Frugal Foodie Mama

Friday, January 27, 2023

Parmesan & Veggie Quinoa Skillet

This one pot Parmesan & Veggie Quinoa Skillet combines fresh veggies with Parmesan cheese & hearty quinoa. This vegetarian-friendly recipe is the perfect dish to whip up when you are craving a little healthy comfort food...


As many of you know, I donated a kidney to my fiance in October of 2021. If you follow me on Instagram, then you may also know that we have had our struggles and setbacks since our surgeries a little over 1 year and 3 months ago. 

While his kidney function and numbers are better than they have been in over 15 years, the reality of life post-transplant was not exactly something that we felt we had really been made aware of or had been sufficiently prepared for. Over the course of the past 15 months, Colin has experienced emergency surgery, hospitalizations, 2 mild rejection episodes, more ER visits than I can remember, and numerous medication changes to try to find the right combination for him.

And while we are thankful that the surgeries, hospitalizations, and rejection episodes seem to now be a part of our past (knock on wood), we are still struggling with the latter two- particularly the medications. Colin takes quite a few medications to help prevent rejection and keep his blood pressure in check. They all can have significant side effects, and some of the meds and dosages are worse than others.

While we are leaving it to his team of docs to try to find the right combo and dosages of his much needed medications, we are doing what we can as a couple to lead healthier lives together. That includes eating healthier, going to the gym more each week, and cooking at home more often.

Friday, November 11, 2022

Apple Cider Mojitos

 A classic summertime cocktail gets a delicious autumn makeover with the addition of apple cider in these crisp and refreshing Apple Cider Mojitos...

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Okay. I know, I know.... Mojitos are cocktails that are usually associated with summertime, and backyard BBQ's, and beach vacations. Not with fall time or apple season.

But hear me out, you all.... It works. The white rum with your favorite apple cider and a little fresh mint and lime really works. Even I was surprised by how delicious this autumn twist on a classic mojito turned out.

Now, I can't take all the credit for coming up with this cocktail idea. I actually tried an apple cider mojito at a local brewery a couple months ago, and I knew I had to try to recreate it at home. 

Last month, we went apple picking while my sister and my best friend from West Virginia were visiting us at our new home in Erie, Pennsylvania. When I spied the fresh pressed apple cider at the local apple orchard we stopped at, I picked up a half gallon to bring home just to test out my new fall cocktail idea. I am a firm believer that the best cocktails start with the freshest ingredients.

Friday, October 21, 2022

Pumpkin Banana Bread with Pepitas & Dried Cranberries

 Crunchy pepitas & dried cranberries lend a little crunch and tart sweetness to this moist (and healthy-ish!) Pumpkin Banana Bread...

My most favorite time of the year has finally arrived here in Erie, Pennsylvania- fall!  I have to admit that when we first decided to move here a couple of months ago, I had a few reservations about living here.

Yes- my fiance, my daughter, and I would be hours from our hometowns and families. And we would have to adjust from life in our small hometown to living close to a bigger city (which actually wasn't all that difficult to do! ;) ). 

But one thing that caused me a bit more apprehension than maybe it would the average person was this question- what would the autumn season be like this much further north? Would I still get to see and enjoy the fall colors, crisp weather, and fun fall activities that I had come to love in my home state of West Virginia?

And let me be the first to tell you all- the fall foliage here is simply amazing! And the weather? It definitely has its moments (like the 3-4 days straight of non-stop downpours when it rains- yay, lake effect!), but all in all, I have been enjoying the cooler temps here since I get to don my favorite fall sweaters, hoodies, and boots just a little earlier than normal.

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Mahi Mahi with Fresh Pineapple Salsa

 This light and healthy Mahi Mahi with Pineapple Salsa is the perfect quick and easy summer dinner idea! You can have this on the dinner table in just 20 minutes, folks...

So, life has been a little on the crazy side for me lately. In case some of you all haven't picked up on the little hints I have left here and there on my social media lately, my daughter, fiance, and I are moving to Erie, Pennsylvania in just a couple of weeks. 

Colin has already been in Erie since the end of June starting his new career opportunity, but he has unfortunately been living out of a hotel for almost two months now. To say he is beyond ready to have an actual home and a family to come home to each day is an understatement.

I am going to be in full-on packing and moving mode for the next two weeks or so as I have decided to tackle not only packing my home, but Colin's apartment as well. If any of you all can spare any good vibes or ju-ju (or moving tips!), please send them my way. My sanity will thank you. ;)

Thursday, July 21, 2022

Spicy Almond Cold Soba Noodle Salad

This Spicy Almond Cold Soba Noodle Salad is full of flavor and amazing textures- crunchy almonds, cucumbers, and red bell peppers, soft and slippery noodles, all tossed with a spicy almond butter sriracha dressing...

This is a sponsored post by Babbleboxx.

I am all about easy and simple when it comes to cooking and entertaining in the summertime. I love quick and effortless pasta salads and dishes that work well not only as a light and healthy lunch idea, but also as a flavorful, make-ahead side dish for a backyard BBQ or a summer potluck. The Spicy Almond Cold Soba Noodle Salad recipe I am sharing with you all today easily meets the requirements for both. 

Seriously, you all. This recipe comes together in just 15 minutes and can be easily doubled or quadrupled. And thanks to Roland® Organic Soba Noodles and RECIPE 33 Infused Almonds, this cold noodle salad recipe is packed with flavor and amazing textures. 

Before I share the actual recipe with you all, let me tell you guys about a few of the products I am loving this summer for cooking and entertaining...

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Chicken Mushroom Flatbread

 You can have this artisan-worthy Chicken Mushroom Flatbread pizza for one on your dinner table in less than 30 minutes!

First, before I even begin here, let me apologize to you all for taking such a long hiatus from posting to the blog. As many of you all know by now, I donated a kidney to my fiance in October of last year. My recovery went pretty smoothly, but my fiance was hit with a few setbacks shortly after our surgeries. 

We faced many challenges- mild rejection episodes (which we have now come to realize is fairly common within the first 6 months of a transplant surgery), numerous medication adjustments (he was on 20+ prescriptions at one time during this journey), and even emergency surgery which resulted in him having to stay weeks longer in the hospital. Let just say that life needed my blog to temporarily take a back seat.

Fortunately, we have finally reached the light at the end of the tunnel and life is somewhat resuming to normal. My fiance is feeling healthier and stronger every day, we have the meds under control, he is back at work, and we are planning for a (hopefully) fall wedding. 

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.