Category: recipes

Favorite Things – Key Limeade

I hate drinking water. If I could get away with it, I would be fine drinking nothing but Diet Coke and coffee. I know I need to drink more water, so I’ve tried to find a way to make it more appealing. I love Crystal Light Peach Tea powder added to my water. Jed makes lemonade by adding lemon juice and Splenda to a glass of water. I love it. I decided to try it with my favorite flavor – key lime. Amazing. I can drink it all day long. It is great without the Splenda too. When we were at the beach in Florida, I used this little recipe to save us from the taste of the tap water. Don’t be insulted, Florida friends. We have some areas of nasty tasting water here in Texas (Frisco – I’m talking to you). We didn’t have to buy bottled water, which saved us a ton of money. So, if you are a fellow water hater, try some limeade or lemonade.

For 24 oz of water (the large Tervis Tumbler size):
add 2 packets of Splenda
2 tbsp of lemon or lime juice

Hydrate or die, people. 🙂

super easy key lime pie – a beachy recipe

we are headed to the beach in less than a week, and i am so ready. one of my favorite beachy recipes (and favorite dessert ever) is this easy key lime pie. is was given to me by mom’s friend mary (she is my friend as well, but my mom gets the credit for knowing her first. at any rate, it is super easy. there is none of the zesting or making of meringue that goes with other key lime pie recipes.

mary’s easy key lime pie
the ingredients:
1 graham cracker pie crust
1 14 oz. can of fat free sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup key lime juice (i use paul and joe’s or mrs. biddie’s)
i really like the key lime taste, so i use 3/4 cup
1 container fat free cool whip
dump your ingredients into your mixer or mixing bowl.
mix them until well blended and smooth.
pour the mixture into your pie crust.
so simple and perfect…
place the plastic cover that came with your pie crust
back over the pie to make a dome.
put your pie in the freezer for at least 8 hours,
preferably overnight.
be patient. it is worth it.
this pie serves 8-10.
it contains 240-300 calories and about 5 grams of fat per slice,
depending on your slice size.
that is not bad at all for a delicious dessert.
have a slice and dream of being on your favorite beach.
what is your favorite beach recipe or food?

i’m linking to some great parties. check them out here.

frugal friday frijoles – the easiest bean dip recipe ever

my husband is the most frugal man i know, most of the time.
he loves to experiment in the kitchen, and has been known to have a recipe bomb on occasion. it was not the case with this one.
he was craving some bean dip, but wanted to make it on the cheap. he took one can of bush’s chili beans in hot sauce (about $1.50), drained them, and tossed them into the food processor. it tasted great just like that, but then he added a few spices. he put a little bit of garlic, chili powder, and paprika. it was great without the spice, and great with it.
that’s it. one can of beans, one food processor,
press the button, and you’re done.
grab your tortilla chips and dip away.

what is your favorite cheap and easy dip?

frugal friday – an ode to aldi

oh aldi, how i love thee…
you force me to remember my reusable shopping bags.
you fill your aisles with cheap olive oil,
affordable frozen items,
off brand chips that seem glamorous and european,
and even organic produce that fits into our budget.

this week we found fresh organic strawberries for 99 cents a pound!!!! i am in love. the downfall of this little german wonder is that you can’t find them everywhere, you have to bring your own bags (which i appreciate), and you have to pay for a cart (you get your money back when you return the cart). also, you can only use cash or debit, no credit. yay!! dave ramsey would approve. they don’t take manufacturer coupons, because they sell all of their own brands. we shop there first, because you won’t find everything you need there. but, you will find some great deals on some of the items on your list.

currently, jed does most of our grocery shopping. he says i always come back with some expensive fancy cheese or an unnecessary baked good. so not true, but who am i to get upset when the man wants to go to the grocery store? he’s on summer vacation, right? might as well make himself useful. we make a list, look through the grocery ads, collect the coupons, and then hit the stores.

i was in no way compensated or coerced to write this post. it was written purely out of love for aldi, and gratitude for the amazing 99 cent organic strawberries.

what is your grocery shopping strategy? do you visit a bunch of stores, or stick to one? clip coupons or search the ads? share your wisdom.

