Category Archives: Food

Easy Roasted Sausage and Veggies Recipe

Have you jumped on the sheet pan dinner band wagon? They are so easy and customize-able. This  sheet pan roasted sausage and veggies recipe is no different.

This recipe for roasted sausage and veggies is so easy and delicious. Perfect healthy dinner for even busy nights. You can even change up the veggies. Check it out!

This recipe is a go to in the fall and winter months. (Actually, even spring. The only time I don’t make this is in the summer when it’s blazing hot.) It’s a simple meal to add to the menu for one of those days when life is crazy and you don’t really want to think about what’s for dinner.

(If you are wondering more about menu planning and why you should do it, be sure to check out this post!)

It’s easy to switch up the ingredients based on personal preference, what you have on hand, and what’s on sale. See, I told you it’s amazing!

pan of cut up veggies

Ingredients:

Italian Sausage: pork, turkey, spicy, mild – your choice. Amount is also up to you, but somewhere between 12-20 ounces or between half of a link to a whole link of sausage.

Veggies: 8 cups of vegetables. Celery, carrots, onion, bell peppers, potatoes, sweet potatoes, broccoli, green beans, corn or any other roasting friendly vegetables.

Seasonings: Garlic powder, dried parsley, dried oregano, salt, pepper

pan of cut veggies and sausageHow to Serve: You can serve up just plates of roasted veggies and sausage (my preference)  or put over something like rice, potatoes, zucchini noodles or whatever you like.

Another super easy supper, is this Alfredo or these baked chicken thighs.

This recipe for roasted sausage and veggies is so easy and delicious. Perfect healthy dinner for even busy nights. You can even change up the veggies. Check it out!

Roasted Sausage and Veggies

Easy Roasted Sausage and Veggies Recipe
Serves: 4-6
 
Ingredients
  • 3 stalks celery, sliced (2 cups)
  • 3 large carrots, sliced (2 cups)
  • 1 onion, large dice (1 cup)
  • 1 bell pepper, large dice (1 cup)
  • 2 potatoes, large dice (2 cups)
  • Italian Sausage, 12-20 ounces
  • 2-3 tablespoons Extra virgin olive oil (or oil of choice)
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½-3/4 teaspoon salt
  • freshly cracked pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees
  2. Prepare all of the veggies and place on a large sheet pan (or two smaller ones).
  3. Drizzle with olive oil and toss together.
  4. Sprinkle evenly with parsley, oregano, garlic, salt, and pepper.
  5. Slice the sausage (see notes) and spread over the veggies.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and stir. Bake another 20 minutes.
  7. Serve by itself or with side of choice.
  8. Enjoy
Notes
1. Sausage: I prefer slicing my sausage when it's partially frozen. You can either slice in circles or cut in half lengthwise and then slice. That is what I do, because I feed kids and don't want to worry about it being a choking hazard. You could also leave the sausages whole.
2. Servings size depends on if you serve with rice or by itself.

 

This recipe for roasted sausage and veggies is so easy and delicious. Perfect healthy dinner for even busy nights. You can even change up the veggies. Check it out!

 

The Best Cranberry Salad Recipe

When I think Thanksgiving this best creamy cranberry salad recipe is one of the first things that comes to mind. In fact, my family loves it so much it also makes an appearance at our Christmas Eve dinner.

This is the best creamy cranberry salad recipe ever! This recipe will be passed down to your kids and you will be asked to make it every holiday! It's my FAV!

One of the things that sets this recipe apart is that it uses fresh cranberries. No canned cranberries allowed here. 😉

I like to stock up on cranberry discounts after Thanksgiving is over and store several bags in the freezer to last through the year. They are perfect for this salad, muffins, and any other fresh cranberry recipes.

This particular recipe came from my grandma. It was one of the ones that my continued to make and now so do my siblings and I. Recipes that hold special memories are the best kind. Add this cranberry salad recipe to your Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner (or really, just meal) and it will be the dish you are always asked to make.

Ground cranberries and sugar mixed together.

Ingredients:

What are the other components of this dish besides good old cranberries?

  • Marshmallows
  • Crushed pineapple
  • Sugar
  • Heavy cream, whipped

That’s it! See how easy it is?

You can also make this dish the day before. The marshmallows absorb any liquid and turn into this delightfully light and airy bite.

Cooking for a crowd, be sure and double this recipe! Besides, you will want leftovers too.

Let’s talk sugar for a minute.

This recipe calls for 1 cup. I never make it with the full cup. Not even when making it for company. To me, what’s the point of cranberries if you aren’t going to have a little tart. Your first time making it, try with 3/4 of a cup and see what you think. If you think it’s too tart, you can always add more. (But I don’t think you’ll need too – the pineapple and marshmallows add sweetness as well.)

When I made this cranberry salad recipe for these pictures, I used just 1/3 cup of sugar and a sprinkle of stevia. It’s a little tart, but still good! Disclaimer: I would not recommend starting with that small of amount of sugar your first time making it!

