Frugal Foodie Mama

Friday, October 8, 2021

I'm Sharing My Spare: The Beginning of Our Kidney Donor Story

Photo credit: Meredith Brook Photography

So today's post isn't going to be like my usual blog posts on here. I won't be sharing an easy to make recipe or any cooking or baking tips. Today, I am going to take a moment to get a little personal with you all- something that I don't do all that often on here.

If you follow me on Instagram, then you may have already seen my post in July about my then boyfriend's impending need for a kidney donor. Colin has been battling kidney disease since he was diagnosed with a rare auto-immune disorder in his mid-twenties. 

His doctors were not able to identify what was wrong with him in those first few weeks of his illness. In the meantime, the disorder wreaked irreversible damage to his kidneys during the weeks that elapsed between when he was first admitted to the hospital and then finally diagnosed with Henoch Schonlein Purpura.

Friday, September 17, 2021

Small Batch Blueberry Muffins

 These Small Batch Blueberry Muffins are perfect to bake up when you don't need an entire dozen of muffins in the house. They are nice & moist thanks to the addition of creamy Greek yogurt and are bursting with fresh blueberry flavor...

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So I know that summer is on the exit and that the fall season is just about to arrive, but I had to sneak in just one last summer-inspired recipe this year before we dive head first into all things pumpkin spice and apple. ;) 

One thing that we have not been in short supply of this past summer was local blueberries at our weekly farmers market. And one of my absolute favorite things to make with fresh blueberries is homemade blueberry muffins.

The problem is that most recipes I have come across online make a dozen or more muffins. But since it is now just my daughter and I at home together most weeks, we can rarely get through an entire dozen of muffins between the two of us before they go stale no matter how amazingly delicious they may be. Cue my mission to come up with the perfect small batch blueberry muffin recipe!

Friday, August 20, 2021

Loves Way Village: A Glampground Destination in the Potomac Highlands of West Virginia

Enjoy the very best of nature and camping combined with the amenities and comforts of a clean and comfortable hotel room when you go glamping at Loves Way Village in West Virginia...

This post was created in partnership with Loves Way Village. As always, all opinions & thoughts expressed below are 100% my own.

While I do consider myself somewhat of an outdoorsy person, I am not one that is much for "roughing" it. I love finding a good hiking trail or paddling down a river in a kayak, but sleeping on the ground in the middle of the woods with no bathroom (or shower!) in sight? No, thank you. It just really isn't my thing. I'd would MUCH rather commune with nature in comfort. ;)

That is why I was beyond thrilled when the folks at Loves Way Village invited my sister and I to stay in one of their glamping tents a few weeks ago. We were able to hike and kayak and enjoy all of the beauty and adventure that the Potomac Highlands of West Virginia has to offer, but we still got to come back to a comfortable bed, air conditioning, a hot shower, and a soak in our own private hot tub each evening of our two-night stay at Loves Way.

I know that glamping has definitely become all the rage lately. Some may even call it a novel trend in traveling. But I do think that this fad in accommodations is here to stay, folks. You get all the fun of camping (think s'mores over a campfire, rainfall hitting the fabric of the tent lulling you to sleep, being close to nature), but without all of the dirt, and grime, and dealing with the elements. 

Friday, July 23, 2021

Cake Mix Strawberry Shortcakes

These easy to make Strawberry Shortcakes start with one of my favorite time-saving baking hacks- a boxed cake mix!

While I tend to make most of my recipes from scratch, I have also posted my fair share of recipes using one of my absolute favorite baking hacks- a simple boxed cake mix. I know that some people might consider using a boxed cake mix as "cheating", but I personally just find it to be a convenient shortcut that comes in handy if you are short on time or happen to not be the best at baking. 

For the most part, a boxed cake mix takes the guesswork out of making sure you have the right amount of flour, baking soda or baking powder (or both), salt, etc. And bonus? Cake mixes come in so many different varieties and flavors that they can easily be adapted to just about any recipe you would like to make!

I have used boxed cake mixes in everything from actual cakes (see my secret for making a boxed cake mix taste better than the bakery HERE) to pancakes and even cookies and muffins.
But today's recipe was my first time making a shortcake from a cake mix...

