Sunday, April 27, 2014

Lentil Turkey Tacos

Lately we have been trying to eat healthier and cheaper. I had seen some recipes for lentil tacos, but was a little nervous to try only lentils our first time. I decided to try mixing it with the ground turkey and this way it would make plenty of leftovers to freeze for another meal too.

Lentil Turkey Tacos (or nachos)
1 pound ground turkey
1 cup uncooked lentils (1 cup uncooked lentils equals about 1 pound of ground meat)
2 pkg taco seasoning or homemade seasoning
taco fixings (cheese, tomato, etc)

Boil 3 cups of water. Toss in your lentils and simmer, vented, for 15 to 20 minutes. While lentils are simmering, brown your turkey. Drain turkey and toss in with your cooked lentils. Follow pkg directions to add the seasoning. Add your favorite toppings and enjoy!

* Lentils when cooked, are a very close consistency to ground turkey so you can't really tell much of a difference when eating it. 

*It didn't have quite as much flavor as when I just make ground turkey, so next time I may add a little more seasoning or simmer lentils in veggie broth instead of just water.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Mousepad Makeover

You may have seen this idea on Pinterest, but I'm sharing anyway just in case you haven't. This is super easy, like 2 minutes start to finish.

You'll Need:

Old mouse pad
Spray adhesive
Pretty fabric

Spread out your fabric and iron if needed so there aren't any wrinkles. Spray the top of your mouse pad with spray adhesive and lay on top of your fabric. Cut any excess fabric off and smooth out any wrinkles. That's it!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

World Travel Date Night: England

The next year my husband and I are "traveling the world" right in our own home! Each month we "travel" to a different place and experience some of their food and culture. This month's date adventure took us to England! 

To Eat: Bacon and egg on english muffins, fresh fruit and hot tea.
 We made our English muffins into bacon and egg sandwiches. Yummy!

 Activity: English game of croquet  

After we ate we set up the croquet game in the backyard. Neither of us could remember how to play so it was a fun learning experience. I even beat him at one game! :) It was a perfect spring day to be outside enjoying each other.

For more Travel the World Date Nights, check the "Date Ideas" page at the top of the blog.

Be sure to stay tuned for next month's date to France!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Spring Planting

I am so excited Spring is finally here! Last year I started really enjoying planting flowers and taking care of them. The weather finally seems to be staying warm so I picked some flowers out at Home Depot a couple of days ago and spent most of this morning planting them.

I worked on the back porch first. I found the pink floral print chair cushions at Walmart and bought flowers that matched. I went with geraniums and impatiens for the back.

For the front yard I found snapdragons which I hadn't ever planted before, but loved the variety of colors that came in the packs.

My hubby made this flower box last year for our shed. Isn't it cute?

Do you have your flowers planted yet? What kinds are your favorite?

Monday, April 14, 2014

Crock Pot Ham

If you are making a ham this year for Easter, this is a super easy recipe and it's so yummy too! I used a half ham for our small group Easter party and it was enough to feed the 10 adults there plus leftovers.

Crock Pot Ham
Serves: 12 -14

- Precooked, bone-in, spiral half ham
- 1 can pineapple chunks, undrained
- 3 cups brown sugar 

1. Put half the brown sugar in bottom of crock pot and place ham on top.

2. Pour can of pineapple and other half of brown sugar on top of ham.

3. Cook on low 7-8 hours.

Check out my post from Christmas about what you can do if you have any ham leftovers. Have a happy Easter!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

25 Non-Candy Easter Egg Fillers

I always loved going on Easter egg hunts with my siblings when I was little, especially when I would find the eggs with candy or money in them! Although I don't think there is anything wrong with a little candy sometimes, here is a great list of some non-candy fillers too. Some of these ideas would work for your older tweens or teens that still hunt also!

