospitality is all about. All opinions expressed below are my own.
A Taste of Southern Living & Hospitality- a peek at Birmingham's food scene & a tour of Southern Living headquarters #DeltaLiving
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If you happen to follow me on Instagram, you may have noticed that I had the amazing honor of visiting the city of Birmingham, Alabama last week to take in the local food scene and to go on an exclusive tour of the Southern Living headquarters and test kitchen. Seriously, you all... this trip has been the biggest "pinch me" moment so far of my food blogging career. I was joined by seven other fabulous food bloggers from all over the country (yay to new friends!) to enjoy some truly southern cuisine & hospitality, and to get a behind the scenes look at just what it takes to produce and publish a copy of Southern Living magazine each month...

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Easy Chile Relleno Empanadas

Easy Chile Relleno Empanads- these flaky pockets filled with chiles, black beans, brown rice, cheese, and diced tomatoes take just 4 ingredients and 30 minutes to make! #bocaessentials #CleverGirls
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As a mama to a teenager and a toddler, I am always on the look out for and coming up with new dinner recipe ideas that are not only delicious, but are also healthier and easy to make to boot.  At least once a week, I try to sneak in a completely meatless dinner into my meal plan (although that vegetarian dinner doesn't always happen to fall on a Monday evening ;) ). Looking to change it up from the usual pancakes for dinner or mac & cheese for that meatless dinner option, I was thrilled to have discovered Boca Essentials in three new bold flavors- 
  • Breakfast Scramble with potatoes, scrambled eggs and vegetables
  • Roasted Vegetables and Red Quinoa with brown rice
  • Chile Relleno with green chile peppers, black beans and brown rice

I knew right away that I had to come up with a tasty dinner recipe using the Chile Relleno burgers! We are a family that just loves Mexican food, and chile rellenos happens to be a favorite with all of us. Turning them into stuffed, perfectly flaky empanadas seemed like the natural way to go. These Easy Chile Relleno Empanadas take just 4 ingredients and around 30 minutes to make... 

Friday, March 20, 2015

Easy Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

This comforting family favorite recipe for Easy Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup can be on the table in around 30 minutes...
Easy Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup- this comforting family favorite recipe can be on the table in around 30 minutes!
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Okay, you all. I am sharing a recipe with you guys today that will just crush that canned stuff you have been heating up over the years.  It takes just a little more effort than cranking that can open and dumping the contents into a pan, but not so much more that you can't make this Easy Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup happen on a weekday evening. This delicious homemade soup can be on your dinner table in around 30 minutes, folks!

I have been making this recipe for my family for years now, and it is definitely a monthly meal plan favorite. In fact, it just may be my daughter's most favorite dinner at the moment. Not a week goes by that she doesn't ask me at least twice if we are having "Cock-a-doodle" soup for dinner. I had thought about actually titling my recipe by this adorable name my three year old has given it, but I didn't want to you all to think that any roosters had been harmed in the making of this soup. ;)

There is nothing fancy in this recipe- chicken broth, carrots, celery, chicken- but it is definitely the simplicity of it that just speaks of wholesomeness, comfort, and family dinners around the table...

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Vanilla Bean Chia Pudding

A simple healthy recipe gets a kick of intense vanilla flavor in this Vanilla Bean Chia Pudding...
A simple healthy recipe gets a kick of intense vanilla flavor in this Vanilla Bean Chia Pudding.
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Okay, you all- I finally jumped on the chia seed bandwagon, and now I am wondering why I ever waited so long. I may have had a little bit of a prejudice against them before because all I could think of when someone mentioned chia seeds were chia pets. Do you all know what I am talking about? (And now that jingle from the television commercial is stuck in my head- Chi, chi, chi, chiaaaa... ;) )

But nevertheless I had been kind of curious about chia seeds for the past few months, but I had no clue where I would even buy them here in small town West Virginia. Then lo and behold, one day I was shopping at my local ALDI and there they were on the shelf- a bag for less than $3! I mean, what did I have to lose really? So I grabbed a bag and started asking around to my fellow food bloggers what were their favorite ways to enjoy and prepare them. Many said that they loved sprinkling them over yogurt (which is yum, by the way) or mixed into smoothies. But again and again, they mentioned chia pudding.  

The first couple of times that I tried making chia pudding I got the ratios off, and my pudding ended up more like a slurpy mess.  But this latest attempt? I nailed it! :) I decided that I want to stick to a simple chia pudding recipe, but added a kick of intense vanilla flavor. By stirring in a simple teaspoon of vanilla bean paste, this healthy and easy to make pudding becomes almost like a creamy vanilla dessert. You could also substitute a teaspoon of vanilla extract, but trust me on this- splurging a little for some good quality vanilla bean paste is so worth it for this recipe. Enjoy this Vanilla Bean Chia Pudding simply as is or feel free to top it with your favorite fruits, berries, or nuts... 

Friday, March 13, 2015

Rock Troll Easter Eggs

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #DisneyEaster #CollectiveBias
Have a FROZEN inspired Easter this year with these fun to make Rock Troll Easter Eggs and a FROZEN themed Easter basket #DisneyEaster #ad
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It is hard to believe that Easter is just a few short weeks away, right? Usually, I am throwing together baskets for the kiddos a few days before Easter morning (or sometimes the night before). And decorating Easter eggs? Those haven't happened in this house for the past two years. Yep, mom fail.
But not this year, folks. 
For once, I am ready early for the Easter bunny's visit. 
The idea hit me a couple of weeks ago to go with a theme for Easter this year and stick to it. And since my three year old daughter has been obsessed with FROZEN for the past few months, it was a no-brainer what our theme would be for this Easter. ;)

Typically you all know that I am not very often the crafty type. But once I had decided to go with a FROZEN theme, the idea just sort of hit me for these Rock Troll Easter Eggs. If you have watched FROZEN already (for some, maybe you have watched it for the 100th time now ;) ), then you know all about the beloved magical trolls that disguise themselves as moss covered rocks.  I thought why not make Easter eggs this year that look like the trolls from FROZEN? 

To make these, I actually used decorating (craft) Easter eggs that I found in the Easter section at my local Walmart for less than $2 for a dozen. I was going to go with real eggs, but I was hard pressed to find gray egg dye. I also wanted these to be a fun decoration that could be on display for a couple of weeks in our home. Not to mention the fact that it would be difficult to crack open and actually eat the hard boiled eggs with everything we used to embellish these. 
And here is a tip- if you see gray pom poms while out shopping, grab them for these Rock Troll Easter Eggs. I had to use black pom poms for their noses because I couldn't find gray ones anywhere...