Frugal Novice

Elevate Your Plate with Dorot!

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We love to cook, and even during very busy school weeks we try to cook two meals with enough for leftovers so we can eat at home most nights. I keep chicken and beef on hand in the freezer, and rice and pasta is always stocked in the pantry. I love to keep essentials around all the time so I can put together any meal in a pinch.

In the past, though, we always had a hard time keeping things like basil around for use in recipes. Perishable items can be difficult to have on hand because they go bad quickly – unless you’ve got Dorot in the freezer!

Dorot has frozen, flavorful trays filled with commonly-used ingredients, including:
• Crushed Garlic
• Chopped Parsley
• Chopped Basil
• Glazed Onions
• Chopped Dill
• Chopped Cilantro
• Chopped Chili
• Crushed Ginger

You can find these products at your local Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods in the freezer aisle, and once you stock up on all these it’ll be like you’ve got your own sous chef on hand to prep all your herbs and seasonings for you.

Dorot provides the perfect amount of herbs, with no prep or cleanup! I love this for busy nights – I can get all the flavor I want with the help of their easy trays! The basil would be perfect in this pesto pasta salad, don’t you think?

pastasalad-pesto

 

Orange Bars Recipe

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This is a partnered post with Summer Citrus from South Africa.

I love to bake. There’s just something homey and cozy about whipping something up in the kitchen, and it’s definitely the Texan way of life to show love to others with baked goods. We had some delicious navel oranges from Summer Citrus From South Africa that I really wanted to use in a dessert.

naveloranges

The brightness these oranges provide a great flavor that comes through and makes this a stellar treat (and hey, if you’re going to have dessert, you can feel good that their navel oranges are an excellent source of vitamin C, potassium, and calcium)!

orangebars-work

orangebars-closeup

I took these to work to share with coworkers (this is the only way I can bake – if I don’t share my treats, I want to eat them all!) and they disappeared pretty quickly, which is always a good sign.

Instead of step-by-step photos to guide you through the orange bars recipe, I shot a quick video of the process. Check out our setup (major thanks to my amazing husband for sharing his shooting & editing skills):

videosetup

Here’s the video – I hope you’ll give these a try! The full recipe is below.

Orange Bars Recipe from FrugalNovice.com

Orange Bars Recipe

orangebar-featured1

This is a partnered post with Summer Citrus from South Africa.

I love to bake. There’s just something homey and cozy about whipping something up in the kitchen, and it’s definitely the Texan way of life to show love to others with baked goods. We had some delicious navel oranges from Summer Citrus From South Africa that I really wanted to use in a dessert. The brightness these oranges provide a great flavor that comes through and makes this a stellar treat (and hey, if you’re going to have dessert, you can feel good that the navel oranges are an excellent source of vitamin C, potassium, and calcium)!

orangebars-work

orangebars-closeup

I took these to work to share with coworkers (this is the only way I can bake – if I don’t share my treats, I want to eat them all!) and they disappeared pretty quickly, which is always a good sign.

Instead of step-by-step photos to guide you through the recipe, I shot a quick video of the process. Check out our setup (major thanks to my amazing husband for sharing his shooting & editing skills):

videosetup

Here’s the video – I hope you’ll give these a try! The full recipe is below.

Print Recipe
Orange Bars
Delicious, sweet & flavorful orange bars.
Course Dessert
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Crust
Filling
Course Dessert
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Crust
Filling
Instructions
Crust
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter (softened), 2 cups of all-purpose flour, 1/2 cup of sugar, and a pinch of kosher salt.
  3. Mix with a fork or food processor until well-combined.
  4. Press into the bottom of an ungreased square dish, and bake for 25 minutes at 350 degrees.
  5. Remove and set aside.
Filling
  1. Juice 1-2 navel oranges until you have 2/3 cup juice. Strain seeds with your hands, or with a sieve. Set aside.
  2. Mix together 1 1/2 cups of sugar, 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon of all-purpose flour, four large eggs, the zest of one navel orange, and the 2/3 cup juice.
  3. Pour the mixture over the crust, and bake for 25 minutes at 350 degrees.
  4. Let cool for 1-2 hours; the filling will set up and solidify while it's cooling.
  5. Dust with powdered sugar, slice, and serve. Enjoy!
Share this Recipe

Get 30% Off at Walgreens Photo With Little Remedies Purchase!

