Fresh Dill and Egg Summer Salad recipe plus 25 more Summer Salads that you will want to eat

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Summer_Salads

One of the very best parts of summer is all of the fresh produce to choose from.  Most of us eat lighter when the heat is on and salads are a great way to eat veggies and fruit while staying cool.  I wanted to share my recipe for Fresh Dill and Egg Summer Salad plus 25 more summer salads that are scrumptious.  Enjoy!

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Salad Shown:  I recently made this Fresh Dill and Egg Summer Salad with mixed baby greens, soft boiled eggs, Roma tomatoes, chopped red pepper, and queso fresco.  It is topped with some roasted red pepper puree, homemade creamy dill dressing, and fresh dill.  It was so good I made it again the next day and several times since.

MORE great Summer Salads.  These are all delicious!

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Frugal Fun: Lady B’s Budget Boredom Busters – Make a washer necklace!

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Easy_Frugal_Washer_Necklace_Craft

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Frugal Fun: B’s Budget Boredom Busters!

B is my daughter, I am Princess Thanya and well I work here at CQ headquaters for Stacy the Couponista Queen.  B is usually asking what I’m doing when I’m fiddling around the computer but its summertime so I put the pc to the side a bit more to hang out with B and her older brother and do fun stuff together.

We are going to visit family soon and B loves to give gifts.  I was doing some research on google and found a bunch and bunch did I mention bunch of ideas about how to make washer necklaces.  So I thought I have an 8 yr old that loves finger nail polish and glitter, lets do this!

First, I’m not going to tell you to go to a craft store that defeats the ‘Frugal’ description.  I can drop a pretty fine penny at those stores so I treat them as I do Macy’s.  My husband is in construction so he had washers, boy did he ever!  But if you don’t have any at home these run under 20 cents at Home Depot or Lowe’s where they sell them singly so you can choose the size etc.

Here is what they look like, pre-polish:

 shopping

Next you need fingernail polish.  Well that was easy, B went to her room and came out with a good assortment, plain and gliterized.  If you coupon like I do you can score this on the cheap so again its ‘Frugal’.  You can also use spray paint but we didn’t have any and I don’t like those fumes and then the subsequent need for air and oxygen (LOL).  B had glitter and stuff from her stash of crafts so that was also something we already had and were not going to buy.

Today I went to Walmart and I found some cute scrapbook supplies on clearance for 50 cents, they had these cute little cards with envelopes and the little metal charms so I spent a $1 and bought those for our project.

B took over at that point with some supervision.  I added top coat to the final product to protect and we had the clear plastic necklace string because we are crafty but you can use ribbon or string  just whatever you have on hand (we have bought that at Walmart for under $3 and it has lasted forever and ever).  So for under $3 we have made some pretty cool necklaces that B will enjoy gifting and we spent time creating together.

necklace

Stay tuned…soon B will give a tutorial on the string game!

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Refreshing Summer #Recipe – Watermelon Granita – Plus #Win a ProFreshionals Fruit Bowl

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Couponista Queen is a Good Cook Kitchen Expert and was compensated for this post.  All opinions are 100% honest.

Watermelon Granita Recipe

 

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One of my very favorite things about summertime is the fresh produce, specifically FRUIT!  I cannot drive by a farm stand or a farmer’s market without stopping and buying tons of fabulous fresh fruit and vegetables.  Storing some of it is an issue, and it can spoil before we eat it all.  This is a particular issue with melons – they are so large and juicy that keeping them fresh is a challenge because they sit in their own juice.  GoodCook.com sent me a ProFreshionals Cut Fruit Bowl to try out and it is the perfect thing to serve and store fresh cut fruit.

 Profreshionals_Fresh_Fruit_Bowl

Whenever we buy a watermelon we get a large one, and storage is always an issue.  The ProFreshionals Cut Fruit Bowl is big – 7 quarts – so it holds enough for a crowd.  The bowl is big enough to use for serving and entertaining, and it keeps the fruit fresh longer by separating it from the juice.  Snap on the lid and store it in the fridge – perfect for snacking or for taking along to an event.

I just bought a nice watermelon and I decided to make some Watermelon Granita since the weather has been hot, hot, hot.  3 easy ingredients and and we were enjoying a cold and refreshing frozen treat in a few hours.  You can too!

Here is my recipe.

Watermelon Granita Recipe

A granita is an Italian semi-frozen dessert made from sugar and fruit or various flavorings.

Ingredients:

4 cups cubed, seedless or seeded watermelon

1/2 cup sugar

1 tablespoon of fresh lime juice

Directions:

Add all ingredients to a blender and puree until smooth.  Pour the mixture into a 9x9x2 metal baking pan, cover with foil, and freeze for one hour.

This is an important step to ensure the proper texture >>  After an hour in the freezer, stir the mix and mash any frozen parts with the back of a fork.  Cover again and freeze the mixture until hard, about 2 more hours.  Using a fork, scrape the granita to form icy flakes and serve in a glass.  You will need to scrape hard so get your aggression out.   This recipe can be multiplied and can be made up to 3 days ahead if you plan on serving for a party.  Just make sure that the granita container is not too deep.  Cover tightly with foil and keep frozen until ready to serve.

