• Budget Smart Girl's Guide,  Products and Companies Worth Checking Out

    Canadian Free Stuff

        Over the years of running Budget Smart Girl, I’ve had lots of Canadian subscribers ask me about coupons and deals for them. Finally I have a site for you to check out. Here’s an interview with Theresa Bruce who runs CanadianFreeStuff…   Budget Smart Girl (BSG)-Tell us about you and your site? Theresa Bruce (TB)-I first started out this free Canadianfreestuff back in 2000 as a hobby, and at that time loved getting free samples in the mail – Back in those days there were some fabulous free offers you could receive. My mailbox had something new and cool every week back in those days. Free T-shirts and other…

  • Budget Smart Cook

    Tuscan Sausage & Potato Soup

      Soup is one of my favorite meals. Pair it with a salad or some bread and dinner is served. The sausage and seasonings add a lot of flavor, while big chunks of potato make for a satisfying meal and best of all with just a little pre-preparation, you can put all the ingredients into a slow-cooker and go and do other things…perfect for the upcoming holiday season. Prep time: 20 minutes Cook time: 3-7 hours Serves: 6-8 Ingredients: 4 slices of bacon, diced 2 lbs. bulk mild sausage 2 15-oz. cans cannellini beans 6-7 c. chicken stock, divided 1 T. crushed red pepper flakes 2-3 cloves fresh garlic, finely…

  • Budget Smart Cook

    Slow Cooker Beef Broccoli-Perfect for a Winter’s Night Meal

      Okay, it might not be winter quite yet, but this tasty beef broccoli recipe can be pulled together quickly for a fast and easy weeknight meal. And yes, the slow cooker comes to the rescue again. Prep time: 10 minutes Cook time: 3-7 hours Serves: 4-6 Ingredients: 1½ lbs. beef stew meat, cut into chunks 1½ c. beef stock 3-4 cloves garlic, finely minced ½ c. soy sauce 1 T. honey 2 T. toasted sesame oil Salt and black pepper, to taste 2 T. arrowroot (or cornstarch) 1 14-oz. bag frozen broccoli florets 1 red bell pepper, cut in short, thin strips 3 c. brown rice, cooked 1 T.…

  • Budget Smart Cook

    A Spicy Dip for Halloween

    It’s my slow cooker to the rescue again. This time I made Spicy Buffalo Chicken Dip(that’s more like a meal), that I think is perfect for Halloween night when you’re in a hurry to go trick or treating or want something delicious when you come back home. You can adjust the heat to suit your own taste by increasing or decreasing the amount of hot sauce and jalapeno peppers you use.   Prep time: 10 minutes Cook time: 3-7 hours Serves: 6-8 Ingredients: 2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts Salt and black pepper, to taste ½ c. chicken broth, preferably organic* 3 stalks celery, very finely chopped 2 8-oz. packages cream…

  • Budget Smart Girl's Guide

    Meal Planning… Save Time, Save Money, Eat Healthier…stay sane

        I love to cook and I think it’s a skill that helps me save money and eat healthier foods. One thing I’m a huge believer in is meal planning. Every week I sit down plan out one or two weeks, yes, even a whole month’s meals. I print out recipes and then make a grocery list and that way I don’t waste food or give in to impulse buys. This year, I’ve been busy…maybe I’m getting a bit fatigued with the whole meal planning thing too, but I thought wouldn’t it be great if someone else did this for me? I did an Internet search for meal planning sites, tried…

  • Budget Smart Cook

    Spicy Slow Cooker Chili

    The first snow of the season arrived…and thankfully melted because it’s too early for that. It’s not too early for a hearty bowl of chili (this one uses sausage and not ground beef). Once again, let the slow cooker do most of the work for you. Let this cook while you’re out raking leaves and step inside to a hearty meal.   Ingredients: 1 pound spicy bulk pork sausage, crumbled 1 pound sweet bulk pork sausage, crumbled ½ c. chicken or vegetable stock, plus additional, if needed 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped 1 medium white onion, finely chopped 2 stalks celery, finely chopped 2 carrots, peeled and chopped into small…

  • Budget Smart Cook

    Mulled Apple Cider with a Twist

          The other day I got a great deal on apple cider. Besides drinking it as is, I thought about another way to enjoy it. You know I love using the slow cooker and went searching for a mulled cider recipe. Most of them used the classic pumpkin pie spices but I wanted to use something more unique and remembered I had some five spice powder sitting in the pantry. That’s the “twist” with this mulled apple cider recipe because it adds a little something special to an already great tasting combination. Prep time: 5 minutes Cook time: 3 hours – 7 hours Serves: 4-6 Ingredients: ½ gallon…

  • Budget Smart Cook

    Slow Cooker Apple-Cinnamon Oats

      It’s apple season, it’s also starting to get chilly too. Two good reasons to make some oatmeal. Not the kind you have to stand and stir on busy mornings. And definitely not the waste of money, prepackaged oatmeal. This type of oatmeal cooks overnight and is ready when you get up in the morning. (Added bonus is your kitchen smells wonderful too). Prep time: 15 minutes Cook time: 6-8 hours Serves: 4-6 Important Tips:  Do not substitute any other type of oats for this recipe. Cooking times are based on using steel cut oats only. Either line or use non-stick cooking spray before preparing this recipe. If you skip…

  • Budget Smart Girl's Guide

    Credit Cards-Enemy of the Budget Smart Girl…well sometimes-Part Two

      Here’s part two of when it might be a good idea to use a credit card… You Get a Bonus – Some credit cards offer you immediate cash and credit the moment you open the account and if you use it within a certain amount of time. If you pay the bill off before it adds interest then it’s a great deal. You Get Cash Back – If you’re going to get cash back for your purchases, and you’re going to pay it off before any interest is added, then it’s a good deal. Points to You– Some cards offer points which can be used for things like flights,…

  • Budget Smart Girl's Guide

    Credit Cards-Enemy of the Budget Smart Girl…not always-Part One

      I have to admit I’m not a fan of credit cards. I delayed having one, until many years ago when I took a trip with my mother to the Pacific Northwest. We’d booked a rental car and when we landed at the airport, my mother discovered she’d left her driver’s license at home. I handed over mine but because I didn’t have a credit card they wouldn’t let us rent the car in my name, even though we had mom’s credit card. Long story short, my mom did find her driver’s license after another search of her purse and we got our rental car. All was not lost but when I…

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