• Budget Smart Girl's Guide

    The Annual Budget Smart Girl’s Holiday Gift Guide

    Here is the first of the batch of holiday gift ideas- Christmas Milk   This one really caught my eye, not so much the product but the story behind it and I thought I’d share it with you- Christmas Milk, The Elves’ Favorite Drink (Ultra-Pasteurized, High Quality Eggnog) and its scrumptious accompaniment Elf Nuts. This product is new for 2012 and excellent for moms to give to the kids. The product also goes toward a charitable cause—a portion of sales are given to help kids in foster care find a forever home.  Cost: Milk $3.75 and $5.75 per bag (Nuts) Founded by Heidi Fausel, Christmas Milk was started after a child received…

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    Decorating Your Christmas Tree Like A Pro

    Here are some tips for decorating a Christmas Tree from floral expert Angie Zimmerman- Whether you are using a fresh tree or an artificial tree, the tips below will apply.  (If there are any distinctions, I will make them within the tip itself). 1) It is important to start with a THEME.  Themes can be ethnic (Hawaiian, Asian, German, etc), colors (like blue and silver or red and green or purple and gold), eclectic (a mixture of color coordinated items where all elements go together), playful, object oriented like stars or fairies, patriotic….you get the idea, right?  All elements including the ribbon, ornaments and colors should help develop the overall…

  • Meatless Mondays

    It’s Meatless Monday-Vegetable Stuffed Poblano Peppers

     Sometimes vegetable based recipes can be on the bland side so I like to add herbs and spices to kick things up. I’ve also made this recipe using regular peppers too but have to say the poblano variety have my vote. This serves 4. 4 poblano peppers, small to medium size 1 tablespoon oil 1 cup of chopped onion 1 medium size carrot, grated 2 small zucchini, cut into bite sized cubes 1 15.5. can pinto beans I 10 oz can enchilada sauce, mild or spicy to your liking 1 teaspoon chili powder 1 teaspoon oregano 1 teaspoon cumin Salt to taste 1 cup shredded cheese, divided. I use sharp cheddar because it…

  • Budget Smart Cook

    Thanksgiving Made Easy

    Thanksgiving, or any meal for that matter doesn’t have to be fancy and expensive to be great and memorable. Here are some tricks I’ve learned along the way-   Stuffing Sure, you can make it from scratch but I’d rather concentrate on another dish. However, many years ago when I got tired of stuffing tasting the same year after year I decided to add a few ingredients and here’s what I came up with- Jazzed Up Stuffing 1 16 ounce package of Pepperidge Farm Herb Seasoned Stuffing mix 1 large onion, chopped 2 medium sized carrots, finely diced 1 8 ounce package of mushrooms, sliced 2 stalks of celery, finely diced 2…

  • Budget Smart Cook

    It’s Almost Thanksgiving…make the most of this week

    Meatless Monday will return next week. Most of us think of holidays as being budget drainers but sometimes they can also save you money- Make Your Own Stock   Here’s something I’ve been doing for a couple of months, making my own veggie stock and freezing it. And what better week to get a good supply of vegetable trimmings than Thanksgiving. I use a freezer bag and each time I peel carrots, chop onion, celery, broccoli I put leftover pieces in there. When the bag’s full I put the contents into a large saucepan, add 4-8 cups of water, depending on how many veggie trimmings I have. Throw in some…

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    Looking Great For The Holidays

     Here is Dale’s November post all about looking great this holiday season- Festive Fashion for the Holidays  Bells are ringing and it’s that time of year when holiday e-vites start flooding your inbox, Facebook events and invitations start trickling into your already busy schedule. Maybe you’re planning an “ugly sweater” theme party. And whether you look forward to your work holiday party or dread every second of it, you’ll need something festive to wear.  When planning an outfit for an event, it’s important to know if there is a dress code. Whether the function is “casual” or “cocktail” attire, it’s best to error on the side of being overdressed. If…

  • Budget Smart Cook

    Easy Holiday Solutions for Staying on Budget

    November and December aren’t always the kindest months for your wallet. This is the season that’s loaded with pitfalls. If you’re hosting Thanksgiving dinner, maybe you’ll end up with lots of leftovers crowding the refrigerator. Or maybe you’ve offered to host a holiday party. And then there’s the office holiday party too. If you haven’t already locked yourself in the closet waiting for January 1st to roll around, here are some ways I’ve found that can help you stay sane and on budget. Dilemma #1 Too Many Leftovers Leftovers are Good I wouldn’t consider any holiday meal a success without leftovers. So don’t think of them as your enemy each time…

  • Meatless Mondays

    It’s Meatless Monday-Beef and Barley Stew…without the beef

    Fake meats aren’t one of my favorite buys at the store. Most times they’re overpriced and many of them are high in sodium but once in a while I give something new a try. A couple of months ago I noticed a new brand of vegetarian foods sitting on the freezer shelf. They were on sale for $3.49 a bag and I thought at that price I’ll give them a try. So here’s what I made with this new product, a beef stew but using the ‘beefless tips instead of real beef. The package contains enough to feed two, maybe three people depending on what you serve with it. You…

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    Easy Thanksgiving Decorations by Angie Zimmerman

    Angie Zimmerman the Flower Diva is back again, this time offering us some easy tips for decorating for Thanksgiving. Thanks Angie for all these wonderful tips and suggestions! I know so many people who absolutely can’t wait for this time of year…they love the chill in the air, the warm orange, yellow and brown color scheme and the comfort foods associated with the season.  I have to admit, this is not my favorite time of year, but I do like decorating with the fall themes. I like to start by buying an assortment of pumpkins…different sizes, different shapes, different colors.  I also like to buy a couple bales of hay…

  • Budget Smart Girl's Guide

    A Fuss Free Thanksgiving

    Whether it’s your first time making Thanksgiving dinner or your 21st, the big day can be tough on both your nerves and your wallet. I’ve found the key to any successful and inexpensive holiday meal is lots of preplanning. Think About The Menu The first think I always do is think about what I’m going to serve. Will I stick with favorite recipes or go for something new and maybe even more budget friendly? One word of caution here and I speak from experience. If you’re opting for the something new, give it a test run a couple of days before the meal. There’s nothing worse than wasting your time and money…