1. Stickers
2. Army men
3. Hot wheels or Matchbox cars
4. Bouncy ball
5. Bracelets
6. Earrings
7. Lip gloss
8. Mini nail polish
9. Erasers
10. Temporary tattoos
11. Small plastics bugs or dinosaurs
12. Hair accessories
13. Goldfish
14. Mini box of raisins
15. Stampers
16. Seeds to plant flowers
17. Coins
18. Fun print or character band aids
19. Coupons (No chores today, You pick dinner tonight)
20. Socks
21. Spools of thread
22. Magnet letters or numbers
23. Rings
24. Cereal
25. Water grow animals

Something I also remember my mom doing with us was a Resurrection Easter Egg Hunt. Was definitely a great way to remember Christ and why we get celebrate Easter!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

10 Ways to Stretch Your Grocery Budget

Over the past couple of years my husband and I have been finding great ways to spend our money more wisely including how to stretch our grocery budget. Check out the tips below I have found pretty helpful!

1. Make a meal plan. Making a meal plan ensures that you have everything you need for the meals you plan to prepare. My husband gets paid every two weeks, so I plan my meals two weeks at a time.

2. I try my hardest not to go back to the store during that two week time period. Whatever I bought has to last or I just have to get creative. 

3. ALDI. They have great produce, meat, staples, etc. The only things I have found I don't like are their paper towels and toilet paper. Almost everything else is good quality and a lot cheaper than other stores!

4. Go vegetarian 2-3 times a week. Meat can get expensive so I plan several meals a week that are vegetarian such as breakfast food (pancakes or french toast), veggie pasta, veggie pizza or veggie soup.

5.  Use fillers in your meals to make it more filling without having to use a lot or any meat at all. Beans, pasta and rice are cheap and are great fillers. Add them to chili, soup, etc.

I've seen several ideas on how to use lentils to make tacos or sloppy joes. I plan to make tacos later this week with half meat, half lentils. If we like it, then I may go all lentils next time!

6. Make it yourself. There are so many packaged meals and other items out there and they can get pricey! I make homemade taco seasoning, granola bars, breads, cookies and cook my own black beans instead of buying canned. I also season my own rice for meals instead of buying the prepackaged ones. Just look up a recipe on Pinterest!

7. Making your own homemade laundry detergent and other household cleaners will save money and they are safer for your family. 

8. Snack foods such as chips can get pretty expensive. Try some homemade seasoned saltine crackers  or granola bars for as snack instead. Healthier and cheaper! 

9. ALDI  always has great prices on their produce, but if you look in their ads before you head to the store, you can find their "produce picks of the week". I always like to check that out when making my meal plans. 

Make sure to use your produce wisely too. Plan your meals so that you use veggies that may go bad faster, first. Meals I eat a salad with will get planned first, then something such as soup that you can toss anything in would be later in the week.

10. Buy in bulk. Although I haven't gotten a SAMS membership yet, I have heard buying certain staples in bulk can save you money in the long run. Since I make so many things homemade, I have been meaning to look into this some more. Does anyone have any input on whether it will actually save money after the membership fee? 

Do you have any other great money saving ideas?

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Seasoned Saltine Crackers

My husband loves snacking on anything salty, especially chips.  Not only are chips unhealthy, but they can get pretty pricey too! Definitely wasn't fitting in our budget very well, so I decided to try something a little different. 

I saw the original idea on Pinterest, but what I love about this is that you can make it with any seasoning you like! It's a little healthier than store bought chips and you can get a box (4 sleeves) of saltine crackers for only $0.95 at Aldi! (You could get whole grain or low sodium crackers at Wal-Mart for an even healthier option)

Seasoned Saltine Crackers
1 sleeve saltine crackers
 1/4 cup canola oil
1 Tbs seasoning of your choice

Place crackers in a gallon size zip lock bag. Mix oil and seasoning together and pour over crackers.  Seal bag and lightly toss to coat. Let sit overnight. The bag is pretty messy the next morning, so I usually transfer the crackers to a clean quart size bag to store.

You could easily make the entire box one flavor, but I like to mix it up and make each sleeve something different.

Seasoning Ideas:
Cheddar Cheese

If you have tried other seasoning ideas, please feel free to share with us! 
Have a great Wednesday!