Category: Frugal living

Zucchini “Crab” Cakes with a freezer option! 

Zucchini “Crab” Cakes with a freezer option! 

It’s that time of year again! I am busy in the kitchen putting produce from our garden in the freezer or canning to store in the basement. Saturday, the Bearded Man helped me can 55 half pints of pizza sauce. I also woke up to this outlandish amount of zucchini.

Over the past couple weeks, we’ve had zucchini banana bread, cheesy zucchini garlic bread, zucchini pasta, zucchini chicken stir fry….it goes on and on..:but this recipe for “crab” cakes is by far our favorite! We have about 80 of them in the freezer so far, with plans to make more! It’s so nice to pull out a bag on busy nights for a fast and CHEAP dinner! They are filling enough to serve as the main dish, which allows us to go meatless more often. 
Zucchini “Crab” Cakes

-1 egg beaten 

-2 tablespoons melted butter 

-1 tablespoon Old Bay seasoning 

-2 tablespoons dried minced onion*

-1 cup Italian style bread crumbs 

-2 1/2 cups shredded zucchini 

In a large bowl, mix all ingredients together until combined. Use a heavy duty spoon or your hands. Mixture will look like this:

Shape mixture into patties. You can either fry immediately or place onto parchment lined baking sheets and freeze**

To fry; Heat oil in a large skillet and fry over medium heat until both sides are browned. Drain on a plate lined with paper towels. 

Alternately, you can bake in a 400 degree oven for 12-15 minutes on each side. 

We had ours with corn and crockpot Cowboy Beans, yum!

*You can also use freshly chopped onions. My family doesn’t like the taste of fresh onions in their food, so I stick with the dried stuff. 😊

**Freeze on parchment paper in a jelly roll pan until they are frozen solid. Then transfer to a freezer bag. You don’t need to thaw before frying, just be very careful when placing in the oil! 

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DIY Sidewalk Chalk Paint

DIY Sidewalk Chalk Paint

One of the fun things about being a Homeschool family, is that we are always looking for new ways to learn and review what we’ve learned. The boys are still none the wiser, but Keira has caught on. We’ll be mid activity, and she’ll say, “We’re learning, aren’t we?”
Bahaha. I came across this awesome activity on Instagram, and we decided to try it right away. One of my favorite things about our home, is our large back patio. It’s the perfect spot for sidewalk chalk, so I knew sidewalk chalk paint would be awesome too! 

You will need: 

-1 cup cornstarch 

-1 cup water 

-food coloring 

-muffin tin 

-paint brushes 

Whisk the cornstarch and water in a glass bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds, and whisk again until smooth. 

Ladle mixture into a muffin tin. We were able to fill up 9 holes. 

Add food coloring to each hole. 

We had fun with this, and it was great review for mixing colors. 

Aren’t those colors beautiful? 

Paint on a sidewalk, driveway or patio. 

The kids loved this, and I may have even painted a little 😁

That face 💜

We had some old medicine droppers, and the kids had fun making the paint “rain” on the patio. 

The paint came off easily by spraying the patio down with a hose! 

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How to make Homemade Funnel Cakes 

There are certain things that I associate with summer, that have just become a right of passage during these short 3 months. Swimming, watching Dirty Dancing, camping, making S’mores and funnel cakes! 
When the Bearded Man and I were dating, we used to split funnel cakes at the Fair. Back then, I was still putting on airs, and acting like I couldn’t eat half a pizza at once. So yea, we’d split food, and I’d act all full, and then go home and raid the fridge. Now that he’s stuck with me for life, I’m not sharing my funnel cake with anybody. 

Since we have a large-ish family now, I’d have a conniption if we had to pay 5 dollars a pop for funnel cakes. It’s just not happening. Thankfully they are very fast and easy to make at home! This was the perfect end to a fun weekend! 

Homemade Funnel Cakes 

-2 eggs

-1 1/2 cups milk

-3 Tablespoons sugar 

-2 cups all-purpose flour 

-1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder 

-1/2 teaspoon salt 

Vegetable oil

Powdered sugar 


Fill a large round frying pan with vegetable oil, making the oil about 2 inches deep. Turn heat to medium, and allow oil to heat to 360 degrees. 

Whisk eggs, milk and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Add flour, baking powder and salt, and whisk until combined. 

Measure 1/2 cup of batter into a funnel, covering the hole of the funnel with your finger. 

Place your funnel over the hot oil and remove your finger. As batter runs into the oil, make a circle with designs in the middle, connecting everything together. I had fun with this part!

Fry about 1-2 minutes, or until golden brown. Using tongs, carefully flip and fry for 1 more minute. 

Drain on a plate lined with paper towels and continue with the rest of the batter. 

Sprinkle powdered sugar and strawberries over the funnel cakes. 


This was one happy little redhead! 

Due to the messiness of the sugar, I don’t recommend eating these while wearing a black sundress. Not that I would know or have experience in that area….

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Recipe credit:

Photos and wording my own. 

Slow Cooker Spicy Ranch Tacos

Slow Cooker Spicy Ranch Tacos

My family loves Tacos! Tacos in the Slow Cooker are even better! Especially during the summer months when we all want to avoid heating the kitchen. This is one of my absolute favorite “go to” meals. I usually always have everything I need for it on hand. It’s cheap and filling, and better yet, delicious! 