 

WIN a ProFreshionals Cut Fruit Bowl

ProFreshionals_Cut_Fruit_Bowl

 

The ProFreshionals Cut Fruit Bowl is available at Bed, Bath and Beyond.  Good Cook and Couponista Queen want to make sure that you get a chance to enjoy this awesome bowl for yourself, so we are giving one lucky fan the opportunity to win one.  Just enter using the super easy form below.  Sweepstakes ends at midnight central on July 31, 2014.  Open to US residents 18+.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Couponista Queen is a Good Cook Kitchen Expert and was compensated for this post.  All opinions are 100% honest.  Want to see more ideas that use the ProFreshionals Cut Fruit Bowl?   Visit the other Good Cook Kitchen Experts for more great recipes.


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Three Cheese Spinach Stuffed Italian Burgers #Recipe PLUS Win With #GoodCook

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Couponista Queen received compensation and/or promotional products for this post.  All opinions are 100% authentic.

Couponista Queen is a Good Cook Kitchen Expert, and I am excited to give you a chance to WIN what is in my kitchen drawer!  YES, that is correct.  Good Cook allowed me to select 15 items that I wanted in a kitchen drawer, and then they challenged me to create a signature recipe using as many of those items as I could.  I love Italian food, and long ago my grandma and my godmother taught me to make meatballs, so I adapted that recipe into a burger that is delicious and perfect for summer grilling.  Scroll down for the recipe, but first let me tell you how to win and give you a peek at what I selected for my Good Cook Kitchen Drawer.

Good_Cook_Cuild_Your_Kitchen_Drawer_Contest

Beginning June 2 (through Juny 14, 2014), visit GoodCook.com and build your ideal kitchen drawer filled with 15 great Good Cook tools and gadgets.  You can then register a drawer every day for a chance to WIN IT!  Can’t decide?  You can also select MY Kitchen Drawer, or take a look at the Kitchen Drawers submitted by the other Good Cook Kitchen Experts and enter one for a chance to win.  Every drawer entered could win an instant prize!  You can also participate in a 5-day kitchen gadget giveaway on the Good Cook Facebook page June 2-June 7, 2014 to win even more.   During the contest, selected items on GoodCook.com will be 25% off, and entering a drawer might get you some additional discounts!  Follow Good Cook on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest for all the latest offers and great recipes.
Good_Cook_Kitchen_Drawer_add_me  ◄Look for the “Add Me” graphic to select your drawer.

 

Here are the tools in MY “Slice, Dice, Measure, Grate, Drain, Whip, Stir & Stuff Kitchen Drawer”

Slice, Dice, Measure, Grate, Drain, Whip, Stir & Stuff Kitchen Drawer

I selected items based on the things I use when I cook!  Plus I could not pass up that stuffed burger press and the knives.

          *Items used to create my Signature Recipe

*Coarse Cheese Grater – Grates in BOTH directions, saving your wrist that achy feeling.  And comes with a cover so you don’t catch it on things (like your knuckles) when you are searching in your kitchen drawer.

Collapsible Funnel –  Genius!  Space saver and doesn’t catch on things in the drawer.

*Stuffed Burger Press – Makes the coolest stuffed burgers (see my recipe below!) or use it to make regular patties.

Berry Colander – The prefect size to make it handy for rinsing anything small.

*Rotary Grater – I have always wanted to have fancy fresh grated Parmesan cheese.  Now I can!

*Nonstick Sandwich Knife, 5″ – Slices bread perfectly.  Enough said.
Nonstick Utility Knife – Sharp and ultra-useful.
Nonstick Santoku Knife, 5″ – This sliced my tomatoes so thin I could read a newspaper through them.  I felt like an infomercial hehe.
Nonstick Paring Knife, 4″ – Makes quick work of anything you need a small knife for.
*Nonstick Chef’s Knife, 5″ – My favorite item in the drawer!  I LOVE a great Chef’s Knife, and this non-stick version is super cool.  The spinach I chopped slid right off the blade, and the weight was perfect to handle.
*“Measure From Above” 3 Piece Liquid Measuring Cup Set – SO cool!  You can see the measurements from the top.  And it includes a supersize 4-cup measure.
*Nylon Whisk – Nylon is a great in-between silicone and  metal.  Does a nice job whipping things full of air.
*Spatula, Clear Handle with Silicone Spoon – Very easy to use, flexible, and heat resistant.
*Cheese Slicer, Adjustable – I like fresh sliced cheese the best, and this adjustable slices delivered the exact thickness I wanted.
*Instant Read Meat Thermometer with case – Food safety is a #1 priority in my kitchen and should be in yours.  This is a must have for each and every kitchen drawer.

