Tastefully Frugal

Tastefully Frugal: June 2014

Monday, June 30, 2014

Cherry Lemon Berry Slush... A Festive 4th of July Treat

Most people when asked what their favorite holiday is say "Christmas" or "Thanksgiving" because it's the time of year that family comes together. I love spending time with my family too but in November and December it is just so dang cold!! My favorite holiday, and it has been ever since I can remember, is the Fourth of July! It has everything I could ever want in a holiday... It's warm, well hot actually, but that's ok! Family and friends come together. I get to fire up the grill! Light off fireworks! Plus the sun is out longer so we get to celebrate even longer. I know, I know every day has the same 24 hours in it but it just seems like in the summer there is so much more you can do outside! Fourth of July, and the 24th here in Utah, have always been my favorite holidays, and probably always will be!

I created these cool summer treats with warm summer days in mind. You can use any flavors you like and you can read more about how I came upon this recipe here. But for now... On to the fireworks!!


1 envelope of Cherry Kool-Aid powder mix
1 envelope of Mixed Berry Kool-Aid powder mix
1 lemon (or about a tablespoon of lemon juice)
1 1/2 cups sugar
6 cups club soda
6 cups ice (about 3 trays or 45 ice cubes)


Crush one tray, about 15 cubes of ice. Set aside.

In blender add Cherry Kool-Aid mix, 1/2 cup sugar and 1 cup club soda. Puree for about 30 seconds until all sugar is dissolved.

Add crushed ice and puree for 10-15 more seconds. *** Don't over mix or you're slush will become more liquid.

Add 1 cup club soda and puree again for 10-15 more seconds.

Pour into six glasses and put in freezer for about 1 hour or until mostly frozen.

Crush one tray, about 15 cubes of ice. Set aside.

In blender mix juice from one lemon, 1/2 cup sugar and 1 cup club soda. Puree for about 30 seconds or until all sugar is dissolved.

Add crushed ice and puree for 10-15 more seconds. *** Don't over mix or you're slush will become more liquid.

Add 1 cup club soda and puree again for 10-15 more seconds.

Pour on top of Cherry slush and re-freeze ***The lemon part will be more runny so you will want to freeze for closer to 2 hours.

Crush one tray, about 15 cubes of ice. Set aside.

In blender add Mixed Berry Kool-Aid mix, 1/2 cup sugar and 1 cup club soda. Puree for about 30 seconds until all sugar is dissolved.

Add crushed ice and puree for 10-15 more seconds. *** Don't over mix or you're slush will become more liquid.

Add 1 cup club soda and puree again for 10-15 more seconds.

Pour on top of lemon slush.

Freeze for 1 more hour.

Serve with a straw and/or star shaped fruit.

Note: You will want to let them thaw for 5 minutes or so before trying to insert straws.

This recipe makes six 2.5 cup servings. You can make more smaller servings or half the recipe if you are only making these treats for a few close family and friends.

I hope you all have a Happy & Safe 4th of July!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Copy Cat Sonic Slush

Nothing says summer to me like a cool, refreshing Sonic slush. I'm not afraid to admit I have a serious addiction to them! I could drink 3 or more a day... but I settle for my 3-4 times a week trips. When I was pregnant with little Statham the Sonic slush was my #1 craving! My poor, sweet husband could be found at our local Sonic many a night at 10 or 11 o'clock. Seriously, they knew our car and order right when we pulled up! It was great!! 

This year Sonic added a flavor add-in I was a little skeptical about... Nerds candy. We got the Blue Raspberry with Nerds for Rohrl, our 2 year old, not thinking we would like it and my favorite the LemonBerry....let's just say I'm lucky Rohrl is such a good little sharer. We (Jeremy and I) LOVED the Blue Raspberry with Nerds!! The Nerds give it a little extra sour kick and it is amazing!!

I was so excited when I saw this recipe on Facebook from 30 Handmade Days I could not wait to try it out! And you know what... It was a success!!! These aren't as thick and icy as the Sonic slushes but the flavor mix of the Nerds and the Kool-Aid Blue Raspeberry Lemonade definitely nailed it! Plus at less about $.10 a cup to make it is a whole lot more affordable!! And when Rohrl wants a "blue drunky" as he calls slushes I can easily divert a tantrum and just whip one up!