The Best Creamy Cranberry Salad Recipe

The Best Cranberry Salad Recipe
 
Ingredients
  • 10 ounce bag of cranberries
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 20 can of crushed pineapple, well drained
  • 1½ -2 cups mini marshmallows
  • 1 cup heavy cream
Instructions
  1. Using a food processor or blender, grind the bag of cranberries. Pulse button works well. I like them to to be ground but with some large pieces mixed in.
  2. Drain the can of crushed pineapple very well. It yields approximately 1⅓ cups after drained.
  3. Add the drained pineapple and sugar to the cranberries and mix well. Stir in the marshmallows.
  4. Whip the heavy cream until medium to stiff peaks form. Fold whipped cream into the cranberry mixture.
  5. Refrigerate until serving (at least several hours or up to a day early).
  6. Enjoy!

 

This is the best creamy cranberry salad recipe ever! This recipe will be passed down to your kids and you will be asked to make it every holiday! It's my FAV!

Cheap Healthy Grocery List

A cheap healthy grocery list. I know we’ve talked lots about ways to save money on groceries! If you’ve been around before, you know my number one tip is to have a meal plan!!!

picture of bananas and a great cheap healthy grocery list that will help you feed your family on a budget.

Today we are going to get a little more specific with this cheap healthy grocery list.

Maybe it’s the end of the month, maybe money is especially tight right now.

Whatever it is, you are wondering what to put on a cheap healthy grocery list.

Not only what frugal/cheap foods to buy, but what are the healthiest cheap foods you can buy. What are your options.

First, I want to tell you don’t worry and stress. Just do the best you can. Hang in there. Being anxious, as easy as it is to do, (talking to myself here too) does no good.

picture of beans and other foods and a great cheap healthy grocery list that will help you feed your family on a budget.

Cheap Healthy Grocery List

The first two that come to mind are the stereotypical budget foods – but don’t let them scare you off.

Beans. Specifically dry beans. They are super easy to cook and you can season them in a variety of ways and use them to stretch meat or replace it all together. Buying them dry will cost you at least a third of buying a can.

Rice. You can buy a pound of brown rice at Dollar Tree for $1. One of our local grocery stores sells a pound bag for $.50! If you don’t like brown rice, you can find white rice even cheaper.

Lentils. Another affordable legume right here. People use these for all kinds of things. A lentil and rice casserole. Meat replacement in things like sloppy joes. Or one of our go tos is a quick lentil soup.

Rolled Oats. Buy the big container, none of the instant oatmeal packets. You can always make your own oatmeal packets. Breakfast really can’t get much cheaper than this. A jar of cinnamon is only $1 and will season a lot of bowls of oatmeal.

Eggs. This is really an inexpensive source of protein. Have them hard boiled for a snack, as part of a meal, or in a salad. Scrambled eggs make a great brinner. Can also use to make cheap things such as pancakes or french toast.

Bag of flour. Grab a bag of whole wheat (or unbleached white) flour. Use it to make a loaf of bread or a batch of pancakes (for dinner or breakfast).

Pasta. Cheap and easy. Make a batch of meatless spaghetti sauce (or replace the meat with some lentils) and supper will cost next to nothing. I always make a big batch so we can have leftovers another meal or two. (<– Another money saving tip right there!)

Milk. Not to drink. I’m a huge proponent of water. Instead use it to make the pancakes, baked oatmeal etc. Dairy free, sub almond milk.

Potatoes. Especially in the fall and winter months when they will often go on sale for $2-$3 for a 10 pound bag. I prefer sweet potatoes and you can also find them cheaper in the fall and winter months. There’s nothing wrong with a baked potato supper. Plan on leftovers and have fried potatoes with the eggs for supper the next night. Make a potato soup with some of the milk.

Carrots. Not the baby ones when you are pinching pennies. Whole carrots are typically super inexpensive. I get them for $1 for a 2 pound bag. Serve them raw as a side for lunch or supper (or try roasting). Add them to soups or a stir fry.

Celery. In my part of the country a bunch of celery is $1. Use in the same way you would the carrots. Carrots and celery also make great snacks.

Frozen Veggies. Frozen green beans and corn are both $1 at Aldi. Use in soup, fried rice or as a side dish.

Apples. In the fall and winter months these are often times under $.70 a pound. Add to oatmeal or slice and serve with lunch or for a snack. Of course apple cake is a fun splurge too. 🙂

Peanut Butter. Takes you back to your childhood, I know, but it’s really hard to get cheaper than peanut butter sandwiches. My kids dislike jelly, but of course you can add some fruit to your peanut butter sandwich. Kroger brand peanut butter has the best price on peanut and salt peanut butter – especially if you get it on sale.