This is a partnered post with Little Remedies. All opinions are honest and are my own.

With three kids, we’ve relied on Little Remedies products several times to help them through colds. We love their products – they’re natural and effective. And now there’s another reason to love them – they’ve partnered with Walgreens Photo Center for a special deal that will help you keep the kids healthy while also saving on photo printouts for the whole family.

With the purchase of $15+ of Little Remedies products, you can receive 30% off at your local Walgreens Photo Center (through November 5). With cold and flu season coming up, it’s a great time to stock up on Little Remedies products, and then I can use my 30% savings at the photo center to start printing some Christmas gifts (it’s never too early to start getting ready for Christmas!).

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Elena of Avalor Birthday Party and Birthday Cake

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My daughter E just turned 4 last week, and has been excited about her birthday party for MONTHS. She ran through many different party theme ideas, and finally settled on her new favorite, Elena of Avalor. Only five episodes have aired so far, and we know them – and the songs within each episode – by heart.

Since Elena is a newer Disney princess, there’s just not a lot out there on the market yet. We found Elena toys for her gifts, but when it came to party planning we had to get creative.

The city of Avalor – and Elena’s culture – is influenced by diverse Latin and Hispanic cultures, so we decided our party would have a fiesta-type atmosphere showcasing vibrant colors.

elenaparty-table-room

My coworker donated some leftover tissue paper flowers from a party she’d thrown – we used them on the windows, and at each corner of our big chalkboard. Check out how easy & affordable it is to make these colorful decorations here.

elena-room

I found some cute pom pom fringe ribbon in the Target dollar section; we (I have amazing family that is awesome at helping decorate, especially my MIL!) used that to drape along the arms of our chandelier, to trim out our lamps and side table, and to add some charm to the chalkboard. The “Celebrate” felt banner is also from the Target dollar section (I kinda love Target. A little lot.)

We used a lot of streamers in a variety of colors, and tons of colorful balloons, too – cheap & effective additions for creating a perfect party atmosphere.

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Another easy thing to add to atmosphere is buying fresh flowers. Our local supermarket has them for $5 a bunch, and they really provide great color, don’t you think? We put a vase on the party table (as you can see in a pic above), and on the bar alongside party favors, too (I’ll get to party favors in just a bit).

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Our Family is Flipping for Free Kids’ Pancakes at Denny’s!

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This post is part of a compensated ambassadorship with Denny’s. All opinions are honest and are my own.

I’ve written many times over  the past few years about how affordable it is for families to eat at Denny’s. Well, it’s now even easier and more affordable than ever for families to enjoy its all-new pancakes thanks to its “Free Pancakes for Kids” offer. This whole month your kids will have a free opportunity to see if Denny’s new pancake stacks—made with fresh buttermilk, real eggs and vanilla—really are better than ever.

For the first time, the pancakes are available in a variety of kid-sized signature dishes, including the Jr. Cinnamon Pancakes, Jr. Strawberries & Cream Pancakes and Chocolate Chip Pancakes. Kids ages 10 and under can enjoy Denny’s pancakes in any of these dishes for free every day in September from 4-10 p.m. with the purchase of one adult entrée at participating locations. We will definitely be going and taking advantage of this great deal! You can also add sides for just 89 cents each – I know my boys will want to add bacon to their pancakes!

freepancakes

“With families getting back into groove of the school year, the month of September is the perfect opportunity for fans of Denny’s to take advantage of our Free Pancakes for Kids offer,” said John Dillon, (follow him on Twitter, by the way – @DillonJohnW), chief marketing officer for Denny’s. “Not only is this a great way for our guests, including kids, to try our new pancakes, but it is also our way of inviting families to enjoy breakfast for dinner at an affordable price.”

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Take the brightpeak $500 Savings Challenge (& Get a Head Start With This $25 Giveaway!)

This is a compensated, partnered post with brightpeak and The Motherhood. All opinions are honest and are my own.

Did you know that about 62% of Americans have less than $1,000 in their savings account, and 21% don’t have a savings account at all? Especially if you’re a young couple just starting out, or if you’re a young family with lots of expenses, it’s easy to see how having a savings account can seem out of reach.

love the idea of finding ways to save more money, but I’ll fully admit it’s easy to get caught up in the busy-ness of life and lose track of savings goals. That’s why I was pretty excited to learn about brightpeak’s free $500 Savings Challenge – it makes it pretty foolproof to set aside $500 in savings… in just one week.