You can use any flavor Kool-Aid packet you like. So far the Blue Raspberry Lemonade has been our favorite. 


1 packet Kool-Aid powder
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups soda water
2 1/2 cups crushed ice (I use one tray of ice or about 15 ice cubes) **Next time we are by Sonic I am going to buy a bag of their ice and see if it makes these homemade slushes more Sonic-like
Optional: About 3 teaspoons Nerds candy (Or 1 teaspoon per cup of slush)


In blender crush ice and set aside.

On puree setting mix together Kool-Aid, sugar and 1 cup soda water for about 30 seconds (or until all sugar is dissolved).

Add in crushed ice and puree for about 15 more seconds. Don't puree too long or it will become more of a juice than a slush.

Add second cup of soda water and puree again for about 15-20 more seconds.

Pour into cups and put in freezer for 30 minutes-1 hour. *** You can skip this step for younger kids or if you are really, REALLY craving a slush. Putting it in the freezer just solidifies it a bit more. The longer it's in the more Sonic-like it becomes.

Take out of freezer and pour nerds on top. 

Add straw and enjoy!

This makes about 3 one and a half cup servings. You can make more with smaller servings if you'd like.

Bonus- When I was doing research on how to make these slushes even better I found out that Sonic uses 5 pounds of sugar per 1 gallon of water when they make slushes. FIVE POUNDS!!! So even though there is sugar in these, They are still a teensy-wheensy bit healthier than the real deal.

What's your favorite Sonic slush flavor? My next attempt... LemonBerry :)

Friday, June 27, 2014

Meal Planning 101

This post has been a long time coming! I have been meaning to post my meal plans twice a month when I make them. By the time I find the recipes, make the lists, go shopping and put everything away I completely space it. I then remember I was going to post it two weeks later when I make the next list and the whole cycle starts again...AAAAHHHH! Not this time! I made this meal plan about a week ago and as I was deciding what on the list I was going to cook last night I remembered I was going to post the meal plan. So I put this at the top of my to do list for the day! Yes, it is 3pm and the day is mostly gone..but it's still on the top of my list. You can see now why I don't accomplish much these days. That's why my to do lists and meal plans are so important to me. 

I thought while I was sharing this week's plans I would also include some tips if you are new at meal planning or feel you could use a little help in that area. By no means am I an expert in this field. These are just things I have learned over the last 2 years planning meals.

*Decide how often you want to do meal planning and coordinate that with how often you want to go grocery shopping. At first I was planning meals on a weekly basis and going to the store at least once a week. That worked great until little Statham was born and then taking a 14mo and a newborn shopping weekly turned into more work than fun. That's when I switched to doing 2 plans a month. Not only does it cut down on my number of trips to the store it also helps me save quite a bit of money too. I went from spending $50-$60/week on groceries to now spending $60-$70/major trip, which I do twice a month. Now of course I can't buy everything for the 2 weeks in that trip. Fruits and veggies get eaten or get bad or bread gets moldy. So when I am making my grocery list I actually make 2 different lists. One for my major trip and one for a secondary trip I make in between.

*Have the current ad for the stores you shop at the most handy while meal planning. I do our major trips at Smith's every time and I always have their ad next to me when I'm planning meals. Why you may ask? Because I can plan my meals around what is currently on sale. For example if chicken is $1.79/lb I will plan more meals that have chicken as the main ingredient vs. ground beef or steak that is $3.99/lb +. I can also see what other side items are on sale and stock up on items if they are a good price.

* Going along with the previous tip is knowing what is a good price. This is something that comes with time. You won't know you're first time going into a store whether the sale price is really a good price it takes going back time and time again to know whether a price is good or not. There are also websites that can help with this too and give you links with coupons and alerts when different products are on sale. A few of my favorites:

Totally Target
The Krazy Coupon Lady
Cuckoo for Coupon Deals
Raining Hot Coupons

*Keeping with planning tips... Plan out your week, or two weeks. If you know that you are going to a family dinner or have plans to eat out figure that in to the meal plan so you don't buy food you're not going to eat.