Bread. Make bread using flour for pennies a loaf. Also, watch for your local dollar store to get in a shipment of Nature’s Way bread. You can also find bread marked down at Aldi and other grocery stores.

Cabbage. Right now a head of cabbage is just over a dollar and it will be cheaper in fall and winter months. Shave it for a salad or add to soups and stir fries. I also love sauteing it and having with eggs.

Chicken. If you are going to buy meat, chicken will likely be your cheapest bet. Use it as an ingredient – not the star of the meal. Be sure to ration it out and stretch it with beans, lentils, or veggies when you can. If you buy bone in chicken, use the bones to make stock and stretch your dollar even further.

In Season Produce. This is key to getting fresh produce in on the cheap foods to buy when you are broke list. Only buy what is on sale for a great price.

Popcorn kernels. Buy the kernels and pop it yourself for a healthy and frugal snack or even turn it into a snack supper.

Bananas. Bananas are pretty much always under $.50 a pound and will frequently go on sale cheaper than that.

Canned Tomato Products. Canned tomatoes are cheap. Make your own pizza sauce, salsa, spaghetti sauce, and tomato soup for a fraction of what it would cost to buy them already made. I know canned tomatoes are controversial in the “healthy foods” world. But you do what you have to do. Another option would be to stock up on tomatoes when you can get them dirt cheap and can or freeze them to avoid the cans.

Lettuce. I can get a head of romaine or leaf lettuce for between $1 and $1.30 at my grocery stores. A bean based taco salad would make a great meal or simply have salad for your lunch or a side dish.

I hope this gives you a starting point next time you are trying to make a cheap healthy grocery list.

What other healthy(ish) cheap foods am I missing from the list? What’s the cheapest, healthy meal that you make?

picture of beans and a great cheap healthy grocery list that will help you feed your family on a budget. picture of beans and other food and a great cheap healthy grocery list that will help you feed your family on a budget.

$170 Grocery Budget

We are back again with another meal plan that uses the produce and meat sales in this week’s Aldi ad. I love shopping at Aldi – the bulk of my purchases come from there and then a will pick up a few items that are on sale at other stores. So an Aldi meal plan is the best!

Meal plan chalkboard for a budget friendly Aldi meal plan!

If you struggle with coming up with ideas for what to eat this week, I hope this post gives you some inspiration.

I’m a huge fan of using menu planning as a way to keep grocery costs down (my first point in this post on drastically reducing your grocery budget). No matter how many of these recipes you use, I highly recommend you get your downloadable menu plan template and put it to use. It has saved me so much money over the years:

This week, I’m not only going to include the sample Aldi menu, but I will also share what I’m feeding my family for the next week on my $170 a month grocery budget. This means twice as many ideas.

Aldi Produce and Meat Sales to Check Out (10/24-10/30):

These prices are in my local ad – your prices might vary.

  • Pomegranates $.69 each
  • Red grapes $.79 a pound
  • 3 pack multicolored bell peppers $1.99
  • Gala apples 3 pounds for $1.49
  • Asparagus $1.79
  • Avocado $.49
  • Chicken Tenders $1.99 a pound
  • Tortillas – $.79

Honestly, there aren’t many spectacular deals. Especially in the meat department. That’s why you try and buy extra for the freezer when you come across a great deal. The produce sales aren’t too plentiful this week either. Thankfully, in season produce you’ll still be able to get for a good price.

Aldi Meal Plan

Suppers:

Fajitas: use the chicken, tortillas (or make your own), and avocados that are on sale
Chicken Noodle Soup: use the chicken that’s on sale and affordable produce
Kielbasa and Cabbage Skillet: cabbage is very affordable this time of year
Veggie Fried Rice: use the carrots you bought for the soup
Stromboli: use ricotta left from last week and make your sauce
Brinner: Homemade Egg McMuffins using meat of choice and fruit (and potatoes if needed)
Fend for yourself/leftovers/freezer meal

Snack and Side Ideas:

Apples and grapes
Carrot and celery sticks
Bell Peppers not needed in fajitas
Bread for the soup

Frugal Lunch Ideas:

Sandwiches
Rice Cakes (with peanut butter or meat)
Leftovers
Beans and Rice
Salad
Pancakes

Frugal Breakfast Ideas:

Breakfast Apple Crisp (I’d cut the butter back to 1/2 cup to save money)
Oatmeal

$170 per month Menu Plan for this Week:

Okay, and now for my family’s menu for the week. I plan using the method I outline in my menu planning template:

Saturday
Workday – lunch provided
Pancakes for supper

Sunday
Eggs and hashbrowns for lunch
Fall Festival for Supper

Weeknight Suppers:
Homemade Pizza
Wedding rehearsal/friends & family dinner
Snack Supper (helping with our church’s Trunk or Treat so something fast and easy)
Soup x 2 (maybe potato sausage)

Breakfasts: Oatmeal, leftover pancakes, eggs, maybe oat flour muffins

Weekday Lunches: Soups from the freezer for Shaun, PB sandwiches on homemade sourdough with veggies and fruit for the kids, salad for me

Snack Options: Cuties, pretzels, crackers, carrots, celery

What’s on your menu this week?

