Author Archives: Amee

Affordable Wedding Gift Ideas

As wedding season rolls around, you may find yourself scrambling for an affordable wedding gift. I have been to several weddings in my life, and I always make sure to bring some type of gift, no matter where I am money wise. There are plenty of thoughtful gifts that won’t break the bank. We wanted to put a list together of some ideas for you to find the perfect gift for the new Mr. and Mrs. that you can afford, and they will love!  Below you will find some ideas on affordable wedding gifts.

Invited to a wedding and a little strapped for cash? Here are some great wedding gift ideas that are affordable and the bride and groom will lo

Affordable Wedding Gift Ideas

Continue reading

May 5, 2010

Homemade Corn Tortilla Chips

Happy Cinco de Mayo! As many of you know, I was raised in California. Besides my family and friends, the one thing I really miss is good Mexican food! Just before my husband and I moved to Virginia we lived a few blocks from a hole-in-the-wall Mexican Restaurant. They had the best homemade chips! I would sometimes stop just for the chips. They would make the chips when you ordered so they were hot and fresh.

Homemade tortilla chips are easy to make. They are not healthy due to the frying so I do not make them often! At Harris Teeter last week I ended up with FREE corn tortillas. I made tortilla chips tonight and I thought I would share with you! And I will warn you again, this is totally not a  healthy recipe but something that is a yummy treat every once in awhile!

Use a Pizza Cutter to cut the tortilla into triangles. Frying tortilla chips

Heat vegetable oil over medium heat. Ad the tortilla pieces in the hot oil. Cook for a minute or two. I flip mine half way through cooking.

Tortilla Chips

Drain on a paper towel when done and sprinkle with season salt. I like mine just barely crispy. Cook a bit longer for a sharp crisp. Enjoy with salsa or plain!


April 12, 2010

Building Creative Raised Garden Beds

It’s time to get your garden ready! Or at least the soil and the early and more hardy plants. I love having a garden and I cannot wait until we have fresh fruit and vegetables. Our strawberries are already blooming and the blackberry bush has buds. The peach tree is also looking hopeful this year! We have been debating to do a traditional in the ground garden or to go back to raised garden beds this year.

We went back to raised garden beds this year since last years crop was a bust (for many reasons but the soil was part of it). Since our garden area is quite large, building raised garden beds can be costly. My husband and I and big proponents of using what you have. We had a garage built this year and we decided to use the leftover scrap wood to build the raised beds. It’s not perfect, but it works!

My husband continued with his creativity and made me an herb starter box. He used a leftover piece of gutter to make the herb box and some scrap wood to secure it. Isn’t that clever?

We did have to bring in top soil and compost as we have clay. The soil was a bit of an expense, but the rest of the garden is pretty frugal. I planted potatoes, onions, green beans, sweet peas, carrots and lettuce this weekend. I will wait a couple more weeks to plant the squash, tomatoes, cucumbers and watermelon.

I encourage you all to make some sort of garden this year. It can be as small as a container on your deck or an herb garden on you window seal. Having fresh homegrown produce is wonderful! My boys enjoy the process too. And there is nothing better than a homegrown tomato!

Have you started a garden yet? What are you planning on planting this year?


April 11, 2010

Menu Plan for the Week & Beef Stroganoff Recipe

I am attempting to start menu planning again! There is less stress during the week if I take the time to write up a menu plan. The last few weeks have been hectic so meal planning took a back seat. One thing to note, I have not grocery shopped in over a week! My freezer and pantry were stocked so I decided to take a shopping break. I will have to go this week for fruits, vegetables, bread and dairy products.


Homemade Banana Bread– This recipe comes for Erin at $5 Dollar Dinners Cookbook. It is very healthy with no butter or oil. I used my home canned cinnamon applesauce. The boys love it!

Cereal and Milk


Sandwiches, Chicken Nuggets, fruit, yogurt, cheese and pretzels


MondayFreezer mashed potatoes, grilled chicken, corn and biscuits

TuesdayPork Lo Mein (Use leftover pork from Sunday night)

Wednesday– Chicken Alfredo- I made Connie’s Alfredo Sauce recipe a couple of weeks ago and the boys LOVED it! It is much healthier than traditional Alfredo sauce and it is only takes a few minuted to whip up.

Thursday– Spaghetti

Friday– Grilled steak, baked potatoes

Saturday– Beef Stroganoff using leftover steak

Beef Stroganoff Recipe

6 Tbsp butter
1 pound of top sirloin, cut thin (or use leftover meat or chicken!)
1/3 cup finely chopped shallots or onions
1/2 pound mushrooms (can be fancy variety or just white)
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
dash nutmeg
1 cup of sour cream

1) Melt 3 Tbsp. of butter over medium-high heat. Add steak, season with pepper and salt. Cook until browned. Remove steak and keep warm. (If using leftover meat, just skip this step!)

2) Add shallots or onions, mushrooms and remaining butter to pan drippings and cook until tender over medium heat. Add a dash of nutmeg.

3) Reduce heat to low and add sour cream. Mix sour cream in thoroughly and then take off heat. Do not boil the sour cream as it will curdle. Add the beef back in.

4) Serve over egg noodles.

Sunday– Not sure! I will have to see what is on sale this week and what I find at the store!

What is on your menu this week? Do you have the grill out yet? I love grilling season!

This post is linked at Org Junkie.

February 24, 2010

CrockPot Ribs Recipe

I have to say this week I am so busy I  do not have time to make anything new. I know sad ha? I thought I would share a quick dinner idea that I used last night since we had Karate at 4:30-5:30 and then basketball 6:00-7:00. I mean sometimes you just have to do what you can.

1 bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce

1/4 cup of water

1 crockpot

as many ribs as your family can eat or will fit in your crockpot

Place 1/4 cup of water in the crock pot add ribs $4.18  and pour on the sauce $1.00. Place your crock pot on low for 8 hours… Voila dinner!

I threw in some Uncle Ben’s rice 90 seconds (free) in the microwave and a bag of Dole Salad mix ($1.00). DONE for under $7.00!

November 23, 2009

Slow Cooker Recipe: Sweet Potato Custard


I have had a couple of requests for the Sweet Potato Custard recipe. This recipe came from a crock pot cooking class I took several years ago. It is a simple recipe and great to make for Thanksgiving or Christmas. I really like that it cooks in the crock pot instead of taking up room in the oven. It almost tastes like dessert! The original recipe was by Debbie Duggan.

Sweet Potato Custard

5 Cups chopped, peeled sweet potatoes or yams
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
2 Tblsp. unsalted soft butter
3/4 Cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
Dash Nutmeg
Dash ground cloves
1 large egg
1/4 cup sour cream

In a pot of boiling water, cook sweet potatoes for 15 minutes or until tender. Drain and transfer to a blender or food processor. Puree or mash sweet potatoes until smooth. Add lemon juice.

In a bowl combine butter, brown sugar, spices, egg and sour cream. Beat until smooth. Fold in sweet potato puree. Transfer to a lightly buttered crock pot. Cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours or on high for 2-3 hours. The sweet potatoes will be slightly brown on the edges when done.

Tip: You can boil, mash and add the lemon juice the day before if you want. Just place the puree in the refrigerator until you are ready to cook in the crock pot!