treat – Frugal Novice
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Cucumber “Cupcakes” with Homemade Hummus “Frosting” Recipe


CucumberCupcakesMy good friend Chemese’s birthday was last week, and she requested a little something different from your typical chocolate cake. She asked for me to make a savory snack that would fit with her Vegan lifestyle – cucumber “cupcakes” with hummus “frosting.”

For the cupcake part, I just peeled organic cucumbers and cut the ends off, then cut each cucumber into four even pieces. If I do this again, I’ll hollow out part of the cucumber with a spoon to allow more room for hummus. This worked well enough, though, and was super easy to do. When we ate these, we just cut them up into pieces.

For the hummus, I made it from scratch. It takes some time and prep, but is a fairly easy process overall. Chemese had chickpeas on hand, and she soaked them, then gave them to me. After the soaking, it’s important to boil the chickpeas until they’re tender, which took about an hour. I boiled them the night before, then stuck them in the fridge so they were cold and ready to use the next day. Of course, you could also use canned chickpeas if you don’t have the time to do the soaking and boiling.

Here are the ingredients for the hummus:

  • 4 cups chickpeas, cooked or canned, drained
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • salt
  • tahini
  • lemon juice
  • olive oil

CucumberGraphicYou’ll notice I didn’t list amounts for the salt, tahini, olive oil, and lemon juice – that’s because I think it’s crucial that you add these a bit at a time until you get the taste and consistency you’re looking for. I believe I ended up using 4 tablespoons of tahini, the juice of 1/2 a lemon, and 2 teaspoons of salt. Here’s the process, which is pretty simple:

  1. In a food processor, put in your chickpeas and pulse to get them started blending. Add a little bit of water if you need to loosen things up a bit. Then add your garlic, and blend, adding olive oil in until you get the mixture at your desired consistency. As you can see in the photo, mine was about the consistency of buttercream frosting. 
  2. Next add in your tahini, one tablespoon at a time. It’s important to do this before adding your salt, because tahini has some saltiness to it. Blend between tablespoons, and taste after each one! Next, add your salt, again a little at a time.
  3. Last of all, add the lemon juice. You’ll be amazed at the brightness this adds to the flavor profile, but you want to make sure and not end up with something that’s just plain sour, so again – add a little at a time.
  4. Voila! You’ve got homemade hummus, which is lighter and airier than anything store-bought I’ve tried.

To finish my cupcakes, I just put the hummus in a parchment bag with an icing tip, and then topped the hummus with finely chopped carrots. I love the way they turned out! Our 4-year-old liked them so much that he asked me to make him for his next birthday. :)

Most importantly, though, Chemese liked her birthday treat, and we had a great time celebrating with her!


Shari’s Berries Make a Sweet Valentine’s Gift!

SharisBoxesI am one of those that LOVES Valentine’s Day. It can be hard to come up with a good gift idea, especially for someone who has everything… and guys don’t really want a bouquet of flowers, so it can be difficult for girls to find gift ideas for the men in their lives.

Are you needing an idea too? Well, I’ve got one… check out the boxes in this photo and there’s your solution – Shari’s Berries! They have a ton of different items from chocolate covered strawberries, wine, nuts, cookies, cake, and more.

Edible Valentine’s gifts are a perfect choice, in my opinion. Who’s got room for a giant stuffed bear? Delicious treats from Shari’s Berries are something everyone can enjoy. I can imagine everyone from my kids to my grandma liking something from their site.

I got a chance to review some chocolate covered strawberries from Shari’s Berries, and I had them delivered to my office. Let me tell you, they were a hit with everyone! They came with a variety of milk chocolate, dark chocolate, and white chocolate – and there are some you can also select that have nuts and other toppings – yum!

The berries came well-packed and were in perfect condition. Doesn’t this photo make you want to dive right in?


We were all impressed with how juicy the strawberries were, especially for this time of year. And the strawberries are big, so they definitely feel like a decadent indulgence! I had two dozen strawberries, and they were gone within a matter of minutes – it just goes to show how much everyone – men and women alike – loved them!



If you’re looking for a Valentine’s Day gift this year, be sure and check out Shari’s Berries for all of their many delicious choices. AND they have coupons very often – just click here to take a look!

Note: I received chocolate-covered strawberries to facilitate my review. I was not compensated monetarily. All opinions in this post are honest and my own.



Free Easter Basket Craft – Printable Download!


After doing a survey on my Facebook page last night, it seemed obvious that what people want most in the way of Easter printables is a craft to do with their kids. I did some brainstorming and tried to think of something that would be both fun and practical, and I decided on a pattern for an Easter Treat Basket. This is a great project to do one-on-one at home, but you could also do this at a school party and then let children fill their baskets with treats. Fun and easy!

Once you’ve printed your page for the Easter basket from the PDF (I’ll link to the file at the end of this post), let your kids color to their hearts’ content. I had fun coloring one for an example – you might want to do this project  yourself, too! One note – make sure you fill out the “to” and “from” part now, because this will be on the bottom of the basket once it’s complete.

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