Meal plan chalkboard for a budget friendly Aldi meal plan plus my menu for my $170 per month family of 5 budget!

The Best Gluten Free Snacks for Kids

We have spent periods of time eating gluten and/or dairy free trying to resolve some minor health issues. One of the food challenges is coming up with gluten free snacks for kids!

pictures of gluten free snacks. This is a great list of gluten free snack ideas kids will love

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Although we don’t do a lot of snacks, the kids do have one every afternoon. Those kiddos always get hungry on the long gap between lunch and supper.

Gluten free snacks also come in handy for long drives and trips.

Brainstorming several options, both homemade and packaged made life a little simpler.

Our daily snacks are always frugal ones and I prefer healthy. Of course there are always gluten free snacks for kids that are more of a once in a while treat. Surely we aren’t the only ones that has some of those normally no foods on vacation? 😉

One of the tricks to having your kids eat healthy gluten free snacks is to have them readily available! That and give them 2 or 3 options and have them all be healthy options. The first few times they may tell you they want the cookies or potato chips, but when they figure out the healthy options you said are the only options, my kids have always selected one of them.

popcorn, almonds, and yogurt! This is a great list of 40 gluten free snack ideas for kids.

Gluten Free Snacks for Kids:

  • Vegetables
    Have washed and cut veggies available in the fridge. My kids love carrots, celery, and cucumbers the most. Having them prepped makes them super easy for the kids to grab and eat.
  • Fruit
    Another obvious one. A bag of mandarin oranges, apples, berries, grapes, bananas etc. Buy what is on sale and have 2-3 options available each week.
  • Peanuts
  • Nuts
    Almonds, walnuts, pecans – any of their favorites.
  • Rice Cakes
    They can eat them plain or topped with something like peanut butter or meat.
  • Peanut Butter
    Use for rice cakes, apples, celery, etc.
  • Tortilla Chips with Salsa or Guacamole
  • Plain Potato Chips
  • Popcorn
    Regular or kettle corn for a special treat. 🙂
  • Energy Balls
  • Muffins
    You can buy a mix or make one of our favorites: Chocolate banana muffins, oat flour banana muffins, and pumpkin oat flour muffins.
  • Popsicles
  • Gluten Free Pretzels
    Try the ones from Aldi – they are really good!
  • Gluten Free Crackers
    My kids aren’t fans of the ones made from all rice flour. Look for ones that use a few types of gluten free flours.
  • Meat
    Deli type meat or cooked chicken breasts cut in strips.
  • Beef Jerky
    Read the labels – some brands can have gluten in them.
  • Cheese
  • Raisins
  • Other Dried Fruit (Dates, apricots, prunes, apples etc)
  • Trail Mix (Make your own!)
  • Dry Cereal
    You can find gluten free cereals and have them as a snack. Something like Chex or Cheerios (or their healthier brand alternatives – just always be sure to read labels. Sometimes one won’t have gluten but the other will).
  • Larabars (You can make these yourself too!)
  • Hummus
    Let your kids dip veggies, pretzels, or crackers in this.
  • Gluten Free Joes-Joes
    These are Trader Joe’s version of Oreos. My kids loved them.
  • Other Trader Joes Finds
    If you live near a Trader Joes, be sure to browse through their store for other fun gluten free finds. You can often get seasonal gluten free items as well.
  • Roasted Chickpeas
  • Plain Yogurt
    Plain yogurt topped with fruit or granola and drizzle of honey or maple syrup if additional sweetness is needed.
  • Granola (Or make your own)
  • Frozen Grapes
  • Pickles
  • Olives
  • Hard Boiled Eggs
  • Applesauce
  • Homemade Granola Bars
  • Smoothies
  • Banana Chips
  • Homemade Pudding

What am I missing? I’d love to keep adding to this list of gluten free snacks for kids to make it a super helpful resource for moms struggling with snack inspiration for their gluten free kiddos.

You can even turn these ideas into a snack supper – that’s one of my children’s absolute favorites.

Popcorn, yogurt, and almonds. These are just a few of the 40 gluten free snack ideas for kids!

Moist Pumpkin Bread Recipes You Have to Try

moist pumpkin bread recipes collage. These are the best.

It’s no secret: I love fall. I also love pumpkin. There something fun about pumpkin recipes (especially moist pumpkin bread recipes) and the super flavorful spices that come along with it: cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg. Aren’t those the perfect smells of autumn?

Homemade pumpkin breads are amazing. I like recipes that are moist and flavorful. A dry pumpkin bread is no good. Moist pumpkin bread recipes are the way to go.

