Sunday, June 20, 2021

Summer Supper Salad

In summer, when the temps are high summer salad ideas are where it is at. Often a big salad full of crunch and some protein are all you need to not heat up the kitchen and make a delicious summer supper salad.


In summer we often have big crunchy salads for dinner. I served it along with cheesey bread. Simply sour dough with melted shredded sharp cheddar toasted in the broiler. Tomatoes and cucumbers were from the garden. Yum! This recipe came from a friend and I knew I had to add it to our summer dinner recipes.

In summer we often have big crunchy salads for dinner. I served it along with cheesey bread. Simply sour dough with melted shredded sharp cheddar toasted in the broiler. Tomatoes and cucumbers were from the garden. Yum!

Summer Supper Salad
Chopped lettuce
Cooked diced chicken breasts
Whole wheat noodles boiled al dente
Toasted pine nuts
Cucumbers
Feta cheese crumbled (or a cheese you like)
Diced tomatoes
Crumbled turkey bacon
Dressing of your choice
Toss together and enjoy!

Another favorite summer supper salad is a chef's salad of whatever I have in the pantry and fridge to add a lot of flavor and yumminess.

And my recipe page is back up on the blog. Lot's more dinner ideas there and recipes for breakfast lunch and dinner and more.

Monday, June 7, 2021

Cute RV Storage Organizers

 I am all about the cute RV storage containers and organizers. Space is limited in our trailer so RV organization is a must or I frankly will not enjoy camping as much. You want to find everything quickly and know where your stuff is so good travel trailer hacks for cheap are my go to to keep camping fun.

RV storage hacks, camper organization


RV organization

trailer storage hacks



Our new travel trailer which I did a post about, has I would say average RV storage space, but the flat surfaces would always collect items like phones, leashes, dog walking items, sunglasses, so I went searching for something I could put by the door that was lightweight, cheap and something I could honestly secure and stick to the little side table top so I didn't have to keep moving it for travel.

I found the cutest soft sided storage organizer baskets with dividers online. You can find them here. Of course I wanted some thing cute and they have so many patterns and colors and I went for a red plaid sort of cabin decor theme.

rustic storage ideas


Next, I used a great RV hack and got large pre cut strips of velcro to adhere the basket to the table so it can live there without moving while the RV is in route but if needed we could just release it by pulling the top part off of the velcro fastener. These velcro strips are cheap on Amazon and really work.

velcro adhesives for RV organization

I loved this basket so much that I bought one for my RV bathroom as well. I cut the handles off of the living area basket and probably will with the bathroom one. I love that they are lightweight and don't add much of any weight to the trailer.

Check out my post on RV organizing in our older trailer.

Monday, May 24, 2021

Tour Of Our New Trailer 2020 Grey Wolf 23MK

 Actually our trailer is almost a year old but I am giving you a first tour of it and boy do we love this trailer. It is a Forest River Grey Wolf 23mk and my mini review of how we love the layout of this trailer and how a couples trailer works great for family of three.

camper pillow, trailer tour
You can get the pillow here...

We had sold our old trailer and being life long campers plus the lock downs, we knew it was time to hit the road last year so we would travel and do it safely enjoying outdoor spots in the mountains and at the beach. We camped six times last year from May to October and it was so fun. A great way to do something fun and stay distanced.

We have it dialed in and this is a great couples camper because of a nice back bedroom but we take our daughter and we have a cozy spot all set up for her in the front of the trailer.


trailer bedding

We decided it was time to go for parental comfort so we chose a large bathroom and a bedroom with a walk around queen sized bed.

We have on kiddo left at home and she sleeps on the table slide out we just keep as her cozy nook with curtains that slide shut at night. We like to eat and cook outside so the table never really gets used much so for ease we just leave it converted to her bed.

trailer tour, trailer decor


The kitchen is wonderful and more counter space that I have ever had in any of out trailers. I have space for my mini K cup brewer and a nice farmhouse sized sink. 

trailer kitchen organization

Mini K Cup Coffee Maker




Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Most Frugal Soup - Garbage Soup Recipe

The Most Frugal Soup Recipe Ever!

Garbage soup is probably one of the most frugal soup recipes you can make. Garbage soup is basically a recipe made from all of our food scraps that would get thrown away.