Are you hot? Make Gazpacho.

i don’t know what the weather is like where you live, but here in dallas, it is HOT. i’m talking record highs. weather like this calls for a special summer recipe that is super easy. i studied abroad in spain during college, and fell in love with gazpacho there. my host family didn’t have air conditioning (like most families in spain), so my host mother would fix gazpacho as a solution to cool us off. it is basically a chilled tomato and cucumber soup, and i hope you will love it as much as i do. here’s what you need:

1 cucumber, halved and seeded
2 red bell peppers, cored and seeded
4 plum tomatoes
1 onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
12 ounces tomato juice (3 cups)
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tbsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepperprocess all of the veggies in your food processor.
add all of the other ingredients.
pour it into a bowl, stir, and chill.this recipe serves 8.
it is pretty light, and tastes amazing.
i like to enjoy it with a fresh baguette.
what’s your favorite summer recipe?

*this post was originally posted on aly & ash during a blog swap.

cooking with friends

i am blessed with creative friends who like to cook, and really like to cook together. we recently had our second sunday girls’ cooking night, and i think it is an awesome solution to the dilemma that is dinner. this particular evening we were helping betsy get some food ready to freeze in preparation for the birth of her child. here’s what happens…

we gather at betsy’s house because she has the biggest kitchen with an island range and double oven. everyone brings their own ingredients and 4 aluminum loaf pans, 1 for each person cooking. we spend a few hours preparing our selected dishes together, catching up, and laughing a lot.

it is way more fun to cook with friends.

do you like these aprons? whitney makes them.
once the dishes are ready, everyone divides their dish among 4 loaf pans,
perfect for storing or freezing, then reheating in the oven.
the great thing is that everyone goes home with 4 pans full of deliciousness for the week.
this time we had real mac and cheese, penne pasta with ground turkey and vodka sauce, mini-meatloaf, and zucchini bread. the zucchini bread was gone at my house by the next morning, but we made the rest last for several meals throughout the week.
maybe next time we’ll have a few more folks, and a few more dishes to take home. so, if you are in desperate need of a girls’ night AND a dinner solution, invite your friends over to cook with you.

*i originally posted this as a guest post on tatertots and jello.

welcome to texas. let’s make breakfast burritos.

first things first. grab a cup of coffee. this is my favorite mug, from our honeymoon in charleston.
until i married jed, and we moved to texas, i had never heard of a breakfast burrito. when he offered to make them one morning, i was confused and doubtful. he cooked them for me, and my life was forever changed. seriously. we eat them at least once a week for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. there are a million different ways to make them, but here’s how we do it. put your bacon on first, 2 slices per person. we use lean turkey bacon. we tried the extra lean and it was basically turkey jerky. the lean still has flavor but is better for you than the real stuff. feel free to use the real stuff or even breakfast sausage or chorizo. you can’t go wrong.
the next thing you need are your hashbrowns. we use these fresh, never frozen babies from simply potatoes. they don’t have anything added, and are just less work.
brush olive or canola oil on your pan and then lay out the hashbrowns in a thin layer. we use 3/4 cup per person. cover them and let ’em sit for a bit on medium heat. you will need to flip them once.
grab your eggs next. we use 2 per person (sometimes 3 for boys).
beat those huevos, then add 1/2 cup grated cheese of your choice. we like colby jack. add the egg/cheese mixture to your hashbrowns when they are about done.
breakfast burritos are best on freshly made flour tortillas. it is just science. we are trying to be healthy though, so we are using these tasty wraps.
your bacon should be cooked, so slice it up.
toss the bacon in with everything else, and mix it up.
load it on your wrap or tortilla and you are ready to go.
the only seasoning we use on the burritos is tony chacere’s. it is great on everything, as advertised. you might add salt and pepper to taste.
i like to put a little salsa on mine. jed prefers his without. the choice is yours. sometimes we add refried beans to the mix, and it is never wrong.
enjoy your taste of texas. what is your favorite breakfast food?