 

Three_Cheese_Spinach_Stuffed_Italian_Burgers

Good Cook challenged me to create a Signature Recipe using at least 7 items from the Kitchen Drawer that I selected.  I used 10 Items from the Kitchen Drawer plus a few additional Good Cook items like the super cool Double-Sided Flip Measuring Spoon and the equally awesome Utensil Pot Clip.  The Signature Recipe I selected is an adaptation of one of my favorite meals — Spaghetti and Meatballs with Marinara Sauce and some crusty bread.  I selected the Stuffed Burger Press as part of my Kitchen Drawer, so I decided to adapt my meatball recipe into a burger.  The result was amazingly delicious and perfect for the Summer grill.  Without further ado, I present…

Three Cheese Spinach Stuffed Italian Burgers

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Italian_Burger_MixBurger Mix Ingredients:

  • 1-1/2 pounds lean ground beef or ground sirloin
  • 1/2 pound ground Italian sausage
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs
  • 3 cloves minced garlic (1-1/2 teaspoon)
  • 1 teaspoon basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Burger Mix Directions:

In a large bowl, beat the egg then combine everything but the meat.  Add meat then mix well.  I use my hands.  Form into a ball, then allow to rest while you mix the Spinach and Cheese filling.

Italian_Burger_Filling_and_AssemblySpinach and Cheese Filling Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup Ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup fresh spinach (1/2 cup chopped)
  • dash of salt and pepper

Directions:

Combine Ricotta cheese, spinach, salt and pepper in a bowl.

Burger Assembly Directions:

Divide burger mix into 8 portions.  They will be approximately 4 oz. each.  Place a portion in the burger press, press it then turn the press over and indent the burger patty to make a pocket for the filling.  Use approximately one tablespoon of the filling and spread it to fill the cavity.  Take another portion of meat and flatten it into slight patty shape, then place it over the filling taking care to make sure that it will all be sealed in when you press the two patties together, then press them evenly and remove the patty.  Repeat until you have 4 complete burger patties.

Italian_Burger_MiscellaneousOther Ingredients:

  • Parmesan cheese to top burgers with, approx. 1/8 cup or use fresh grated for best taste
  • Fresh mozzarella cheese slices, one per burger
  • 4 hard rolls, sliced in half
  • 1-1/2 cup marinara sauce, heated

Grilling and Serving Directions:

Heat grill to medium.  Grill burgers covered for 8-10 minutes per side.  These are thick burgers and will take longer than typical.  Don’t use too high a heat or the filling will leak.    During last minute of cooking time, grill buns and top burgers with mozzarella cheese.  Check for safe internal temperature of 165° before removing from grill.  Put marinara on plate, place bottom bun then burger.  Top with additional marinara sauce then Parmesan cheese.

Goes nicely with Italian Mac ‘N Cheese with Caramelized Onions and Tomatoes, Breaded Parmesan Green Beans, or Grilled Yellow Squash with Garlic and Parmesan.

 


Couponista Queen received compensation and/or promotional products for this post.  All opinions are 100% authentic.

 

 

 

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Summer Recipe – Grilled Yellow Squash with Garlic and Parmesan

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Grilled_Yellow_Squash_Garlic_Parmesan

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Throw this easy side together in a flash and enjoy a tasty way to have yellow squash next time you grill out.  This is a perfect accompaniment to any grilled meat or fish, and a great way to enjoy a summer vegetable you might otherwise skip over.

Ingredients:

2 Small Yellow Squash, cut in half lengthwise

2 tablespoons of olive oil

1/2 teaspoon of minced garlic

sea salt

cracked black pepper

Parmesan cheese

Yellow_Squash_Halved

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Directions:

Heat grill to medium.  Combine garlic and olive oil and let sit for at least 15 minutes or until you are almost ready to grill.  Brush each top cut half of squash with olive oil.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Grill skin side down for 5 minutes.  Turn once and grill an additional 4-6 minutes until golden brown and the edges are starting to char.  Remove from grill and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.  Serve immediately.  Serves 4 as a side.

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Easy Slow Cooker Recipe – Italian Mac ‘N Cheese with Caramelized Onions and Tomatoes

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Warm, gooey comfort food meets the easy of the slow cooker in this Italian twist on a diner classic.

Warm, gooey comfort food meets the ease of the slow cooker in this Italian twist on a dinner classic. ©2014 Couponista Queen

 

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As part of their coming Build Your Kitchen Drawer Contest starting June 2 (Be on the lookout for more posts from me!) Good Cook sent me 5 essential items for your kitchen drawer and challenged me to come up with a one dish recipe that used them.  Well, challenge accepted, and I have to say we were very pleased with the results of the Easy Slow Cooker Italian Mac ‘N Cheese with Tomatoes and Caramelized Onions and I will be making this again.   Scroll down for the recipe, but first… Good Cook sent these must-haves for any kitchen drawer:

Smart Ice Cream Scoop (A new take on a classic, this scoop takes on the hardest or softest ice cream, but I used it to serve my mac ‘ n cheese and the non-stick surface made it a snap.)

Flip Measuring Spoon  (Only ONE measuring spoon to keep track of…or lose lol!  This one is very cool, flip to measure 1/2 tsp and tbsp!)

Safe-cut Can Opener (I am, no joke, can opener impaired.  Even I was able to use this one to easily and safely to open not one but two cans in a row without cursing, a new record for me.)

Egg Separator (Maybe we should call this one a “conscious egg uncoupler” instead.  I dig the way it hangs on the side of a bowl, because let’s face it, it does me no good if I drop the whole thing in.)

