Frugal Foodie Mama

Friday, October 31, 2014

Growing Gourmet Herbs All Year-round with AeroGarden {& A Giveaway!}

I am partnering with The Scotts Company to share with you all how year-round gardening is possible with the MiracleGro AeroGarden. All opinions expressed below are 100% my own.
Grow Gourmet Herbs All Year-round when you when an #AeroGarden on #indoorgardening Ends 12/19/14
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It is no big secret that I look forward to growing fresh herbs on my deck planter each summer.  All summer long and into early fall, I enjoy harvesting fresh basil, parsley, and mint straight from the plants and using them in my everyday cooking and baking.  But once the cold sets in and my outdoor herbs have withered away and died, I either fall back on my jars of dried herbs or spend a small fortune on cut & packaged "fresh" herbs from the grocery store.

Don't get me wrong.  I am not knocking my dried herbs. In fact, I have an entire "toolbox" of them on my kitchen counter. ;) But let's be honest... fresh cut herbs are just better. They are brighter, more flavorful, and are just so much nicer to cook with.

I just may have found the solution to my fresh herbs/winter time dilemma, folks. The MiracleGro AeroGarden Extra...

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Guilt-Free Snickerdoodle Mug Cake

This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and Pure Via®, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #PureViaSweet
Guilt-Free Snickerdoodle Mug Cake via a comforting, low calorie, perfectly portioned for one microwave dessert! #PureViaSweet #PMedia #ad
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As I mentioned to you all in yesterday's recipe post, I am tackling the holiday sweets monster head-on now.  I figure a head start will give me somewhat of an advantage and hopefully help me keep the annual holiday weight gain in check.  
I do still plan to bake lots of the holiday goodies that my family loves, but I will also be keeping a few lower calorie, low fat dessert recipes in my arsenal to keep me from devouring half a pumpkin pie or a half dozen of frosted sugar cookies. I am a firm believer in not trying to dodge my sweet tooth cravings. That will eventually lead to a sugar and butter induced binge for me.
But what I can do is trick my sweet tooth into thinking that it is indulging in a sweet treat... ;)

On a recent shopping trip to my local Walmart, I picked up a box of Pure Via 40 Count Packets and knew right away that these would become a very important weapon in my arsenal against the holiday weight gain. Pure Via is made from the pure, sweet extract of the stevia leaf. That means no artificial processing or preservatives, folks. It is all natural, non-GMO, and the best part? ZERO calories! :)

Monday, October 27, 2014

Orange & Cinnamon Infused Iced Tea

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Mom Central for CRYSTAL LIGHT. I received a gift card to purchase CRYSTAL LIGHT products to facilitate my review as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation.
Orange and Cinnamon Infused Iced Tea via a low calorie, holiday perfect beverage! #CrystalLightWM #MC #sponsored
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The holiday season (aka, the eat everything season) is fast approaching, folks. Typically, I cut myself some slack during the holiday season and allow myself to indulge in the baked goodies, and the big holiday dinners, and all the sweets that come with it, but this year is just a little different for me.
I am going on a cruise in January. Like mid-January.
To the Caribbean. Yikes
For the first time ever in my entire life, I will be required to be swimsuit ready months before I am usually even thinking about being on a beach or lounging poolside. 

So, I am forming my plan of attack now. Weeks before Thanksgiving dinner.
While I will still be treating myself to marshmallow topped sweet potatoes and frosted Christmas cookies, I am also going to be making some small changes like stepping up my gym workouts and cutting calories elsewhere.

One of my weaknesses is sweet iced tea. We almost always have a pitcher of homemade sweet tea in our fridge.  And while I love sweet tea, I don't really like the extra calories from the sugar in it.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

6 Tips for Capturing Photos of Little Ones #GerberPhotoSearch2014

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Gerber Baby. I received a promotional item to thank me for my participation.
6 Tips for Capturing Photos of Little Ones via #GerberPhotoSearch2014 #MC #sponsored
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Any time that you are told that your baby should be the next Gerber baby, it is always considered a huge compliment.  I can remember being told that numerous times when my oldest was a baby, and more recently when it came to little miss.  I mean, every mama wants their baby to be the Gerber baby! ;)
The Gerber baby is just iconic- Am I right?

