Food – Frugal Novice
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#BEFlavorFull with Birds Eye Sour Cream & Onion Potatoes

As I was cooking our Birds Eye potatoes to go with dinner the other night, our middle child, C, came into the kitchen. “Mom, it smells good in here. It smells like those potato chips I love!” he said. “You’re right!” I told him. “These potatoes are sour cream & onion, and I bet you’re going to love them!”

If you’re looking for a way to get your kids excited about veggies, look no further than Birds Eye Flavor Full frozen veggies. They have a great variety of options available, all with powerful flavor profiles that make the veggies a fun addition to any meal. The current options available are:

And in some areas (including mine), you can find these, too:

  • Sweet Chili Carrots
  • Wasabi Peas
  • Fiesta Lime Corn

 

I love the Flavor Full veggies too because they’re so easy. We served these on a very busy evening, and all we had to do was put the bag in the microwave. You can’t really beat that! We served the potatoes up with some dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets, and our kids pretty much thought it was the best meal ever.

C-Potatoes

 

With Birds Eye Flavor Full veggies, it’s now easy to serve your family vegetables every day of the week. The unique and delicious flavors include Buffalo Cauliflower, Ranch Broccoli, Sour Cream & Onion Potatoes, Teriyaki Broccoli, Barbecue Sweet Corn, Sweet Chili Carrots, Wasabi Peas and Fiesta Lime Corn.

BirdsEye-SourCreamPotatoes-Bowl

Harvested and flash-frozen at their peak freshness, Birds Eye uses only the highest quality vegetables for all its products. From pure and simple vegetables, to mixed medleys, to easy-to-prepare vegetables in sauce, any cook can have a host of nutritious menu options just minutes away.

Brian-Potatoes

 

Right now (through the end of this year) you can get a $1.00 off ocoupon for Birds Eye Flavor Full veggies! Just click here to download the coupon and you’ll be on your way to an easy, delicious, flavor full dinner your kids will love.

This Delicious 3-Ingredient Appetizer Will be a Party Fave!

Acorn Disclosure

Thanksgiving is next week, but we’re starting the celebration early by having my mom, brother, and sister-in-law over for a pre-Thanksgiving party. Since we know a heavy meal is right around the corner, we’ve opted to keep things lighter and each provide several appetizers to share.

I haven’t had a lot of time to plan what to make, though. It’s been insanely busy at work lately – I’m a graphic designer for three magazines, and it’s right around deadline for all three. Add to that all the busy-ness that comes with being a parent to three kids under 10, and it’s easy to see why it’s hard to invest a lot of time in party prep! I’m sure many of you can relate to this not-enough-time-in-the-day feeling, right?

Because of all I’ve got going on right now, and because easy is always appealing to me, I wanted to find something quick but delicious to contribute, so I decided on this 3-ingredient recipe that I’m sharing with you today.

The idea for this recipe centers around the cheese. I love a good cheese, and when I saw this Boursin® Garlic & Fine Herbs gournay cheese at Walmart I knew exactly what I wanted to make.  I went ahead and picked up some of the monterrey jack & spicy pepper cheese dip, too, thinking it’d provide a completely different flavor profile to have at our gathering. Just a note – these cheeses were in a stand-alone refrigerated display up near the deli counter at our Walmart.

Boursin-Cheeses

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Examining a Thanksgiving Classic: Stuffing

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, food is definitely on my mind. And not just any food; the Thanksgiving classics are what I’m craving. Turkey, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, and of course the wouldn’t-be-Thanksgiving-without-it stuffing. I grew up eating Stove Top stuffing; my husband grew up with a cornbread stuffing his mom made (that’s what we’ll be having this year!), and there are lots of varieties around the country. Check out how different regions make stuffing their way:

 

Check out Stuffed: How Different U.S. Regions Put a Spin on Stuffing

by The Foodie Patootie at Mode

How does your family eat stuffing?

Denny’s Makes a Difference #DennysNKH

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

Just $10 to No Kid Hungry can provide up to 100 meals for kids who need them. 

As you all know by now, I’m a Denny’s ambassador. It’s been a lot of fun learning about all Denny’s has going on – I’ve even visited their test kitchen in South Carolina to see all the work and planning that goes into every single part of the Denny’s experience (spoiler alert: it’s impressive). It was there, over a year ago, that I first learned about Denny’s partnership with No Kid Hungry, which still continues to this day.

No Kid Hungry is a charity that helps make sure children don’t go without a very basic need: food. It’s a cause that’s near and dear to my heart – the thought of kids having to function throughout their day with empty bellies is sickening. I get shaky if I skip lunch one day, and I’m a grown adult. I know my children definitely give off signs of hunger, and that’s just from having a later dinner one night. I can’t imagine them going without food, and No Kid Hungry aims to end that problem for kids around the country. Check out these facts on what a difference breakfast makes for kids:

BreakfastChangesLives_infographic_FINAL

I get the opportunity to help raise money for No Kid Hungry through the Denny’s campaign, and I got to host a fundraiser dinner this past week to help inform friends and family about this great partnership – I thought I’d share a few photos about our event and then I’ll share how you can make a difference (fun fact: did you know that if you donate $1 you can provide up to TEN meals for children? That’s some major change you can make with minimal cost to you, friends!).

Brian_Patrick_Menus

Grandma_E_Fruit

Anthony, the GM at our location, was amazing in helping coordinate the event. He set us up in a private room, and as their contribution to the fundraiser he even donated drinks for the event. That is going above and beyond, but it’s not surprising to me given our experience with our location. They’re a great team of people who care.

Waitress_Jay

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How to Feed a Family of Five for Just $20 at Denny’s!