I signed up to give the challenge a try – I was curious what kind of steps one has to take to achieve the goal of saving $500 in seven days. Were they going to suggest ideas that were really difficult to accomplish?

When you sign up for the challenge, you get one email each day with an action you can take to save money. And guys? Each suggestion was really reasonable. My favorite suggestion is selling something worth $100. It’s my favorite because it accomplishes two things – decluttering the house and earning money! If you take a look around your house with open eyes, I’m sure you can find an item worth $100 to sell on Craigslist or a local Facebook garage sale group. And if you can’t find one item, surely you can find several items to list that total up to $100 (For example, I have a big stack of E’s 3T clothes she’s outgrown – it’s so easy to sell them if I just put my mind to it!). You’ll be one step closer to your savings goal, and you’ll have purged items you didn’t really need anyway.

There are, of course, 6 other days worth of challenges, and I’ll keep the rest of the actions a surprise so you can learn them for yourself. I’ll say this, though – it’s totally achievable and realistic to save the $500 in 7 days and get the boost to your savings account you need!

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Help Your School with Box Tops for Education @ H-E-B!

I can hardly believe the kids are back in school again – the summer flew by. We had a really great three months with lots of family time and fun, and now we’re adjusting to school mode again – earlier bedtimes, earlier wakeup times, quick breakfasts, packing lunches… all the little routines that help make our kids’ days smoother and better.

The weekend before school began I started stocking up on favorite healthy snacks and nonperishable lunch items so we’d be prepared. We love H-E-B and all the variety they have to offer, so it was a great one-stop shop for everything we needed. As I shopped, I realized that I always gravitated towards options that offer Box Tops for Education. We love the Box Tops program, because all we have to do is shop for things we’re already planning to buy, clip the tops, and send them to school (your school will receive 10 cents for every Box Top you clip and send!) – it’s an incredibly easy way to support our school and its teachers. Just look for the box Tops label when you shop General Mills products at H-E-B.

Whether we’re shopping for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or even snacks, it’s easy for us to find Box Tops products to help support our schools.

HEB-Cheerios-BoxTops

I have many friends who are teachers, and my mom was a teacher for many years until she retired this summer. I know how much teachers invest in their students by purchasing many things on their own dime, so it’s incredibly important for us to support teachers and schools with great programs like Box Tops for Education.

Right now there’s an even easier way to ramp up Box Top efforts – 20 Texas schools will win 20,000 bonus Box Tops (this is a value of $2,000!). Support your school by registering here for your chance to win the sweepstakes, and let your fellow parents know so they can enter, too!

 

 

Perfect for School Lunches: Summer Citrus From South Africa Easy Peelers

EasyPeelers-Featured

This is a partnered post with Summer Citrus from South Africa. All opinions are honest and our own.

School is back. We’re still settling in to the new routine, especially in the mornings. With three kids, we’re rushing around each school day making sure breakfasts are eaten, teeth are brushed, clothes are chosen, backpacks are ready, and lunches are packed.

Lunches are a big deal to me as a mom. I’m away from the kids all day, and lunchtime is a chance to send them a little love with a great meal. My husband and I send a joke in our boys’ lunches each day – usually one of us will write the joke and the other one will draw an illustration to go along with it. It’s a fun and easy way for us to brighten the kids’ day while they’re at school!

Notes

I like to make it really convenient to pack lunches during the week, so I pre-portion lunch meat, pepperoni, and pretzel sticks in snack baggies, and choose other healthy and convenient foods to go along with them. Easy Peelers from Summer Citrus from South Africa are a great school lunch staple – they’re SO easy to put in lunches (no slicing needed), the kids have fun peeling them and breaking them apart, and they’re delicious!

EasyPeelers-Lunchbox

We also have Easy Peelers as a snack after school. Even my daughter, who’s almost 4, can easily peel one, she loves tearing them apart, and they disappear quickly because she gobbles them up!

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Here’s something else to bring a smile to your face…

EasyPeelers-Smile

I’ve got TWO amazing giveaways you’ll definitely want to enter.

summercitrus-prize-pack

First, enter to win a really fun summer prize pack: an orange pool float, RTIC Insulated Tumbler, Popsicle Mold and eos Lip Balm. Just click here to enter! This giveaway is sponsored by Summer Citrus from South Africa, and it ends September 9.