Side note, why is moist such a controversial word? If so, my question is what word do you use instead? Damp pumpkin bread recipe just doesn’t sound quite right. 😉 Thankfully, I’m one of those not bothered by the word.

Today, I want to share 10 delectable looking moist pumpkin bread recipes that you have to try! There’s no shame with baking your way through the list to find your new favorite.  In fact, your family might even love you for it.

Moist Pumpkin Bread Recipes You Have to Try

Cinnamon Sugar Pumpkin Bread – Averie Cooks

Photo from Averie Cooks

This recipe from Averie Cooks is amazing. I’m not exaggerating when I say my kids inhaled this. Something that I love about this recipe is that it doesn’t use any eggs! Perfect if you are vegan or just are out of eggs and don’t want to run to the store. I’d recommend using the mild molasses or cutting back on it slightly.

The Best Pumpkin Bread – The Domestic Rebel

This recipe promises to be moist and fluffy! It also uses dark brown sugar. Yum!

Pumpkin Bread – Bake By An Introvert

Photo from Baked By An Introvert

I love that this recipe uses buttermilk. I’m a huge fan of buttermilk (it makes the best pancakes) so I’m sure this is amazing. This recipes also uses an oil and butter combo.

Moist Pumpkin Bread – Genius Kitchen

A pecan topping? Genius! Sounds like the perfect compliment to a moist pumpkin bread. I can attest that this recipe is also tasty without the topping.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread – Sally’s Baking Addiction

Photo by Sally’s Baking Addiction

Doesn’t the use of orange for the liquid sound perfect?! I can’t wait to give this a try. Plus, how can you go wrong with chocolate?

Delectable Pumpkin Pie Bread Recipe – DIY Candy

Photo by DIY Candy

This recipes uses pumpkin pie spice instead of individual spices. Saves you opening about 4 containers right there. Don’t forget you can make your own pumpkin pie spice.

Favorite Fall Pumpkin Bread – Delightful E Made

Photo from Delightful E Made

Erin says that this recipe holds true to the Starbucks’ pumpkin loaf. She also added a tasty looking crumb topping.

Easy Pumpkin Bread – Tastes of Lizzy T

Photo from Tastes of Lizzy T

This recipe uses coconut oil, so of course I am a fan. The recipe also makes two loaves. Perfect to have one for the freezer or to gift one.

Homemade Pumpkin Bread – Six Figures Under

Photo from Six Figures Under

This recipe uses no oil (or applesauce)! I can’t wait to give it a try. I’m a fan of healthy fats, but it’s nice to have a recipe that you don’t have to use expensive coconut oil or butter on.

Moist Pumpkin Bread Recipe Mom Life Busy Wife

Photo from Mom Wife Busy Life

An entire can of pumpkin to 1 1/2 cups of flour. Brittany claims that this is a very moist recipe.

Pumpkin Bread – Simply Recipes

Photo from Simply Recipes

With melted butter and orange zest this sounds amazing and looks delicious. Perfect moist pumpkin bread recipe to make this fall.

Moist Pumpkin Bread – Kitchen Nostalgia

Photo from Kitchen Nostalgia

Be sure to read the tips in the introduction to this recipe. She shares how to be sure your pumpkin bread is moist and whether dark or light brown sugar is preferred.

Easy Pumpkin Bread Recipe Little House Living

moist pumpkin bread recipes

Photo from Little House Living

This recipe has a secret ingredient! Instead of using oil or butter, Melissa uses sour cream. That means it’s another one that needs to be tried.

There are the 13 moist pumpkin bread recipes you need to try! Which are you going to start with? If you already have a favorite (moist) pumpkin bread recipe, please share it with me. I’ll add it to my “to make” list.

P.S. If you are a pumpkin hater, I’m so sorry! Just pin this post to help someone else out. 🙂 Pumpkin season will be over soon enough. 😉

P.P.S. If you are looking for a healthy oat flour (gluten free) pumpkin muffin with chocolate chips and cranberries, be sure to check out this one of mine!

picture of 4 moist pumpkin bread recipes. Have to try these! Collage of moist pumpkin bread recipes. These you have to try!

Thanksgiving Checklist and Planner

miniature pumpkins and pinecones. This thanksgiving checklist will make hosting the big dinner a breeze!

In the United States, Thanksgiving is right around the corner. Being organized means less stress so it’s time to make a plan! After all, none of us need more stress. 🙂 Use this Thanksgiving Checklist and Thanksgiving planner printable that’s in our resource library to simplify your life (and make sure you aren’t forgetting anything).

If this is your first year to host Thanksgiving or if you are a seasoned pro, I hope that planning ahead makes it the best year yet.

Thanksgiving Checklist

Location

Are you hosting but don’t have space? Most people don’t mind squeezing in. If it’s nice, set up a table outside. Put a kids table up in a bedroom. Be creative. If using your house isn’t an option, check with your church and see if they would let you use a gathering area with a kitchen.