I’m a Denny’s ambassador, and this post is a part of that compensated partnership. All opinions are honest and are my own.

I guess I should clarify my post headline, because this is just one of several ways you could feed your family of five for just $20 at Denny’s… and if you eat on a Kids Eat Free night, you can make your money go even farther! We went for Sunday lunch, and we told our boys we were giving ourselves a challenge for the meal to make the budget of just $20. They had a blast helping us figure out various ways to spend the $20 (although some of their ideas consisted of just getting 5 Cookies & Cream Mega Sundaes).

Here’s the skinny: we decided to order from the $2 $4 $6 $8 menu because there are a ton of options and you can get a lot of bang for your buck! Here were our options:

2468-Menu-Dennys

 

Here’s what we got:

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SPLENDA Summertime Sweet Life – Tea Party!

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for the SPLENDA®Brand. I received product samples to facilitate my review as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation. All opinions and reviews are my own.

I may be 33, but I still love a good tea party. So when I had the opportunity to try out a tea recipe using SPLENDA® Brown Sugar Blend, I knew it was the perfect excuse to have some friends and family join me for a tea party complete with a fun DIY. The SWEET SWAPS™ website has all sorts of great recipes, and one of the items on the site is a Hot Brown Sugar Tea recipe along with a fun decorate-your-own-mug DIY.

Splenda-Mugs

I especially wanted to treat for a tea party because we had just finished cleaning out the house and having a big garage sale, which is a lot of work. It was great to be active (and boy did we feel all that activity when we fell into our beds that night!), but I think it was perfect to celebrate being done with all the cleaning and work.

GarageSalePrep

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Family Fun Night with Denny’s and DreamWorks… + Giveaway!

This partnered post is brought to you as part of my Denny’s Ambassadorship. All opinions are honest and are my own.

We love family nights. We typically have ours on a Friday or Saturday night, and ending the week spending quality time together is just the best. It’s a time to unwind and talk about our week, and it’s a great time to reconnect after a busy five days.

I’ve got a fun plan for our upcoming family night, and I thought I’d share it with y’all in case you’d like to do this, too. It’s simple, inexpensive, and fun for the whole family – can’t really beat that.

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Did You Know? Q&A: Preservatives and Their Benefits

I have always felt like I am pretty knowledgeable when it comes to food, but I recently learned about preservatives and discovered I’d been giving them an unfairly bad rap. I didn’t know what benefits they provide – but now I do, thanks to a Q&A from ConAgra.

ConAgraFoods

Lanie Friedman Director, Communications & External Relations at ConAgra Foods, Kelly Magurany, Principal Research Scientists- Toxicology – Food Protection and Regulatory Affairs at ConAgra Foods and Kristi Reimers, RD, PhD, Nutrition and Director of Nutrition in Research & Innovations at ConAgra Foods provided all sorts of information about all preservatives, and more specifically about antioxidants. And now I get to share all I learned with you! Here are some basic facts:

Why should we preserve our food? 

  • Taste
  • Freshness
  • Safety
  • Natural color preservation
  • Food waste reduction

How can we preserve our food? 

  • Methods like canning and freezing – even putting foods in the fridge helps preserve foods
  • Ingredients can be added to every day packaged foods to help preserve them

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Denny’s Denny’s = Win Win!

Note: This partnered post is brought to you as a part of my ambassadorship with Denny’s Diners. All opinions are honest and my own. Thanks to Mark Ryann for the great photos for this post!

I loved being a Denny’s Ambassador last year, and was pretty stinkin’ excited when I found out I get to continue that relationship throughout this year, too. I love all the forethought Denny’s puts into making their menus top-notch, and I love their creative and fun campaigns, like this one I get to share with you today!

DennyHamlin_Logo

When you’re about to put the pedal to the metal for a big race, it’s important that you’re all fueled up – and no one knows that better than Denny Hamlin, NASCAR star driver. Of course, Denny’s Diners understand the value of fueling up, too – with good food! So it only makes sense that these namesakes have teamed up together for a really cool partnership. Denny Hamlin has introduced the world’s first – and ONLY – “Denny’s Denny’s,” a mobile unit which features an authentic Denny’s booth, Hamlin’s famous fork collection and syrup gas tanks.

If you’re a NASCAR fan you’ll want to be sure and stop by to check out the custom “Denny’s Denny’s” as it travels with Hamlin from track to track.

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Olives from Spain – Great Addition to Your Menu

Note: I received samples and promotional materials to facilitate this post. I was not compensated monetarily for this post.

Olives color

Olives have always been a mainstay at Thanksgiving and other “big” meals for my family as I grew up, and now Brian, C & E love olives too so they’ll always be included in our holiday traditions.

I’ve never really thought about where these olives come from before, but now I know that many olives come from Spain. Spanish olives are a flavorful, versatile, novel, sophisticated and nutritious. There is a longstanding history and tradition of olive production in Spain, which is now being combined with the most advanced technology available. This guarantees the highest possible levels of food safety and quality. Furthermore, Spain is a world leader in the production and exportation of table olives, which demonstrates its expertise and ongoing adaptation to the tastes and needs of consumers worldwide.

Olives-From-Spain-Cans

We received some manzanilla olives, and of course we could just serve them as is:

Olives-From-Spain-Dish

But instead I decided to do something a little different and create a fun appetizer (easy, too!) – fried olives.

Yep, you heard that right. Fried.

This is a great way to still let the flavor of the olives shine through while giving an added crunch.

Simply dip olives in a mixture of 1 egg and 1 tablespoon of milk, then toss them in bread crumbs with salt, pepper, and thyme. Fry in a thin layer of olive oil over medium heat, turning the olives to get them golden brown on all sides. So easy!

Olives-From-Spain-Breaded-SideView