Slow Cooker Spicy Ranch Tacos 

-1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts 

-packet ranch seasoning mix 

-packet taco seasoning mix 

-1 can black beans, rinsed and drained 

-1 can corn, drained 

-1 can Rotel, undrained**

-8 ounce block cream cheese. 

Place the chicken at the bottom of the slow cooker. Sprinkle ranch and taco seasonings on the chicken. Pour beans, corn and Rotel on top. Cook on low for 6-7 hours.*

1-2 hours before cook time is finished, place block of cream cheese in the slow cooker with the chicken mixture. 

When ready to serve, shred chicken, and stir mixture to make sure cream cheese is smooth and incorporated. 

Serve on tortilla shells with rice, cheese, and sour cream…or my in case, Taco Bell sauce. I loooove that stuff! 

I always overstuff my tacos 😱

Leftovers make great quesadillas! 

*I’ve made this many times as a freezer meal. Just place the chicken, beans, corn, Rotel, and seasonings in a gallon bag and freeze. You can thaw in the fridge overnight or place in the slow cooker, frozen. If cooking from frozen, add a couple of hours to the cook time. 

**You can also sub salsa for the Rotel. 

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Easy Breakfast Gravy 

Easy Breakfast Gravy 

As you may have noticed, I haven’t been posting many recipes the past couple weeks. Is it because I took a vacation from cooking? Ha! Nope. I challenged myself to eat out of the pantry and freezer for awhile. We’ve been having more “concoctions” than actual recipes 😉 Last night I got a pack of bacon out of the freezer. I can frequently get the irregular sliced bacon on sale for 2 dollars a pound. We have a 2 dollar a pound limit on meat to help stretch our food budget, so seeing bacon on sale just makes my day! 

I put a batch of bacon in the oven, baked some homemade freezer biscuits that Matthew helped with earlier in the day, and made some of this awesome gravy. 

When we first got married, and up until a year ago, I bought packets of breakfast gravy mix. We thought it was good, and I was afraid I’d mess up homemade gravy. When it comes to “eyeballing” ingredients, I’m fine with salads and mashed potatoes(except for the time I accidentally used sugar instead of salt), but I’m no good at winging it with gravy. I came across this recipe on Pinterest last summer. It is so good! You will seriously never want to buy a packet of gravy mix again! 

Easy Breakfast Gravy

-1/4 cup bacon grease 

-1/3 cup flour 

-1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

-1/2 teaspoon salt 

-1 1/2 cups water 

-1 1/2 cups milk 

Heat bacon grease in a large skillet. I use cast iron, because everything seems to taste better out of a cast iron skillet. 

Add the flour and whisk until slightly browned and bubbly. 

Add the salt and black pepper and continue to whisk. 

Measure out milk and water together in a large measuring cup. Slowly pour into the flour mixture and continue whisking to avoid clumps. 

Allow mixture to come to a boil, and boil on medium heat for 5 minutes, whisking frequently. Gravy will thicken. 

Taste and adjust seasonings. If you allow the gravy to cool for a few minutes, it will thicken even more. For biscuits, I prefer to be able to pour it. 

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Recipe from:

DIY Microwave Popcorn

We have a local discount grocery store that sells all types of popcorn kernels. When I first started buying popcorn this way, I tried making it on the stove. Um, I’m not sure what I was doing wrong, but popcorn would end up everywhere! I knew there had to be an easier way to skip the bagged microwave popcorn. After some trial and error, this is our favorite way to make popcorn!

You will need:

1/4 cup popcorn kernels

2 tablespoon coconut oil 

Large glass bowl 

Microwave cover 

Add the popcorn kernels and coconut oil to your glass bowl. Place microwave cover in top of the bowl. 

Microwave for about 6-7 minutes, or until you only hear popping every few seconds. 

Carefully remove(bowl will be very hot!) and use desired toppings. We use popcorn salt and sometimes a little bit of melted butter! 

A bag of popcorn kernels lasts a long time, making this a very frugal snack! 

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How to make Slow Cooker Ricotta Cheese

Tortellini Lasagna was on the meal plan for tonight, so of course I knew I’d need some Ricotta Cheese! Man, I love that stuff! The lasagna is in my slow cooker at this very moment, and it’s making the whole house smell heavenly. This is one of those recipes that’s ridiculously easy, and after I start making it, I feel silly for not doing it all along. 

This method is similar to Crock-Pot Yogurt. There is very little hands on time, but a lot of “waiting”, so if you need Ricotta at this very minute, you’re out of luck! 

Slow-Cooker Ricotta Cheese 

1/2 Gallon Milk 

1/4 cup white vinegar 

Add milk and vinegar to your slow cooker and stir. Cover and turn on to the low setting, and allow to heat for 2 hours and 45 minutes, or until milk has reached 180 degrees. 

Turn off the slow cooker and wrap a beach towel or heavy blanket around it to hold the heat in. 

Allow to sit in a warm place for 6 hours. 

After 6 hours it will look like this. This is a terrible picture, because mine was finished at 5:30 this morning. No daylight=bad food pictures.

Strain through a fine mesh strainer and store the cheese portion in the fridge until ready to use! The cheese will firm up as it gets cold. 

Recipe adapted from:

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