The other giveaway is one I’m hosting right here, and it’s pretty awesome if I do say so myself! Check out what all you’ll win:

Giveaway prize pack

This prize pack is wonderful, y’all. The winner will get a Cuisinart Frozen Yogurt/Ice Cream Maker, dessert bowls, a citrus juicer, a zester, eos lip balm and a $50 Walmart gift card! Just enter in the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

CanvasPop Provides Quality Custom Canvases

CanvasPop-Featured

We received a custom canvas to facilitate this review. All opinions are honest and are our own.

Brian and I completed a BIG project this summer – a huge custom built-in bookshelf in our living room. We filled many of the shelves with books, but there are some larger areas that are intended to display art. These areas are unique sizes, so finding pieces to fit just right can definitely be a challenge.

I knew right away that I wanted a photo canvas for one of the spots, and I found out that CanvasPop could provide truly custom dimensions, allowing the canvas to fit perfectly within the shelves, with a 2″ margin on all sides. We love it!

CanvasPop-Canvas-Shelf

The shelves of our built-in are a little less than 4″ deep so they can hold books but not stick out too far into the space. If we got a thin photo canvas, it might look a little too recessed, so this was something I was concerned about – until I went to place our order. CanvasPop offers a 2.5″ depth, which really gives a high-end feel.

Our canvas was hand-crafted, as evidenced by the seal placed on the back:

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We’re Keeping our Furry Foodies Happy with Beneful’s New Recipe!

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This post is part of an ambassadorship with Beneful. I receive products, information, and compensation as an ambassador. All opinions are my own. We’re proud to be #FriendsOfBeneful! 

Blue_POSTERBrian and I consider ourselves foodies. We love to cook, we love to test new recipes, and we love to try new restaurants. One of my favorite things to do each weekend is to look up recipes and plan our meals for the week. We’ve gotten the kids in on our love of food, too – even our picky child! So it only makes sense that in this family of foodies we don’t want to leave out our sweet dogs, Sally & Ninja.

Beneful is a brand we’ve loved for our dogs for a long time, but we love them even more now that they’ve rolled out their new recipes for their dry food.

BenefulNewRecipe

It’s a sign to us as dog owners that Beneful really cares about making the best quality food for our furry family members. Real meat is the #1 ingredient in their beef and chicken dry foods.

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Did you know you can get a free sample of the new Beneful dry dog food so your pup can give it a try?Just go here to sign up.  (By the way – it’s important to note that dogs can be sensitive to change, especially when it comes to food. Even if you currently feed your dog Beneful, you’ll want to transition to the new Beneful recipe as you would for a new type of food. Check out these helpful feeding tips and tricks for how to make the transition smoothly.)

When we got our sample in the mail, Sally was practically beside herself with excitement.

Sally_DryDogFood

I apparently took too long to open the package, because she hopped up with her front paws on the dining table. She’s never done that before (she totally knows that’s against the rules!) but apparently the allure of Beneful was too much!

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Curlformers Make Gorgeous Curls Easy!

Curlformers-Packaging

I’ve always had straight hair, but I’ve always loved the way curly hair looks, and have wished I could have  that look for myself. Unfortunately I’m not a morning person and just don’t have the patience to stand in front of the mirror for an hour with a curling iron.

Thankfully I can now achieve gorgeous curls within minutes each morning, with Curlformers. These are SO cool – the design is genius, and they’re pretty foolproof.

Curlformers-Instructions

You can put them in your hair, use a dryer to set them, and remove the curlers – or if you’re like me and aren’t a morning person, you can put these in your hair at night, sleep on them, and pull them out in the morning.

Curlformers-inProgress

Brian helped me put these in my hair since it was my first time trying them, and he said it was really easy to do. It took about 15 minutes to put them all in, so I can only imagine that as I use them more and more it’ll become an even quicker process!

Curlformers-Done

Check out my suuuuuuper cute look. Yes, I look like a friendly, makeup-free clown. But friends, it is worth it. These rollers are flexible plastic. They’re not soft like foam, but I slept in them and was comfortable.

It took literally 1 minute to pull all the rollers out in the morning, and I was left with some seriously impressive curls. I played with my roots at the front a bit to give them body and de-frizz, but I was really happy with the finished product and would definitely recommend them.

Here’s a photo I took immediately after removing the rollers, and before I adjusted my roots:

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