Do you just hate throwing away food? So Do I. My solution to this is to save up soup type ingredients to make a pot of soup. In our freezer is a big tub that I put all the leftover vegetables and meat that I would have to toss from not being eaten. I am always looking for what to make with leftover cooked vegetables.
vegetable soup recipe, frugal recipes, cheap crockpot soup recipe


What Leftovers Can You Save For Your Soup:

  1. Always error on the side of caution. I save meat only a few days and it has to be frozen and freezing vegetables for future soup is easy and can be saved after a little longer from the refrigerator. 
  2. Think about what you save and if you would like it and the flavor of it in your soup. I once saved baked beans and tried that and yuck! Let me just say they can't just go in a veggie soup.
  3. If you have some carrots or onions that are not cooked but getting ready to be tossed go ahead and chop and add to your freezer future soup container. Same goes for celery.
  4. Rice is great to add to soup but I try if I can to add that at the last minute so it does not get too mushy. If it is already mixed in the soup bucket, no worries just add it.
  5. Potatoes are tricky. Leftover potatoes can become mushy so I don't usually save them for soup. I might scramble up with some eggs and use them up like that. Now if you have leftover mashed potatoes I have the best potato cheese soup recipe to make from leftover mashed potatoes so check that out here...frugal potato soup
  6. If the meat I have saved is mostly chicken, I use a chicken broth, if it is mostly beef then beef broth and vegetable broth is great with both.

Preparing The Soup:

  1. Crock pot or stove top is fine. I usually add broth to the pan first and add my ingredients, adding more broth if needed. This is really a cheap crockpot soup recipe.
  2. Thawing the ingredients isn't necessary but I try to take the container out that morning as I save cook time (saves money) and I can separate out any ingredients I need to.
  3. Add a can of diced tomatoes if you like a tomato base for your soups.
  4. If you want to really jazz up the soup then you can add some shredded cheese on top or a small bag of frozen meatballs.
  5. You can of course add some boiled noodles as a filler if your soup is too brothy.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Cuban Sandwiches


Quick, what to make for dinner that is quick and easy but filling and yummy. Enter the Cuban sandwiches. Grilled cheese and ham and a few extra tangy ingredients deliver the yummiest grilled sandwich ever!

grilled sandwich, panini recipes, Cuban sandwiches


The real recipe does not call for tomatoes but my husband and I wanted them on there and boy what a taste. So good!!

grilled ham sandwich, Cuban sandwiches

How To Make Cuban Sandwiches

Sliced sour dough bread or any other sturdy bread
sliced ham
cheddar cheese
mustard
sliced pickles
butter


  1. Butter the bread first on the outside and assemble the sandwiches while your pan is heating up.
  2. Add mustard to the inside of your bread slices.
  3. Layer, cheese, ham and pickle slices. (We added fresh garden tomatoes too).
  4. Grill on both sides until cheese is melted.

DIY Panini Press

 You could just make these grilled Cuban sandwiches but if you want them pressed and don't have a panini maker like me, then you can use two pans. You are supposed to fill a tea kettle to set on the top pan for pressing but I don't have one right now so I filled a pan with some water which was a little wonky but worked. Just toast on one side and then flip for a couple more minutes.
Sometimes I use my iron skillet and just press real firmly with the backside of a spatula to act as my own panini press.
Some cool creamy potato salad would be the perfect side to this hot tangy sandwich. You can find the recipe to my mom's famous potato salad on our recipe page.



Friday, August 30, 2019

How To Make A Smoked Peach Pie In Your Treager

With all the fresh peaches available in summer you have to take baking outside and bake a smoked peach pie on your Traeger or smoker. Hands down we all agreed this was the best pie I had ever made.
So if you are like me the oven doesn't get much use in the summer. I just can't heat up the whole kitchen to bake something. But, I had all these wonderful peaches off our tree and wanted to make a pie so we baked it on our Traeger/pellet smoker grill out on the patio. 

Boy, it came out perfectly and the flavor was oh so good. The crust was perfect and flaky but had the most delicious slightly smokey flavor. Oh my that contrast with the sweet tangy peach pie filling made for the best pie recipe ever!

grilled peach pie, BBQ pie

Baking A Pie On Your Traeger/Smoker Grill

First, either prepare your favorite crust from scratch or like me, buy premade crusts and make life easier.

Second, go ahead and use your favorite peach pie filling recipe. I switch around to my faves online.

peach pie recipe, grilled desserts


Third, assemble the pie and add a few dollops of butter on your peach filling.

Lastly, brush the top of your pie crust with an egg wash. An egg wash makes the pie come out so beautiful and shiny.

peach pie filling

Time To Bake Your Pie On Your Traeger

Preheat your Traeger to 400 degrees for 15 minutes and place the pie in a metal pie pan right onto the grill. Close the lid and bake for 50 minutes. The Traeger website says 50 - 60 minutes baking time but we pull our pies off at about 50 minutes and they are perfectly done so bake to your liking.

pie on the smoker, barbecue dessert recipe



Wednesday, July 31, 2019

How To Grow Japanese Maples In Hot Climate

In our garden we have four different types of Japanese Maples.  So how do you care for a Japanese maple? And how about caring for them in hot sunny southern California? Well, I will show you our trees and tell you how I care for them.