Guests

Who are you having over? Make a list of everyone you invite and make note of how many will be coming from each family.

You also need to decide if you will be asking everyone to bring at least one dish. (They will likely offer, so you might as well make it easier on yourself!). Be sure to write down what food/beverage each guest will be bringing.

Thanksgiving Menu

When you plan the menu be sure to consider these categories:

Appetizers (Ideas: Veggie or fruit platter, cheese and crackers, dip)
Sides and Salads (Ideas: mashed potatoes, green beans, lettuce salad, cranberry salad, rolls, sweet potatoes)
Main Dish/Meat (Ideas: Turkey or ham)
Desserts (Ideas: ice cream, pies, whipped cream, cookies, tart)
Drinks (Ideas: water, tea, lemonade, cider, coffee etc)

Shopping List

Once you have your menu made and know what other people are bringing, you can make yourself a shopping list. If you aren’t using glass dishes don’t forget to add paper plates & napkins and plastic silverware and cups to the list. A bag of ice too.

Buy or Borrow

Are there items you need to make hosting go a little more smoothly? Beverage containers, extra chairs, platters etc. You might have friends who would let you use their folding table so you don’t have to buy one.

Activities

What are your plans for the day? Spending time eating and visiting? Do you want to have any games available? Activities for the kids? There is no right choice, but just think it through.

Other Meals

Your family will probably want to eat something for breakfast and the second supper/lunch (whichever you aren’t having Thanksgiving dinner at). Maybe have some easy fend for your self breakfast options available.  Do you want to plan on leftovers of the lunch feast for supper? Turkey sandwiches? Just have a plan so you won’t get frustrated when your kids come to you hungry.

To Clean

Make a list of what needs to happen before company arrives at your house. Running the vacuum, cleaning the bathroom, and mopping the kitchen are givens, but what other areas do you need to be sure to tackle?


Now that your brainstorming and organizing is done, it’s time to get detailed. Break your lists and need to dos down by timeline.

What needs to happen

A month before the event: Invite guests, choose a location, and plan your menu.

Two weeks before: Plan games & your shopping list. Purchase non perishables.

One week before: Start those cleaning tasks that you can do in advance. Finish grocery shopping. Round up what your are borrowing from friends. Thaw the turkey sometime after the point!

2 days before: Clean (bathrooms, pick up the toys and clutter, mop etc)

Day before: Start the cooking (make your desserts, salads and cold dishes, prep the relish tray etc) You could even put out tableware and set tables.

Thanksgiving Day: Put the turkey in the oven, make all of the hot dishes, put drinks out. Finish any last minutes items and enjoy the day with your guests.

When you have everything written down and planned out into bite sized tasks, hosting thanksgiving dinner won’t seem so intimidating.

I have a free Thanksgiving planner printable to help you put all of these things organized on paper.  Sign up for the resource library and download them today!

printables from the thanksgiving checklist

printables from our thanksgiving planner printable. Get this Thanksgiving checklist today and make hosting the big day a breeze!

 

How To Make Oat Flour at Home

Are you wondering how to make oat flour?

jar full of oat flour! Have you ever wondered how to make oat flour? This post will tell you how!

I’m a fan of making things myself. Especially things that are super easy.

Usually it’s significantly cheaper to DIY and a lot of the time it’s better for you too.

Oat flour is one of those things. Don’t spend extra money paying someone else to grind your oats! Do it yourself. It takes seconds. Nope, that’s not exaggerating.

It really is as easy at it seems.

All you need is:

  • a blender
  • old fashioned rolled oats

a blender with oats in it. If you've ever wondered how to make oat flour, this post will tell you how.

Let’s talk blenders for a second. I received a JC Penney brand blender when we got married 12 years ago. Nothing super expensive or fancy but it worked. Until it didn’t. It burned out after a couple of years.

Next, we got a Ninja Prep. Again, nothing super expensive. I think we got it on Black Friday for under $40. That worked okay for a while. Then it spend a year of making me wonder if each use was going to be its last until it finally hit the dust a year ago.

After months of internal debate (I struggle when it comes to spending money), we settled on a refurbished Vitamix. (That’s the one I got – super, super great deal on 2018 Prime Day for just over $200.)

It is a dream.

The homemade oat flour comes out so much finer than it ever did in the Ninja.

How To Make Oat Flour

It’s as easy as measuring your rolled oats, putting them in the blender, and turning it on.

30 seconds. That’s it – and you are done and ready to bake.

If the recipes calls for 1 cup of oat flour, put 1 scant cup of rolled oats in the blender.

measuring cups with homemade oat flour. If you've ever wondered how to make oat flour, this post will tell you how.

2 cups of rolled oats equals about 2 1/3 cups of homemade oat flour!

Again, your blender will make a difference as to how fine the oat flour will be. Not as good of blenders will require a longer period of blending and will still result in a grittier flour – but you can still make it! I did it that way for years. 🙂

Be sure to “fluff” your flour when it comes out of the blender before measure. It can be a little compact.

