Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Easy Stromboli-$0.26/serving!

We love pizza in my house and so I usually include homemade pizza at least once in my two-week menu plan. Occasionally I will shake it up a bit and do Stromboli in stead. I use the same pizza crust recipe-which is so easy!

I had a little trouble figuring out the cost per serving for this recipe. So I figured out the approximate cost for my ham, pepperoni, flour and cheese. One bag of flour costs me about $1.50, there are about 20 cups of flour in a bag so that's how I figured out my flour cost. This could change what kind of flour you use, what you use in your filling and where you buy your ingredients. But I doubt it would vary too much! The cost of the other ingredients were based on how much I actually used. Of course this will cost more up front if you don't have those ingredients on hand, but you only need a little of each.

Flour $0.10
Pizza sauce $0.06
Pepperoni $0.40
Ham $0.40
Mozzarella Cheese $0.33
Total $1.29/5 servings=about $0.26/serving!

Stromboli is so easy to make that I hope you will give it a try! Don't be intimidated if you have never made pizza dough. You don't have to do much at all with this recipe.

Easy Stromboli

1 (1/4 oz) package dry yeast (or 2 1/4 teaspoons)
1 cup warm water
2 3/4-3 cups all purpose flour
2 T olive oil
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
thin sliced ham
1 cup mozzarella cheese
1 egg white
1 tsp water
garlic salt
pizza sauce for dipping

Dissolve yeast in warm water until bubbly. Add rest of dough ingredients. Mix with a spoon until fully combined. Cover with a damp cloth and let rest for 10 minutes.

Place on parchment paper sprayed with cooking spray. Roll out into a large rectangle. Layer with pepperoni, ham and cheese.Lift the parchment paper on each long side and peel back the dough, meeting both sides together and pinching to close. Close up the dough on the ends. Carefully flip the whole stromboli over so that seams are facing down.

Mix 1 egg white with 1 tsp water and brush egg white on top of dough. Sprinkle top with garlic salt to taste. (This is an optional step. The egg wash helps the top brown better and the garlic salt just adds flavor. I have made stromboli before and not done this step.)

Place in a preheated oven at 425 degrees and cook for 15-20 minutes.

Let me know how you would change it up! I have made it with salami in the filling too and that is delicious!

Monday, February 27, 2017

My Frugal Cottage/Farmhouse Decor and how YOU can get it.

I have been on a decorating spree lately. I just finished my cabinets (see them in this post here!) and so I've been changing things up a little bit. Plus spring is almost here and so I've been getting my flowers out for it!

I also love to see how inexpensively I can decorate while still looking nice. I love the stuff from Pottery Barn, Magnolia Market, etc. but here on THIS blog, I'm on a budget! My favorite stores are thrift stores, specifically the Goodwill or Goodwill Outlet and stores like Ross, Homegoods and Michaels. And of course, the Dollar Tree! I try to make a lot of my stuff, or redo it so it's more my style.

I've tried to include links to some of the stuff I've bought. None of these links are affiliate links, they are just there to help you out!

I've already shared my "mantle" already but I had to include it in this post. I made the star, my husband made the plaque, I covered the books and decorated the vase. Everything else was Goodwill, T.J. Maxx or Dollar Tree finds.

I bought this glass milk bottle at Michael's for 0.99. I painted it white and distressed the cow and words to make them stand out more. The flowers were taken from an old flower arrangement that I've had for awhile. I don't remember where the candle holder came from.

This is hanging above my laundry closet in my kitchen. I got the sign at Big Lots for $6.00 and the baskets came from the Goodwill (0.99 each) and the flowers came from Walmart. Big Lot's has some adorable stuff right now.

I made this a year ago with clothespins from the Dollar Tree and clipped onto a cake board I had on hand and cut out. The flowers were taken from another old arrangement. This is hanging on my laundry closet door.

I bought the fruit crate and the 4 bud vase at Michaels. The flowers are a mixture of Walmart and Michaels.