Japanese maples, garden trees, emperor maple

Red Emperor Japanese Maple

We have two large and two smaller Japanese maples. This large red Emperor Maple is four years old. It gets direct afternoon sun in the summer so caring for it is important. Japanese maples are an investment and can be very expensive. This tree cost us $250 four years ago and now they are double that price at the same nursery so you want to take very good care of your Japanese maples.

red emperor maple

Bloodgood Japanese Maple

This tree is by far the most sensitive to the summer heat so we planted this one in a mostly shaded location. It receives dappled morning sun only. With a low growth pattern we lightly top it in fall and trim the sides to keep the pathway clear.

bloodgood japanese maple

Japanese Maple Green Leaf

Japanese maple green leaf

Taking Care Of Your Japanese Maple Tree In Hot Weather

1. At the time of planting if you can choose a spot that has afternoon shade but morning sun, that is ideal. However, I have my emperor maple in mostly afternoon sun and it can get scorched a little in triple digit temps but now that it is older, it is doing well tolerating it. If you have a very young maple you can shade a little with an umbrella or something, it would help in a heat wave.

2. Japanese maple are shallow rooted so mulch well. Some I have planted in the grass which works well to protect the roots and keep the moisture in. Once a year I clean below the trees and lay a nice thick layer of mulch or wood chips over the ground.

3. Keep soil moist but do not over water. The do not like soggy standing water. Our Japanese maple get water from our automatic sprinklers but in the summer I lay the hose around the base in different areas about twice a week for a longer soak. Do this especially if some really hot days are ahead.

4. Fertilize every spring with Fox Farm fertilizer  especially for Japanese Maples. This bag lasts me about 2 years but makes such a difference in the growth and leafing of our trees.

naturtiums, hot weather gardening


Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Calzone Dough Recipe

A family favorite dinner is Calzones! My kids and husband loves my easy calzone dough recipe and requests it often. You can stuff these yummy dough pockets with everything from pizza toppings to shredded roast beef, vegetable or even just cheese.

calzones, fillings for calzone

The only thing you have to remember is to give yourself a couple hours ahead of time to mix the dough and then let it rise before rolling out. Plus, making your own homemade pizza is not full of preservatives or additives. You can actually read all the ingredients.

Calzone Dough Recipe:

Two hours before baking, mix dough and set aside in a warm place to rise. If you kitchen is really cold you can let it rise covered, in the oven turned OFF.
  • 2 tbl. yeast
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 2 tbl. olive oil (you can use canola or veg. oil too)
  • 2 tsp salt (I use 1 1/2 to cut the sodium a bit)
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 5 cups flour

Dissolve the yeast in the warm water in you mixing bowl. I use my Kitchen Aid mixer with the dough hook. Let this sit for five minutes then add everything else but the flour and stir well. Now add the flour one cup at a time mixing in well. I let my dough hook knead the dough for a couple minutes then I place the ball of dough in a well greased large bowl and flip once so the top of the dough is oiled as well. Cover with plastic wrap and set to rise. This makes two very large calzones or four smaller ones. This dough is great for making pizza crust as well as you can see below.

easy pizza dough recipe

Please feel free to visit our recipe page with over a 100 family friendly recipes. I am a pretty frugal cook so if you are looking for frugal meals that are mostly made from scratch this is a great list to get some ideas from cakes, salads, appetizers and main dishes and more.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

My Favorite Kitchen Tool, A Meat Masher - A Kitchen Quick Tip

If I had to say what kitchen tool, not an appliance, but a hand tool I love the most in the kitchen, it would be my ground meat chopper. I actually don't cook that much ground meat but I use this meat masher tool for so many things that need a bit of chopping up.

meat masher, meat chopper, kitchen tips

I cook everyday, often breakfast, lunch and dinner so I love tools that are easy to grab and have multiple purposes. I keep my masher right next to the stove in the tool caddy.

Multiple uses for a meat chopper:

  1. Besides ground meat, I use my chopper to shred any meat I am cooking up in the crock pot for say tacos or meat sandwiches. It perfect chops up shredded chicken or beef.
  2. I use it to mash potatoes up before I am ready to whip them up for mashed potatoes.
  3. It easily crushes bread crumbs or corn flakes for toppings or mix ins.
  4. When I make banana bread it mashes the bananas super quick.
  5. If I need to tenderized some meat, this works perfectly.
  6. For egg salad sandwiches, this chops the eggs up in no time.
  7. I have even used this masher to break up dried egg shells to spread in the garden.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Our Favorite Ground Beef, Ground Turkey and Chicken Recipes

Ground meats are a frugal way to cook and stretch the ever increasing grocery prices. Save money and follow some of these yummy family friendly ground beef, turkey and chicken recipes. Our Favorite Ground Beef, Ground Turkey and Chicken Recipes will save you money but more importantly your family will be happy when you serve up these scrumptious family friendly recipes.

Ground Meat Recipes:

3. Freezer Breakfast Burritos
4. Easy Notsagna
5. Greek Chicken Burgers
6. Homemade Meatballs
7. Cheeseburger Quesadillas
8. Taco Salad
9. Mexican Meatball Soup

And here is a great tip on lowering the fat content in your ground beef and pork: Tip to lower fat in ground beef.
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