The Girl Creative Keeping It Simple

frugal friday – dinner @ home

last august we made our very first budget as a family. to figure out how much to budget we had to look at what we actually spent in a month. whoa. it was disturbing. the biggest shocker was how much we spent dining out. oh. my. goodness.
we are both work full time, and often when we come home we are too tired to cook, and dallas has so many great restaurants. the combination was proving to be destructive to our finances. we decided to set a relatively low dining out budget at $150 per month. you can spend that much on one good meal in dallas pretty easily. when the money is gone, we are done dining out. we have stuck to it since then, and it has been good for us. it is very difficult, as i’m sure you know, but we are trying to cook at home as much as possible. here is a meal we had this week:
we had a big batch of fresh strawberries that we sliced up, for 99 cents a lb at aldi. i looked at bagged lettuce and it cost $6.99 for red lettuce and spinach. i bought a head of each for $2.69 total, and they made double the salad. i added some low fat feta and black pepper. we used balsamic vinaigrette one night and raspberry vinaigrette another night.
we also tried the barilla plus pasta this week, and it was actually good. i’ve had bad experiences with whole wheat pasta in the past, but i’m loving this kind. it has to cook a little longer, but that’s ok. we browned some lean ground turkey and added it into the mix. we tossed it together with organic vodka sauce and fresh parmesan. the whole shebang took way less than 30 minutes, and unlike rachel ray my lettuce does not show up shredded during commercials. i love dinner @ home.

dining out was our budget buster. what is yours? have you conquered it or is it a work in progress?

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The Trendy Treehouse

i heart avocados… so let’s make some guacamole!

first – go enter my giveaway to win some of my designs and a $25 pottery barn giftcard. click here to enter.

almost every thursday we head over to our friends’ house for tacos. typically a big crowd shows up, anywhere from 8 to 20 or so folks come over, and the berres always host. how do they host this dinner each week with out going broke? they ask everyone to bring one item, and do tacos every time to simplify things. the last 2 weeks we have been in charge of the guacamole, so i thought i’d share my method.
i use fresh ingredients, no mixes or pastes. for our group (which can put down some guac) i use 8 large avocados, 2 tomatoes, half an onion, and sometimes one bunch of cilantro.

cut the avocados in half.

de-pit those beauties. watch your fingers. you’ll see why.

scoop out the goodness. get all the way down to the skin.

taking out the pit is the hardest part. this is not my first avocado injury.

mash up those avocados with your trusty potato masher. then add salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder and garlic to taste. squeeze the juice of 2 limes on top and then stir.
this dip is husband approved. he tests it to make sure all the spices are just right.

there you go, delicious guacamole for 10-12 people. make some to share.

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The Trendy Treehouse

the best icing ever – this recipe will change your life

i love cupcakes. the icing to cake ratio is much better with a cupcake than with a regular cake. you need to know that i could care less about the cake part. all i want is the icing. and yes, it is icing, not frosting. i am southern.
last year we discovered the best homemade icing recipe ever. if you like good things in your life, make this now and ice some cupcakes to share with friends. they will feel very loved. unless they are diabetic, like my father-in-law. i just tried to get him to eat one and he thought i was trying to kill him. oops. it was still a great easter.
here is the recipe:
8 oz cream cheese (the real stuff)
4 oz butter (also the real stuff)
3 3/4 cups confectioners sugar – sifted
1/2 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt

cream the butter, cheese, and salt in a stand mixer (you can use a hand mixer) until light and fluffy. gradually add the sugar until incorporated. then add the vanilla. and done. ice those cupcakes or brownies or that cake. in this instance i used strawberry cupcakes, but it is great with chocolate or anything, really. try not to lick your fingers. you won’t be able to stop yourself. enjoy.

now that you’re done, lick that bowl clean. you deserve it. you worked hard. well, your mixer worked hard, but still.