A couple other easy and cheap things you can try making yourself:

Homemade Yogurt
“Refried” Beans


How To Make Oat Flour
 
Ingredients
  • Rolled Oats
Instructions
  1. Put the amount of rolled oats in the blender that you want of oat flour.
  2. Turn the blender on and blend for a minute - the oats will turn into a flour like powder.
  3. Loosely scoop into a measuring cup and use in place of purchased oat flour.

 

What are you favorite food items to DIY? Give this easy homemade oat flour a try before you go out and buy it again. Learning how to make oat flour is a breeze!

a blender and measuring cups with rolled oats. If you have ever wondered how to make oat flour, this post will tell you how!

Aldi Meal Plan

We are back again with another meal plan that uses the produce and meat sales in this week’s Aldi ad. I love shopping at Aldi – the bulk of my purchases come from there and then a will pick up a few items that are on sale at other stores. So an Aldi meal plan is the best!

If you struggle with coming up with ideas for what to eat this week, I hope this post gives you some inspiration.

I’m a huge fan of using menu planning as a way to keep grocery costs down (my first point in this post on drastically reducing your grocery budget). No matter how many of these recipes you use, I highly recommend you get your downloadable menu plan template and put it to use. It has saved me so much money over the years:

This week, I’m not only going to include the sample Aldi menu, but I will also share what I’m feeding my family for the next week on my $170 a month grocery budget. This means twice as many ideas.

Aldi Produce and Meat Sales to Check Out (10/10-10/17):

These prices are in my local ad – your prices might vary.

  • Gala apples (1.49 for 3 pounds)
  • Oranges (1.99 for 3 pounds)
  • Red grapes (.85 a pound)
  • Pineapple (1.29 each)
  • Grassfed ground beef (4.49 a pound)
  • Bone in chicken thighs (.79 a pound)

Each week will include one or two vegetarian meals. This is a great way to keep your grocery budget down. Another tip for a lower grocery budget is to select just 4-5 of the listed suppers and eat leftovers the other nights. (This is also a time saver!)

Aldi Meal Plan

Suppers:

Potato Sausage Soup (use potatoes and kale leftover from last week)
Crispy Chicken Thighs (make extra to use in the chicken rice casserole)
Taco Salad with salsa and chips. (Use ground beef and/or beans)
Pasta Pomodoro
Chicken Rice Casserole (use the leftover meat from the chicken thighs)
Vegetarian 15 Bean Soup

Snack and Side Ideas:

Apples, oranges, grapes
Carrot and celery sticks
Roasted veggies (carrots, celery, potatoes, green beans, etc)
Homemade biscuits

Frugal Lunch Ideas:

Pancakes
Sandwiches
Rice Cakes (with peanut butter or meat)
Leftovers
Beans and Rice
Roasted Vegetables
Salad

Frugal Breakfast Ideas:

Oatmeal
Hard boiled eggs
Pumpkin muffins

$170 per month Menu Plan for this Week:

Okay, and now for my family’s menu for the week. I plan using the method I outline in my menu planning template:

Saturday
Pancakes for lunch
Chicken and Veggie Noodle Soup for supper

Sunday
Eggs and hashbrowns for lunch
Small groups for supper

Monday: Leftover soup

Tuesday: New spaghetti squash recipe (bought the squash when it was on sale last week)

Wednesday: Kids eat at church

Thursday: Leftover spaghetti squash

Friday: Pizza night

Breakfasts: Oatmeal, leftover pancakes, eggs

Lunches: PB sandwiches on homemade sourdough, veggies, fruit, salad, deli meat

Snacks: Grapes and pretzels

What’s on your menu this week?

Fresh Cranberry Recipes You Want to Try

Collage of the best fresh cranberry recipes out there!

Fresh cranberries are so tart and delicious. That means that fresh cranberry recipes are the best. Obviously there is a place for dried cranberries, but man, fresh is just unbeatable.

Frozen cranberries are a perfect substitute for fresh, so when you find a great deal on cranberries after Thanksgiving (I’ve gotten bags for 49 cents before) stock up on enough to last you the year and just store them in the freezer.

Maybe you find yourself wondering what exactly you should do with fresh cranberries. Perhaps the only way you’ve ever seen them used is in cranberry sauce that’s set out with the turkey (even though almost no one eats it).

Wonder no more.

This post is the ultimate list of fresh cranberry recipes. You can experiment and cook and bake to your heart’s content. There are things from muffins to appetizers to chicken to desserts.

Everything you could possibly want or need.

Fresh Cranberry Recipes

Fresh Cranberry Muffins and Quick Breads

Delicious and healthy oat flour pumpkin muffins with cranberries and chocolate chips! So good and wheat free and refined sugar free. Great way to start your morning.