I just love these prints! You can find the "Bloom Where You're Planted" print here and the "Hope Springs Eternal" print here. Both are FREE!

I printed them out and put them in some frames I had on hand.

I found this burlap bag at the Goodwill Outlet for $0.24!! And filled them Dollar Tree flowers. I love this whole set up with the pictures and flowers.

This is an arrangement I have near my piano. I made it awhile ago and have gotten so many compliments on it! I made it on a whim because my kids started tearing pages out of one of my old song books. I glued them on to a cake board (which I didn't do a very good job of covering up) and put a felt rose in the middle.

I made this with a wooden letter C that I covered in moss and added flowers and ribbon to. All purchased at Hobby Lobby (with a coupon).

I found the tray at Home goods for $6.99, the bird cage at Michaels (with a 40% off coupon) and the Candle Holder at Yankee Candle when I had a $10 off $10 purchase. The flowers were part of an old arrangement. I keep this tray in my living room. Learn more about how I organize with trays here.

I got the white tray at Ross for $4.99, the napkin holder at a thrift store which I painted, the large milk jar is actually a glass that had eggnog in it, and the smaller one is from the Dollar Tree.

I purchased these wooden cut outs at Michaels when they were 70% off. I painted them aqua and then lightly painted a white, distressed that a little and then added a little bit of grey and distressed that as well. These are hanging in the master bedroom.

I bought the items for these wreaths all at Dollar Tree. I should have bought a few more hydrangea flowers so I had to fill in the spaces with some flowers I had on hand here at home, but hopefully I'll remember to pick some more up and fill it in right!

So there you have it! How I decorate in a Farmhouse/Cottage style on the cheap!

How I Use Trays to Organize

I love to organize my home, but I like my organization to be as cute as possible. Recently I picked up two things-a white dish/tray/platter, and a shallow basket with handles. And I put them to work! This is so simple but it really works well for me!

I bought this basket at Homegoods for $6.99. I love how it has the handles. This only holds decor. I have the items sitting on a paper covered book for a little more height. How is this organizing? this is perfect because I love for my house to look nice. But my kids also like the coffee table because they put their play dishes and toys on here. I don't mind that really, but with the decor in the way it's just not practical. So my solution? Put them in a tray so that the kids want to play, I just pick up the tray and move it. When they are done or when I want the house to look pretty again, I just put it back! It's simple and easy and it keeps my home looking nice while still being functional.

This sits on the dining room table. It has decor items but also my napkin holder and salt and pepper shakers. I got the white tray (which I think is actually a serving platter) at Ross for $4.99.

The thing with this tray is when we need to eat, instead of having to move each little thing off the table, I just pick up the tray and move everything to the side at once!

This is the tray that I use in the laundry closet for my supplies. As I showed you in this post, it's really simple to organize your laundry closet cheaply! This tray allows me to store all of my frequently used items in one spot, while also providing the perfect spot for my laundry detergent bottle. Does anyone else have trouble with this style? I used to always make such a mess with this dispenser! Doing it this way has kept it clean for quite awhile now!

There are so many different ways you can use trays to organize! I love how these ideas are functional and cute! Do you use trays? How do you use them?

Thursday, February 23, 2017

DIY Spring "Mantle"

Edit: Make sure you keep reading to the end to see my little update!

Hi all! I'm so excited for spring! It never really got cold here! It snowed ONCE and it was only about 2 inches. So, I've be ready for spring since January I think.

I put away my Christmas Decor pretty much right after the new year, but left some of my winter decor up. Well, that just came down and spring decor is going up! I need my hubby to get my box of spring decor out of the attic, so for now I've just been using stuff I'm moving around the house.

I love farmhouse/cottage/country style decor. It's a mish mash of stuff I like, all put together.

Oh, and I did say this is my spring "mantle" only I don't have a mantle. I figure my piano top will double for one, right?