Pot Clip Holder (The handles on my utensils will no longer suffer the pain of my stupidity when I leave them laying on the edge of a hot pan.  Long live this pot clip!  These are going to be stocking stuffers this year.) I was able to actually use all 5 items.  No kitchen tools were harmed in the making of this recipe! Good_Cook_Cuild_Your_Kitchen_Drawer_Contest BUT a kitchen drawer is not complete with just 5 items…SO Good Cook is doing something to help all of YOU good cooks to stock your own kitchen drawer.  I was selected to build my own kitchen drawer, and beginning June 2, 2014 (and ending July 14, 2014) you will have a daily chance to enter to WIN the kitchen drawer of your choice: you can win mine (The BEST one of course!!), build your own, or select any of the other drawers built by my fellow Good Cook Kitchen Experts.  There will be also be instant win prizes and there is a 5-day giveaway event on the Good Cook Facebook page starting June 2 through June 7.   Good_Cook_Kitchen_Drawer_add_meVisit the Good Cook Facebook page May 28 for details and follow @GoodCook on Twitter!  ALL of the items I selected will be 25% off during the contest–look for the Add Me graphic to build your drawer for a chance to WIN starting June 2. Come back here on June 2 for my post with more details and my drawer selections plus a NEW recipe using the items in my Kitchen Drawer.  

 

Easy Slow Cooker Italian Mac ‘N Cheese with Tomatoes and Caramelized Onions

Warm, gooey comfort food meets the ease of the slow cooker in this Italian twist on a dinner classic.

Serves 6-8 as a side dish, 4 as a main dish.  Prep time approximately 15 minutes.  Cook time 90 minutes to 2 hours on low in a slow cooker.

Italian_Mac_N_Cheese_Collage

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons of margarine

8 Ounces uncooked Elbow Macaroni

1 15-ounce can of crushed tomatoes

1 large sweet onion, sliced thin or chopped (about 3 cups)

1 teaspoon of sugar

1 /2 to 1 teaspoon of Italian seasoning to taste

1/2 teaspoon of salt

1/4-1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder to taste

1/4 teaspoon of pepper (I used white pepper)

red pepper to taste

1/4 cup water

6 ounces of Velveeta or similar loaf cheese.  Processed cheese is necessary to withstand the long heat of a slow cooker without curdling.

1 12-ounce can of evaporated milk.  I use the fat free version and it is just as good.  Do not use regular milk as it will curdle in the heat.

2 tablespoons of real butter

1 large egg

Parmesan cheese for garnish

shredded cheddar cheese for garnish

parsley for garnish

Directions:

Using the 2 tbsp. of margarine, coat the inside of a cold slow cooker.  Add the uncooked pasta noodles and the can of crushed tomatoes, stirring to combine.

In a nonstick skillet on med-high heat, melt 2 tablespoons of butter and add the onions.  Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of sugar and stir.  Cook 5 minutes, then reduce heat to medium and cook another 15 minutes stirring occasionally till onions are caramelized but NOT burnt.  Do not burn the sugar.  Add the cooked caramelized onions to the slow cooker.  

In the same skillet, add the evaporated milk, water, and the Velveeta cheese (cut into chunks for faster melting).  Stirring constantly, melt the cheese over low heat just until fully combined.  Do NOT let this mixture boil.  Turn off the heat, add the salt, pepper, and red pepper, and allow the mix to cool for FIVE minutes.  This is necessary to keep from cooking the egg.

While the mixture is cooling, separate a large egg.   Beat the egg white.  After the cheese mixture cools 5 minutes, add it to the slow cooker.  Add the garlic powder and the Italian seasoning and stir to combine all the ingredients.  Stir in the egg yolk.  Stir in the egg white, being careful to not over stir.  Put the lid on, turn the cooker on low, and check to see if the pasta is done after 90 minutes to 2 hours.  When done, sprinkle top with Parmesan cheese, shredded cheddar cheese, and parsley.  Refrigerate any leftovers within an hour.  Serves 6-8 as a side dish, 4 as a main.

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Easy and Fast Chocolate Covered Oreo Cookies Recipe

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Chocolate Covered Oreo Cookies

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The King could barely wait until I was done with the photos for this post before he snagged a couple of these and a glass of milk.  Needless to say, they are good!  Easy to make and very impressive.

You will need:

Chocolate wafers in milk and white

Oreo cookies (or any sandwich cream cookie- I sometimes dip the white cookies in white for a change)

Assorted candies and sprinkles

Cookie sheet and wax paper

Fork and bowl

Dipping Chocolate Oreo

Melt the chocolate in a bowl according to package directions.  Dip one cookie in the chocolate, turn it over and make sure it is well coated.  Use the fork to let the chocolate drain a bit, tapping it on the edge of the bowl then scraping the bottom of the fork before you gently place the cookie on the wax paper lined cookie sheet.  Do NOT move the cookie once it is placed until it is totally hardened.  Dip a few cookies at a time, making sure to decorate each one before they harden.  You may need to re-heat your chocolate as you go.

After you are done, allow the cookies to harden completely then place them into your container of choice.  These are  perfect as favors for parties, individual treats, hostess gifts, get-well-soon, congratulations, etc.  I make these for all kinds of occasions!