Friday, June 25, 2021

Hidden View Bed & Breakfast: A Destination In & Of Itself in Loudoun County, Virginia

The Hidden View Bed & Breakfast can provide the most luxurious home base as you explore the Loudoun County, Virginia area, but it is also a destination in & of itself- perfect for a girls' trip, a couple's getaway, or when you just need a few days of "me time" to yourself...

This post was created in partnership with Visit Loudoun. As always, all opinions & thoughts expressed below are 100% my own.

I know that when you typically start to plan a trip or a weekend getaway you end up booking a room somewhere to simply serve as your home base while you explore the area. You want a clean and comfortable place to sleep and shower, maybe a pool on premise, and perhaps a free continental breakfast. Booking the accommodations is a starting point, but not usually the thing you are looking forward to most about your upcoming travels.

That cannot be said about the guest rooms at Hidden View Bed & Breakfast in Hillsboro, Virginia. In fact, you could possibly spend most of your time during your visit to Loudoun County in your room and exploring the grounds of this beautiful bed & breakfast and be totally content... but I wouldn't necessarily recommend that. Not when there is so much to see and do in the area, but that is for another blog post. ;)

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Oatmeal Raisin Banana Snack Cake

 Packed full of raisins, hearty oats, and crunchy pecans, this Oatmeal Raisin Banana Snack Cake is an easy-to-bake recipe that will remind you of one of your favorite childhood cookies...

So, recently my 9 year old daughter has been asking more and more to help out in the kitchen. She is even slowly beginning to make some things on her own now. While I am so glad that she is showing an interest in learning how to cook and bake (and I seriously have no desire to squash her newfound interest), I do have to make a confession- it makes the Type A, Virgo mom in me cringe slightly.

I feel kind of guilty even typing that out loud, but I can't be the only parent who feels this way when their kiddos finally start to show a little initiative in the kitchen, right? ;)

But I have decided I am going to suck it up this summer and let her help me out more when it comes to cooking dinner and baking up some tasty treats because I don't want to discourage her from learning new things and growing. Even if she leaves the batter drenched whisk sitting on the counter. And despite the fact that she might use every measuring cup and spoon that I own just to make one recipe. 

Because part of the process of teaching our kids to cook and bake is to also teach them how to consolidate steps and to clean up as they go, am I right? So that is just what I am going to do- teach her. Teach her that spending time in the kitchen involves much more than just measuring out ingredients, whisking and mixing, and setting a timer. 

Friday, June 4, 2021

Booze & Brews with a View: 8 Must-Visit Wineries & Breweries in Loudoun County, Virginia

It doesn't matter if you are wine lover, a craft beer connoisseur, or if you happen to appreciate small batch spirits- you can craft the perfect booze-filled itinerary in Loudoun County, Virginia...

This post was created in partnership with Visit Loudoun. As always, all opinions & thoughts expressed below are 100% my own.

After almost a year of Covid-induced homebody-ness, I was finally ready to venture out on a girls' trip last month. A little road trip to one of my favorite areas of Virginia became the obvious choice for our first girls' getaway in over a year. Not only is Loudoun County home to some of the best wine country in the state of Virginia, but their local foodie scene has recently seen an explosion in growth when it comes to locally owned and operated breweries and distilleries as well. 

It doesn't matter if you are wine lover, a craft beer connoisseur, or if you happen to appreciate small batch spirits- you can craft the perfect booze-filled itinerary (responsibly, of course!) in Loudoun County, Virginia. Loudoun County boasts over 30 breweries, almost 40 wineries, and about 7 distilleries & cideries, but that number continues to grow every year.

While our two and a half day girls' getaway didn't allow us to try every winery, brewery, and distillery in the county, we did get to visit at least 8 on the list. All 8 of these wineries & breweries (plus 1 distillery!) had to meet certain discerning criteria to make it on our girls' trip list ;) :

  • They had to have plenty of outdoor spaces and seating. I mean, what is seriously better than being able to sip on a glass of pink bubbles or enjoying a cold draft beer on a patio or deck?
  • They had to be locally owned and operated.
  • And being nestled in the rolling, green foothills of the Shenandoah, a beautiful view was definitely a must!