I made the star a few years ago from yard sticks that I painted and distressed and then glued them together. The easiest, but coolest, DIY I think I've ever done!

I just found this wall decal at the DOLLAR TREE. I loooove it. I love the decal, too. :)

I started collecting these wooden bowls awhile ago when I kept finding them at the Goodwill. The faux succulent was purchased at- you guessed it- the Dollar Tree! I just painted and distressed the pot. The star is made from clothespins and wrapped in twine. I found some books around the house and covered them in craft paper to add height to the arrangement.

The "C" wood block was bought at T.J. Maxx on clearance and the squirrel was also bought at T.J. Maxx. My husband and I have a running joke about squirrels and so we love adding them into our decor.

The pinecone candle holder was bought at the Goodwill. I realize pinecones and maybe even squirrels would fit better in a fall arrangement. But I use them year round.

The vase was moved from my room and my husband wood burned the wood plaque.

The faux herb was bought at Michaels for 70% off and the greenery in the jar was just some stuff I had around the house.

And that's it! I'm getting ready to do a few furniture makeovers and I'll try to update more of my living room when I get them done. And this mantle may change more once I get my other spring decor down. I feel like it's very "brown" and so I may swap some stuff out. But that's me! I'm always changing stuff around.

I love my "Mantle" and it just goes to show that you can have beautiful decor on a limited budget!


Ok guys. I told you I change things around often. Well, I've already changed this a little bit! I stopped by the Dollar Tree tonight and picked up one springy bunch of blue flowers and I found milk bottles! I was so excited to find these! I may eventually paint these white like I did with another one, but for now they are clear. I'm going shopping this weekend and hope to find me a white pitcher. I think it needs a splash of white.

Cheesy Pepperoni Pasta- $0.54/serving!

This is another quick and easy recipe that comes in at only $0.54/serving! This is a regular in our house and easily customized! I would love to try mushrooms in it, but I'm the only one that likes mushrooms in our household. You could add green pepper, onion, or swap out the ground beef for Italian sausage.

 Here is the recipe and the cost breakdown. I did not include the cost of the pepperoni since you use only a few slices and if I don't have it, I just leave it off. I am also assuming you have the spices on hand already.

Cheesy Pepperoni Pasta

1/2 pound ground beef ($1.50)
2 (8 oz) cans tomato sauce ($0.50)*
8 oz pasta ($0.50)
Water and salt to cook pasta
1 cup mozzarella cheese ($0.75)
Pepperoni Slices 
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp oregano
1/8 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp onion powder
1/8 tsp Basil
crushed red pepper flakes, optional, to taste

Cook pasta in water and salt according to package directions. 

In a skillet, brown ground beef until cooked through. Drain. Return to pan and add tomato sauce and all seasonings. Let simmer while the noodles are cooking.

Mix pasta and sauce together in 8" casserole dish or baking pan. Top with mozzarella cheese and pepperoni slices. 

Place in oven at 350 degrees F until cheese is melted, about 5 minutes.

*We don't like a super saucy pasta so we only do two cans. I like a little more sauce in your pasta, you could add one more 8 oz can of tomato sauce, and just up the seasonings just a little bit.

The cost for the ingredients was $3.25 and there is about 6 servings in this recipe which comes out to $0.54/serving! I served this with frozen corn  and garlic bread from Aldi.

Let me know if you try this recipe! It's so easy and quick that it may soon be in your regular rotation, too!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Quick and Easy Chili- $0.80/serving!

This is a really quick chili recipe that is perfect for those cold winter nights. This recipe serves about 4. I put this in individual containers so my husband has 4 days of lunches ready to take to work.

I figured this up to be about $0.80/serving, or in my case $0.80 for lunch! Compared to a lunch at Mcdonald's of at least $6-7.00, this is great! Here is the break down. You could pay less than this if you find a great deal on the meat or other ingredients. I actually used a coupon for $1.50 off 1 pound of ground beef at Kroger so my out of pocket was less. And I'm figuring these on average prices for where I live.