Chocolate Dipped Oreo Cookies Collage

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Make an Edible Donut Valentine Bouquet

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Edible Donut Valentine Bouquet

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Entenmann’s is celebrating this Valentine’s Day with the Entenmann’s Sweet Valentine’s Edible Bouquet and Entenmann’s Sweet Donut Sweepstakes.  Entenmann’s fans won’t want to miss out on this mouthwatering celebration!

Entenmann’s provided Couponista Queen with funds, coupons and supplies to make my own Edible Donut Bouquet, and it was a lot of fun.  My mom came over one evening to see the baby, so Ava supervised us while we made the bouquet.  It took less than an hour and we thought the results were pretty awesome.   Here is the idea photo from Entenmann’s.  How do you think we did?

Entenmann's Sweet Valentine's Edible Bouquet (v3)

If you want the recipe card to make this donut bouquet, enter the Entenmann’s Sweet Donut Sweepstakes on the Entenmann’s Facebook page through February 27, 2014 for the chance to win lots of prizes, including Entenmann’s coupons, Mr. Rich Frosted and Ms. Crumb plush toys, 1-800-Flowers arrangements and more!  Details can be found on Facebook.com/Entenmanns or on 8-pack boxes of Rich Frosted Donuts and 8-pack boxes of Crumb Donuts.  After you enter you will get the recipe card.

Entenmann’s Sweet Valentine's Edible Bouquet

Here are a few tips we recommend from making the donut bouquet:

Make sure that you are careful when dipping the larger donuts as they will be heavy.  We used 2 lollipop sticks in the larger donuts to make sure they were secure when we put them into the vase.  Make sure the sticks are in both sides of the donut (through the bottom then the center hole then into the top).  To cover the sticks showing in the center hole, I cut a Pop’em donut in half and used melted chocolate to glue it in the middle.  I did this before I dipped the entire donut so it would be smooth.

You will need to chill the donuts before dipping them and after dipping them.  Since it is so cold outside, we sent the King outdoors for a few minutes with the tray rather than try to fit them into the freezer.

If you don’t want to make the whole bouquet, or if you want treats for many people, just make the little Pop’ems and wrap them individually with some small cellophane bags and ribbon.  Viola, you will have the perfect little Valentine’s to give out at work, school, etc!

Couponista Queen received compensation for this post.  Please see the Privacy Policy and Disclosures.

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Busy Kids, Happy Meals – Make a DIY Placemat Puzzle Craft

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DIY Placemat Puzzle

Make meals more fun with this interactive placemat puzzle.  Easy to make with supervision from ages 3+.  Cheap and fun craft for kids.

If you like this craft, please Share it or Pin Busy Kids, Happy Meals – DIY Placemat Puzzle on Pinterest

This is the time of year when you have more kids over to your house for dinner or snacks.  But sometimes you don’t have little ones anymore so what are you going to do? Hand them your iPad while taking a few Advils for the migraine you are going to have worrying about your tablet?  LOL  you need a more creative entertaining solution.  When my kids were little I always carried around a lot of stuff but sometimes you just can’t bring the right things with you.   If you are the  hostess you want to make even the youngest guest feel at home so Mom and kick back and relax a bit.

Have a placemat that will keep them busy and won’t set you back $10 ☺!

I’ve seen this made only with the foamy placemats the flat plastic ones will have sharp edges so don’t use those.

I stopped by the 99 Cent Store today and they had lots of festive ones to choose from for 99 Cents so the price is right, especially if its not a present, and you are going to have more then one child over so you don’t want to break the bank.  I’ve seen people draw out pieces that look like puzzles so it will depend on your level of craftiness.  If you are a novice crafter like me this will be perfect.    I’d use cookie cutters and shapes you have or can easily draw, larger pieces for younger kids and kids 3-5 maybe smaller shapes or letters?  If you choose a snow flake pattern like this how about using circles to make a snowman?

What are you going to need?

Cheap foamy placemats

exacto, utility or craft knife and a safe surface to cut on

marker

cookie cutter, ruler, anything you can use to make a shape

15 minutes ☺

Make sure to cut out the shapes for all of the younger kids, and closely supervise the older ones.

1486511_10151899520680674_1048318380_o

I made a real simple one, 4 shapes I think for a young toddler.  You can run with this craft and make it your own.  Once it all fits back in place to the frame of the puzzle they can eat on top of it and then take it home!  I like this method because it holds a frame to pop in the shapes but you can draw interlocking puzzle shapes for a preschooler.

Tada!

 

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DIY Dish Soap Recipe – Homemade, Frugal, and Easy!

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DIY Frugal Easy Homemade Dish Soap

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DIY Dish Soap  Frugal and Easy!

Have you ever thought about making your own dish soap?  Necessity is the mother of invention, or at least the mother of my googling late at night.  I am Princess T and I watch too much Criminal Minds so going out late to get dish soap when I run out is just not going to happen.  Having previously made my own clothes detergent and body wash I figured well, I need to wash dishes now or first thing in the morning and I do not want to go out just for that and risk not snagging a deal.  What was a Frugal Mom to do?  So I googled and read and read and read!  And there are a bunch of different variations that bring you to the same happy conclusion so once again I took what I wanted and felt comfortable with and ran with it…ok ok I’m more of a stroller not a runner.

What will you need and how much will it cost you?  If you are already a DIY kind of person you will find that you already have what you need at home so no need for extra expenses.