How would you like for your baby to be crowned the next Gerber baby and star in future advertisements for Gerber as one of their 2015 spokesbabies? 
Now through November 12 you can upload a favorite, recent photo of your Gerber baby in the "Be Our Baby" Photo Search on for a chance to win the Grand Prize of $50,000, one year of Gerber food, & the coveted spot of Gerber spokesbaby! 
Gerber is also awarding $5,000 to six winners in each of the Milestone categories. Winners will be chosen based on the highest number of votes in each category on MyGerber.
What are the Milestone Categories, you ask? ;) Birth+, Supported Sitter, Sitter, Crawler, Toddler, Toddler 2+!  

Friday, October 24, 2014

Cookie Butter Candied Pumpkin Seeds & Pecans

Carving pumpkins this weekend? You will want to be sure to save those pumpkin seeds to make these crunchy, sweet & salty Cookie Butter Candied Pumpkin Seeds & Pecans then...
Cookie Butter Candied Pumpkin Seeds and Pecans via - crunchy, sweet & salty!
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Each fall when we visit our favorite pumpkin patch, my son goes on the quest to find the largest pumpkin that he can possibly fit his two arms around. 
At first, I thought it was just a boy thing.
Or maybe he wanted a larger surface area for carving.
But nope.
This year his true intentions came to the surface...

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Easy Homemade Chicken Broth

Using ingredients you were probably going to toss out anyways, you can make rich, flavorful Easy Homemade Chicken Broth at home instead...
Easy Homemade Chicken Broth via - make this rich, flavorful broth at home with ingredients you usually toss out
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Okay, okay.... I know what you all may be thinking. 
Why in the world would you take the time and effort to make your own chicken broth at home when you can easily pick up a carton of the store bought variety for less than $2 at your local grocery store?

Let me tell you all why...
It just tastes better than store bought. Hands down.
Another very good reason? You know everything that is going in it and everything that will not be in it.  No added sodium. Or ingredients you can't pronounce. Just all of the good wholesome stuff that do you want.
Another perk of making your own chicken broth? You can tweak the flavors in it according to your preferences. Love garlic? Add more in there. Hate it? Leave it out! 
See how that works? ;)

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Portobello Red Wine Mini Meatballs

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I am partnering with Imagine® Organic Culinary Simmer Sauces today to bring you all this super simple recipe for Portobello Red Wine Mini Meatballs perfect for a busy weeknight...
Portobello Red Wine Mini Meatballs via with just a few ingredients this tasty meal can be on your table in around 45 minutes! #PanWithAPlan #ImagineNation #ad
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I have to be real with you all for a moment- I love having a few easy to throw together, quick dinner ideas at my disposal.  Even with the best of intentions and a well planned out meal plan for the week, there are nights when cooking from scratch just goes out the window.
I know you all know what I am talking about... ;)
Those evenings when a day at home with the little ones has been just a little too long.
Those evenings when you come home and the office has managed to wipe out every last bit of self motivation you may have left.
Those evenings when the kids' practice, that work meeting, the traffic has taken just a little longer than you had planned for.
Those types of evenings happen at least a few times a month in this home.
I defrost chicken or ground beef that morning only to come home and realize that I just do not have it in me to make the recipe I had originally planned to use them in.

In fact, this very such thing happened to me when I came home one evening and had ground beef thawed in the fridge. My original plan was to make a pot of chili with it, but I was wiped out. All the chopping, and browning, and simmering just didn't appeal to me at all.  I was just about to cave into the fast food drive-thru when I remembered that I had a pouch of the Portobello Red Wine Imagine® Organic Culinary Simmer Sauce sitting in my pantry! :)
That pack of ground beef quickly became tender mini meatballs smothered in a rich and creamy Portobello Red Wine sauce...