$1.50 for Half pound of ground beef
0.54 large can of tomato sauce
0.69 large can of kidney beans
0.50 for others (You only use a little of each of the other ingredients)

First, cook your onion, pepper and ground beef until cooked through. Drain.

Combine your spices together, Chili powder, ground cumin, garlic powder, cayenne powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, to taste.

Combine water, tomato paste, tomato sauce, kidney beans (or chili beans) and spices together and let simmer for 15 minutes.

 Serve with crackers.

Here is the recipe! I'm working on figuring out how to make this printable.

Quick & Easy Chili

1/2 pound ground beef
1/2 green pepper, diced
1/2 onion, diced
1 large can tomato sauce
1 large can kidney beans
2 cups water
2 TB tomato paste
1 TB Chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
red pepper flakes, to taste

Cook ground beef, onion and green pepper in large pot until cooked through. Drain. Add tomato sauce, beans, water, tomato paste and all seasonings to the pot. Stir and simmer on low for 15 minutes.

Monday, February 20, 2017

My $100 Kitchen Cabinet Makeover!

I'm so excited to share today's post. It's something I've been working on for about 2 months, on and off. But it is finished and so today I'm sharing how we renovated our kitchen cabinets for about $100.

When we bought our house in a little over a year ago, I fell in love with the kitchen just by the listings photos.

It was HUGE and there was about a billion cabinets. The kitchen in our old house was a pretty good size also and I knew I would not be content with a smaller kitchen. So these pictures sold me.

We bought the house and moved in and I lived with the kitchen for awhile but the cabinet color was really bugging me. I liked the counter tops well enough but they clashed with the cabinets. We did not have the money to replace all those cabinets so the next decision was to either paint or stain them.

I stumbled upon General Finishes Gel Stain and thought the idea of it was awesome. There's no sanding required which is huge because I have little kids in the house and I needed to still be able to use my kitchen. Plus it was pretty inexpensive! I found it on Amazon (not an affiliate link) for a little over $30 a quart but lucky for me, we have a local hardware store that sells it for $21 a quart! Total we ended up using 3 quarts of stain and 1 quart of the top coat.  That plus brushes, mineral spirits for cleaning, etc, came to around $100. Now that price we could handle!

So we taped and stained. And stained some more. All in, I think we did about 4 coats. We started by taking all the doors off and staining just the frame completely. Then we put the doors back on and stained the doors and drawers.

We used the General Finishes Antique Walnut Gel Stain and the Arm-R-Seal. I wasn't sure whether to get the Semi-Gloss or Satin, and once I put one coat of the semi-gloss on, it was as shiny as I wanted it to be. So we stopped at 1 coat. I hope I don't regret not putting on more.

We were fortunate that the previous owner had replaced all the cabinet handles already so they were in perfect condition and didn't need to be replaced. 

We also made in a few changes right after we moved in, including buying an island. The island doesn't "match" now, but I'm really not sure if I want to stain it. It doesn't bother me too much as it is. 

My husband is an electrician and he added the hanging pendant lights above the peninsula and lowered the light above the sink. I also painted the backsplash white with paint I already had. I wanted it to be white to brighten the whole space up more. Plus, the previous owners painted the
WHOLE house in a flat or egg shell paint, including the backsplash, which is impossible to clean when you get grease or food on it. 

So here is the final result! I'm so happy with how it turned out!

I love that you can still see the wood grain and handles really pop against the dark color! Plus, now I love the counter tops! The dark cabinet color pulled out the dark spots in the counter and I like it so much better!

I love farmhouse style and I know most "farmhouse" kitchens are lighter cabinets I decided to do my own thing and go dark, but still incorporate some of my farmhouse decor in pops of red.

I was not paid by General Finishes to give my opinion, I just really liked their product! It was relatively easy and I would recommend it if you are looking to update your cabinets.

Here is a before and after side-by-side to compare!

Let me know in the comments if you have any questions!