911255_10151785387715674_509351200_n

14 ounces of water, boiled

1/4 cup of grated soap.  I used castile soap that I had from when I made body wash.  Some people use Ivory soap or whatever bar soap they have on hand.  I can’t see myself using Irish Spring or anything too bath like so I used castile soap which on its own is wonderful.

1 tablespoon borax.  I had a box from when I made my own laundry detergent

Essential oils, optional.  In a moment of sheer insanity today while looking for something totally unrelated I found a bottle of tea tree oil that I bought at Trader Joe’s recently and had forgotten about.  I read that a lot of people like to use this as they are antiseptic so I figured why not?  So I added 10 drops

Grate the soap to get 1/4 cup, about a 1/3 of the bar more or less.  Once the water is boiling stir in the soap and the borax until everything is dissolved nicely.  I added 10 drops of tea tree oil as this has a strong smell and I didn’t want it to overpower with the scent.  That’s it! Pretty easy and fast, how long does it take for water to boil? Pretty Quick

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I found a cute mason jar and in it went.  It will gel as it cools, 6-8 hours.  Knowing me as you do by now you know patient I’m not so once it cooled I put it in my fridge and watched a new episode of Criminal Minds.  It gelled nicely.  Did it work?  Yes it did, not crazy suds but enough suds to help you think that its working.  As you know bubbles and suds do not mean anything but it helps with the mind.  Was it rough on my hands?  Nope.  Did my dishes or glasses have a funky smell or taste?  Nope, they were just clean and that was all I needed, well that and a  break.

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Will I make igain?  Yep, I have everything I need to make it and since my stockpile on dish soap is low there is no reason for me to not make anymore.   My next batch I might try using lavender essential oils, some people use only 1 tablespoon of grated soap I used 1/4 cup which is a little more then 2 tablespoons.  Some swear by adding vinegar but some say that vinegar and castile soap do not mix and since I do not like the smell of vinegar I opted to not include it.  Am I happy?  yeah but I would be happier if the dishes washed themselves.

Ah to dream.

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DIY Frugal De-Wrinkler!

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DIY Frugal De-Wrinkler!

Now just cause I’m a SAHM doesn’t mean I’m Mrs Cleaver.  How many times do I restart the dryer cause I forgot about that load and my clothes all look disastrous?  I won’t say but its more times then I’d care to admit.  I try very hard to be frugal now that I no longer work a full time job outside the home, and one thing that I’d occasionally splurge on is a certain brand of de-wrinkle spray that costs a little too much then I’m willing to admit I pay ☺  but you are looking at about $5 for a 16 ounce spray bottle or 31 cents an ounce!   Combine that with not so many coupons out there for this and I needed an alternative pronto.

I had bumped into the concoction for the DIY version on-line enough times to wonder if it works or not.  Will I have to iron?  Will my family be destined to walk this earth with wrinkled clothes???  Well today was the day I was going to find out.

What will you need?

Fabric Softener, for this I bought a small 28 oz bottle at the 99 cent store

White Vinegar, I had some but y’all know where to score this cheap.

Water

You will use equal parts of all three.  I used 8 oz of each making 24 oz of this de-wrinkler spray.  The bottle of fabric softener will be enough for 3 batches so this batch will cost you 33 cents.   Hold the press!  This batch will cost almost what ONE OUNCE of the store bought kind will cost.  1 OUNCE vs 24 OUNCES.  Hmmmmm…

But does it work?  In the words of the Monkees (oh come on you know who they are right?  I’m not that old ☺) I’M A BELIEVER!

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You spray your piece of clothing, smooth out and let dry.  PRESTO NO IRON NEEDED!

 Now if you are in a rush you can also spray this and throw it in the dryer and it will also work but I’m trying to get away from all that.  So it works, how does it smell?  Like Vinegar?  NOPE and that’s huge in this house cause the hubby can’t stand the smell of vinegar so this is PERFECT!  It will smell like vinegar a little when you spray but once it dries you can’t tell.  You can add essential oils if you wanted too but this is just something to take the wrinkles out so I didn’t want a heavy scent or anything like that but its up to you.  I always use warm water. Its my thing, I feel it helps everything mesh together more but that’s just me.  You will see a lot of different variations to this online some using less fabric softener some using alcohol, but I saw this enough to want to try it and I’m very pleased with the results of today’s little experiment.

 

 

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Easy, Frugal and Simple: 2 Ingredient Pumpkin Muffins

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Easy, Frugal and Simple:  2 Ingredient Pumpkin Muffins

I’d like to start by saying, I am Princess Thanya and I am baking impaired.  I long to be the Mom with the chewy cookies, or just right brownies, the perfect cupcakes, heck even the nicely baked refrigerated dough rolls, but alas I am NOT that mom.  If it’s something to bake I will under cook it, or burn it.  But I got sick and tired of reading all these posts everywhere about how easy this recipe is to make and make (one place being the Duncan Hines Website).  I wanted to join in on the fun!

Why I like this recipe, its easy.  Its 2 ingredients, I don’t have to go to the store and look for stuff I can’t pronounce and will only use once.  Here is what you’ll need:

1 box Duncan Hines or any brand cake mix.