Oat Flour Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins
Chocolate Chip Cranberry Cream Cheese Muffins
Fresh Cranberry Muffins

Photo from abcs and garden peas White Chocolate Orange Cranberry Bread

Cranberry Orange Bread Loaf Cake
Gluten Free Cranberry Chocolate Bread
Cranberry Orange Bread
Cranberry Banana Bread
Cranberry Orange Chocolate Chip Bread
Gluten Free Cranberry Orange Bread
Homemade Cranberry Orange Bread Recipe
Cranberry Pumpkin Bread
White Chocolate Orange Cranberry Bread
Cranberry Applesauce Bread
Cranberry Nut Bread

Fresh Cranberry Breakfasts

Photo by Recipes from a Pantry: Baked Sweet Potato Pancake

Bake Sweet Potato Pancakes with Orange Cranberry Compote
Ricotta Orange Pancakes with Ricotta Sauce
Cinnamon Cranberry Overnight French Toast Bake
Pistachio, Oat, and Cranberry Breakfast Pancakes
Slow Cooker Cranberry Eggnog Oatmeal
Cranberry Almond Donuts
Cranberry Vanilla Coffee Cake
Orange Cranberry Coffee Cake
Cranberry Orange Drop Biscuits
Chocolate Cranberry Scones

Fresh Cranberry Pies

Photo by House of Nash Eats: Cranberry Apple Pie

Nantucket Cranberry Pie
Pear, Apple, Cranberry Crumble Pie
Cranberry Apple Pie
Cranberry Pear Lattice Pie
Cranberry Pie

Fresh Cranberry Cakes

Photo by Mom Foodie: Sour Cream Bundt Cake

Cranberry Swirl Semolina Cake
Cranberry Orange Pound Cake
Cranberry Apple Muffin Cake
Cranberry Sour Cream Bundt Cake
Cranberry Orange Cake
Cranberry Upside Down Cake

Fresh Cranberry Cookies

Recipe from Hearth and Vine: Shortbread Cookies

Fresh Cranberry Shortbread Cookies
Cranberry Orange Creamsicle Cookies

Other Fresh Cranberry Dessert Recipes

Photo by Salt and Lavender: Rustic Cranberry Galette

Fresh Cranberry Shortbread Bars
Eggnog Cranberry Popsicles 
No Churn Cranberry Ice Cream
Cranberry Mini Vegan Cheesecakes
Low Carb Cranberry Swirl Cheesecakes
Rustic Cranberry Galette 
Apple Cranberry Tart Recipe
Slow Cooker Strawberry Cranberry Crumble Dessert
Cranberry Cream Tart
Gluten Free Cranberry Shortbread Bars

Fresh Cranberry Smoothies

Photo by All Nutribullet Recipes: Cranberry Oatmeal Smoothie

Low Carb Keto Cranberry Smoothie
Cranberry Oatmeal Smoothie Recipe
Cranberry Smoothie
Cranberry and Orange Smoothie
Cranberry Mango Layered Smoothie
Pomegranate Cranberry Smoothie

Fresh Cranberry Appetizers

Ruby Red Cherry Cranberry Salsa
Cranberry Brie Pastries
Cranberry Pomegranate Baked Brie

Fresh Cranberry Side Dishes

Photo by Kudos Kitchen by Renee: Holiday Vegetable Saute

Cranberry Clementine Brussel Sprouts 
Holiday Vegetable Saute
Apple Cranberry Acorn Squash 
Cranberry Apple Walnut Stuffing

Fresh Cranberry Main Dishes

Slow Cooker Cranberry Chicken
Slow Cooker Pork Loin with Cranberry Walnut Relish
Stuffed Delicata Squash with Beef and Cranberries
Spicy Cranberry Pork Tenderloin Sandwiches
Cranberry Chicken Thighs
Cranberry Orange Chicken

Homemade Cranberry SaucePhoto from Eat the Love: Homemade Cranberry Sauce

Best Cranberry Sauce Recipe Ever
Homemade Cranberry Sauce
Pineapple Cardamom Cranberry Sauce
One Minute Instant Pot Cranberry Sauce

Cranberry Beverages

Photo from I Heart Naptime: Wassail

Wassail
Orange Cranberry Holiday Punch
Cranberry Pineapple Mocktail
Homemade Fresh Cranberry Juice

Cranberry Butter

Photo from Cincy Shopper: Cranberry Butter

Fresh Cranberry Butter Recipe with Orange and Vanilla
Cranberry Butter

Non Food Uses:

Photo from Confessions of An Overworked Mom

Cranberry Stove Top Potpourri 
Cranberry Candle Centerpiece

Do you enjoy cranberry season as much as I do? What are your favorite fresh cranberry recipes?

Baking with cranberries is on my list to do as soon as possible. Both the tart sweet and tart savory combinations  are perfection.

Collage of the best fresh cranberry recipes!