Frugal Foodie Mama

Friday, June 23, 2023

The 5 Best Family Friendly Things to Do in Erie, PA This Summer

 Planning a family getaway to Erie, Pennsylvania this summer? Add these 5 kid-friendly attractions & experiences to your must-do list while you are in the area...

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

This is our second summer (and sadly our last) living in Erie, Pennsylvania, and summertime is when this area most comes alive. The lake glows a bluish-green. The beaches at Presque Isle State Park open for swimming. All the rooftop bars and restaurants on the bay re-open. And every weekend, visitors from all directions make the drive on 79, 80, or 90 to spend the weekend on Erie's shores. 

I have to admit that the city of Erie and its surrounding neighborhoods have surprised me in many ways. I definitely had a completely different vision of what living in this northern Pennsylvania city would look like when my fiance first approached me with the possibility of us moving to the area for a career opportunity that he was considering pursuing.

Honestly, all I could think about is how awful the winters were probably going to be here because I am not a girl who enjoys much more than one or two snow days a year. I don't like the cold, and the thought of anything "lake effect" sounded like a deal breaker to me.

Friday, April 21, 2023

Charcuterie Made Easy with Platterful

 Platterful takes the guesswork out of creating the perfect charcuterie board, thus saving you so much time and effort. From the artisan meats to the unique cheeses to the accompaniments, their charcuterie kits are thoughtfully paired and curated.

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

Over the past few years or so, putting together tasty and somewhat epic charcuterie boards has kind of been my thing. Whether to provide a little light snacking before a holiday dinner or for family game night, a wine night-in with the girls, or even for dinner itself (aka, what the members of my family like to refer to as a "snacky" dinner), charcuterie probably happens at least once a month in my house.

I really do enjoy building the perfect meat & cheese board, but if I am being perfectly honest the shopping for each board can get expensive at times and somewhat time-consuming. I roam the cheese section at my store looking for new ones to try or for the perfect cheese to pair with a particular cured meat or jarred spread. 

For those of us short on time (or patience), we may just grab whatever at the cheese counter. And as a result, we may often end up with boards that may be tasty, but are probably not paired very well. 

Friday, April 14, 2023

Chocolate Funfetti Sheet Cake

Chockfull of rainbow sprinkles, this dense and fudgy Chocolate Funfetti Sheet Cake is topped with the most airy & light chocolate whipped frosting. A little slice of happiness on a plate!

I have been contemplating the meaning of happiness lately- the complexities of it, the things that enhance our own personal happiness and the things that seem to hinder or take away from it, and the various ways that we sometimes seem to get in the way of our own happiness.

I mean, when do we know that we are truly happy? 

When we stop reaching for the next big thing? The better thing? When we allow ourselves to finally feel some contentment with how things are in the here and now?

But then you have to ask yourself- is that really true happiness? Or is that just settling?

Shouldn't we always be striving to better ourselves? To improve our lives? To love harder? To love ourselves more? To push that extra mile or two? To not give up on the things that we feel are important in our lives just because it may be hard at the moment?

Friday, March 31, 2023

Easy Chicken Ramen Salad

 This time-saving Easy Chicken Ramen Salad uses pre-cooked chicken, canned mandarin oranges, & crunchy ramen noodles to make a tasty, family-pleasing dinner salad in under 20 minutes...

One thing that I do love and can rarely pass up is a good salad with crunch. There is just something about a good crunch factor that takes a hearty salad to the next level for me.

Give me a a salad with crisp kale or cabbage and some crunchy nuts over a delicate salad with spring greens and soft fruit any day of the week. 

It's not that I can't enjoy a softer salad as the start to a meal, but if the salad is going to be the meal? Nope. It needs to have all the crunch.

And maybe it is just the texture tricking me into thinking that a salad with some crunch just has to be more hearty and filling. Or maybe it is just a personal preference. But I do love me a big ole salad with multiple layers of crunch.

Friday, March 24, 2023

Oatmeal Raisin & Dried Berries Cookies

 These perfectly chewy and soft Oatmeal Raisin & Dried Berries Cookies are packed with sweet golden raisins, dried mixed berries, and crunchy walnuts... Add a cold glass of milk, and you are set!

This post may contain affiliate links. Purchasing through them helps support this website.

I will be the first to admit that, in general, I am not a big fan of raisins in my baked goods. I also get kind of salty when a trail mix includes regular raisins, and then they happen to make up at least half of the actual mix. 

The one exception to my "no raisins in baked goods" rule is a homemade, fresh-from-the-oven oatmeal raisin cookie. But even then I am only tolerating the raisins in the cookies just because I really like the rest of the what is going on with a good oatmeal cookie.

But a couple of months ago, I bit into one Panera's Oatmeal Raisin with Berries cookies for the first time and let me just say, you all.... mind blown! They could have literally left the raisins out and just had the dried berries in that cookie, and I would have been in absolute heaven.

But that got me thinking... why not just bake up my own version at home and leave out those raisins altogether? 

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...

This post may contain affiliate links. Purchasing through them helps support this website.

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.