1 large can 18 oz pumpkin pie filling (not the regular canned pumpkin but the filling that’s prepared)

Pre-heat oven at 350.  In a large bowl, empty the box of cake mix and mix with the pumpkin pie filling.  I did not use the whole can of pie filling.  I used about 15 ounces.  When you are mixing you will start to see when it has reached a good consistency.  I have read people using the whole can, its up to you.  I used about 15 oz and it was perfect. Also I used yellow cake mix, someone posted saying she used chocolate cake mix cause that’s what she had on hand and everyone loved it so again its up to you.

THAT’S IT!  No sifting, no measuring, no cracking, no melting, mix the two ingredients and you are DONE!    Get your muffin pan out and liners and fill them up!  Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a lovely golden color and a toothpick comes out clean.   Makes 1 dozen.  My hubby warmed one up and slathered it with cream cheese this morning.  Big hit!

So did I burn them?  No the force was with me

Check them out!

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DIY Frugal Homemade Hand Sanitizer!

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DIY Homemade Frugal Hand Sanitizer

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Summer is coming to a close, and if you are like me you are looking  at the expiration dates on the sunblock and lotions to decide to keep them or not.  I had a less then half bottle of Aloe Vera Gel sitting under my bathroom sink.  What to do?  Well I decided to figure out a frugal way to use it and what I found was awesome!  There are plenty of ways to make your own Hand Sanitizer.  So I picked a Frugal one and ran with it (not really more like a light jog, I don’t run☺).

OK so what will you need?

INGREDIENTS

1/3 cup Aloe Vera Gel

2/3  cup rubbing Alcohol

Essential oil drops to make it scented if you like

DIRECTIONS

Mix in a bowl until well blended, fill container of your choice.

That’s IT.  REALLY!

Really stop staring, you are making me nervous.

You will need to adjust the essential oil to your liking, at least 8 drops but I did more like 12.  If you want to buy some cheap Aloe Vera gel, I’ve seen it at the Dollar Tree.  Each tube has 6oz so you’d make two batches from one tube for $1.  You’d be out $2 for the supplies if you don’t have the alcohol.  I did have it on hand which was the purpose of my experiment, to re-purpose leftovers.   Some people go green and make this with Vodka and distilled water but I didn’t want my hubby to think I was making a cocktail.

I refilled the Aloe Vera Gel bottle and slapped some duct tape on there to label it.  I rubbed some on my hand, it is watery and you don’t need much.   Just splash a little on and rub until gone.  When you do this it smells like alcohol but once it dries I had a great lavender scent on my hands that even the hubby liked.

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How much did it make?  Well, it refilled my 12 oz bottle from the Aloe Vera Gel and I had about 4-5 oz left to put in a small bottle for my purse, so you are looking at making about 18 oz more or less.  Again, the frugality comes in the fact we are using what we might throw away at the end of Summer not actually making it to replace something we already buy.

Now I’m off to re-purpose my leftover roasted chicken to chicken salad for tomorrows lunch!

#frugalmomsrock

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Easy to make DIY Homemade Frugal Gel Air Fresheners

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DIY Homemade Frugal Gel Air Fresheners

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I don’t care for air freshener plug ins.  That’s just me, maybe cause I think they waste energy and are little mini energy vampires that are constantly sucking power (yes I am a  Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan) and so I buy a lot of the cute little gel air fresheners when I can.  I’ve found some nice ones in Marshall’s and Ross too when I’m doing my little deal missions at those stores.  So I got to thinking, are they that hard to make?  Because I have kids and pets I do not leave a lot of dry potpourri out in pretty bowls since we all know what happens to pretty bowls. ☺

There are a lot of DIY concoctions out there, so I sorta picked what I liked and ran with it.  Some use just essential oils, but if you do not have them on hand already going out to find and buy them might not be something you want to do, and then you will be spending anywhere from $2 to $5 each.  That being said and me already being in frugal love with the Dollar Tree I opted to go there for my scent.  I picked up a bottle of Vanilla liquid potpourri.  What else will you need?

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Ingredients:

1-1/2cups  bottled liquid potpourri

1 box plain gelatin (one box has 4 small envelopes and you need all 4 of them for this recipe)

2 tablespoons table salt

1 cup water

1-3 empty containers depending on what you want to do with the mix.

Optional:  Decorative items to stick in, and food coloring if  you want to make them colored.

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Bring water to boil, dissolve all gelatin and salt, move to other bowl or container and add the liquid potpourri.  And that’s it!  The whole process takes like 15 minutes tops!  Choose your container – I had one with a lid that I wanted to use, I also had some small Ziploc containers and a mid size one.  I wanted to make a pretty one so once the mixture had cooled I had some  silk sunflowers in the closet and I put one in the middle.  You can leave them out to harden at room temps or if you are like me you want to see them NOW, stick them in the fridge and tada, semi-instant gratification!   These will last for 4 weeks, the salt keeps it from molding.  Some people add a splash of vodka for this purpose but we don’t waste liquor in this house, LOL.   You can really run with this and make it your own.  I’m making a new batch of this but this time at the end I’m adding a stick of cinnamon to make it vanilla cinnamon.  Have beads?  Sea Shells?  Dry potpourri?  You can jazz this up anyway you want and to match your decor.  You can also add food coloring but I didn’t.  I wanted to make this as frugal as possible and then you decide what to do with what you have on hand.

How much will you spend?  $1.48 for the Gelatin at Walmart or Target and $1 for a bottle of liquid potpourri at the Dollar Tree.  Walmart also has the concentrated liquid potpourri for 97 cents in a tiny bottle that you can use and scent to your liking.   The bottle of potpourri will make two batches so your 2nd batch will only cost you $1.48 for 2 or 3 air fresheners depending on the size of container you use.

I made a mini one for my desk.  I am going to be honest with you I can not find my one hole puncher and I could not find one at any store this week ☺  But you take that and cover the air fresheners and poke a few holes in the lid to keep out fingers and cat noses and to let the scent escape.

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I’m really loving these and I plan to make more and more DIY things myself.  I’m a frugal mama, hear me roar! ☺ #frugalmomsrock

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Frugal DIY Homemade Body Wash – Easy and Awesome

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DIY Bodywash

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Always looking for a bargain and finding shelves cleared?  I encounter that, too.  And as more and more stores are no longer doubling coupons to $1 its getting harder and harder to score freebies.  That’s why we need to find ways to make our own frugal versions of the products we use more to save more money.  I always buy body wash, its something I buy with or without a deal.  I have a 7 year old who loves body wash  so it was up to me to find a recipe that I’d like, that we could use but that would be frugal not just something ok, but something good something I’d want my family to use.

I found a lot of great recipes for body wash using Castile Soap.  Castile Soap is amazing on its own so if you want to make this just with the castile soap and water for your family due to sensitive skin, etc. that would work too, it would just be watery.  What I found was that its common to add glycerin drops to ‘gel’ the concoction.  These drops run about $5 for 4 ounces so I was not interested, because then I’d still want to add fragrance.  I decided to add a bar of soap that already included the glycerin and the fragrance and since I live at the local  Dollar Tree I decided to buy a bar of Yardley’s Lavender soap.

Here is what I used:

1 bar castile soap

1 bar yYardley’s lavendar soap

12 cups or 96 oz water.

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Grate the bars of soap, bring water to simmer and add the soap.  Stir until dissolved.  If you would like spin around 3 times to the East and 3 times to the West, because its so incredibly easy and quick to make you are going to feel like you need to do something else, LOL!  I like to freak out my husband and cackle while I stir the pot.

I poured the mix into a container I have and put it in the refrigerator overnight.  Some leave it at room temperature for 24 hours, but I have not the time nor the patience for that, I like to see results fast.  I left it overnight in my 2nd fridge and when I checked on it the next morning it was a nice soft jelly or ‘snot’ consistency.  I took a whisk and mixed it around, or you can use your hand works just as well to loosen it up.  I loved the consistency, not watery and the scent was just enough for me.  I had a empty bottle of shampoo that I washed out and filled up and BAM!  I’m ready.  I am going to leave the rest in the container and refill as needed.

What did I spend?  Well $1 for the Yardley soap and $3.25 for a 3 pack of Castile soap at Walmart.   $2.08 for 96 ounces of body wash, so it comes out to 2 CENTS AN OUNCE!   A bottle of a name brand body wash on the low side runs, $3.75 a bottle for 16.9 ounces or around .22 cents an ounce.   I’m going to get about 5 1/2 bottles (16.9 ounce bottle) out of these batch I made and its costing me less the price of one!

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Ok but how does it feel?  Its creamy, not watery and it smells great.  I have used it 2 days in a row and I’m sold.   Whip some up and put in mason jars and add to a gift basket with a nice loofah and this makes a great frugal gift.

Save on!

 

 

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Why retail stores are asking for your zip code and why it could be dangerous to give it

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Why do retail stores ask for your zip code

We have all had the question asked when we check out at stores.  The cashier casually asks for your zip code.  I always figured that they were trying to see how many shoppers are local.  The question seems innocent enough, right?

WRONG.

It turns out that by providing that tiny piece of information, you could be opening yourself up to everything from unwanted marketing to identity theft.  Some retail stores (and this includes a lot of the big chains!) collect this information and take it to what is called a data mining company where things like your name, address, phone number, date of birth, ethnicity, and even your yearly income can be obtained.  They match your payment information or the information from a check or loyalty card to your zip code.  The list can then be used to market to you or can be sold to others.  And in most cases this is entirely legal.  Next time you are asked, the best advice is to ASK why they need it.  You can then decide whether to provide it or to politely decline to give them the information.  If there is any issue with your refusal, ask to speak to a manager then call the corporate offices of the company to tell then what you think.

NOTE: I understand that there may be legitimate times to give the cashier your zip code.  Sometimes this information is asked for verification purposes. However, it would perhaps be advised then to ask the question as to why they are needing the zip code from you.  Then act as you think you should once you have the answer.  Never be afraid to ask for a manager to explain it properly.  The most important thing is to try to protect your information from unnecessary collection.

For the full story, please view this video from my local news station KSDK.com to learn why a store asks for your zip code.

 

I want to know!

Where have you been asked for your zip code?  Do you give it?  Do you lie?  Did you have any idea that this was dangerous???  I sure did not till I saw the story!

 

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