*Talk to your family and see what kind of foods they like. When I first started I was making recipes that sounded interesting to me and was always wondering why sometimes we had so much leftovers from a meal I LOVED... If your family isn't going to eat it, no use in wasting your time and money making it right?! Make notes of meals everyone, or even a particular family member, likes and keeps those in the rotation on a regular basis. Same thing goes for snack foods. If your kids don't like munching on carrots and prefer bananas... Don't buy carrots, buy bananas!

*Plan meals with similar ingredients to help cut down on costs. One of my first successful meals was Garlic and Brown Sugar Chicken with rice and brown sugar carrots. The chicken and carrots had almost the exact same ingredients so it made it less expensive to buy; but more importantly they tasted good together. If you are cooking a spicy main dish don't make your side dish sweet... it just doesn't flow well.

*Go meatless at least once a week. Not only does this save money but it also gives you a chance to try new things you may have not tried before. I started doing this about 6 months ago and I love it. We usually have 3-4 meals per plan that are meatless now. And it doesn't have to be anything too extravagant... it could be as simple as Spaghetti with tomato sauce and garlic bread.

*Try to plan at least one grain, and one vegetable per dinner meal. Sometimes I'll swap the grain out for potato if we are having fries or baked potatoes. But it's always good to have at least 2 sides so there is some variety and just in case you have picky eaters and they don't like one thing.

*Plan 3 meals a day and 2 snacks a day. This sounds like a lot of work! But it really isn't. For us we usually have the same thing for breakfast during the week (eggs and toast) and get a little fancier on the weekends (French toast, pancakes). Lunches are similar... there are 3 or 4 options and we rotate those (Turkey wraps, grilled cheese, PB&J, leftovers). You guessed it.... same thing with snacks. I plan 3-4 different snacks and that's what we have to munch on through out the day. The only meal that has diversity in our home is dinner. It does take extra time to plan 3 meals, 2 snacks/day but, for me at least, it makes for a much happier family and is one less thing I have to worry about. I know there is always going to be something to munch on anytime someone is hungry.

*Learn what your family likes/eats lots of and stock up when it's on sale or buy it at the warehouse clubs. We make 2 trips to Costco a month and buy the same things every time (We buy the certain things on the 1st trip and certain things on the 2nd trip). The only thing we buy more than once a month there are eggs. Our usual monthly Costco trips consist of:
Eggs (2x)
Shredded Cheese
Apple Juice
Fruit Snacks

Sometimes there will be sugar or flour if we run out but I always like to keep the above list on hand (especially diapers ;) )

Wow that turned into more of a meal plan/budgeting tips section. Let me know if you would like me to do a post on how I stick to a $300/month grocery budget post and I can put together more tips. 

Now on to the last few weeks meal plan!

Eggs and Toast (x10)
Strawberry French Toast Cannolis
French Toast (x2)

Turkey Wraps
Grilled Cheese 

Fruit Snacks
Corn Dogs
Homemade Pretzels
Chocolate Chip Cookies
Fruit (Strawberries, peaches and grapes because they were on sale)


Mayo Chicken with Rice and Green Beans
BBQ Sloppy Joes with Mac n' Cheese and Green Beans
Ranch Burgers with Fries and Corn on the Cob
Teriyaki Chicken Sandwiches with Fries and Grilled Zucchini
Cheeseburger Casserole with Zucchini
Baked Sweet & Sour Chicken with Rice and Green Beans
Baked Three Cheese Pasta with Zucchini
BBQ Chicken Pizza
Porcupine Nachos
Grilled Cheeseburger Wraps with Fries and Green Beans
Spaghetti with Garlic Bread and Zucchini
Eggplant Parmesan with Angel Hair Pasta

We have 2 family dinners planned so I only made 12 dinners for this plan. As I build my recipes on here I will leave links to recipes as well.

This is just the first of many more meal plan posts... I hope you enjoy it :) And happy planning!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Cheesy Garlic Pull Apart Loaf

When I was in high school I worked at Chuck E. Cheese... and it was the BEST job ever! I loved it!! I've always loved kids though so I'm sure that was the main reason I enjoyed it so much. But I also made some life-long friends working there too. I have such fond memories of hanging out with friends, eating incorrectly ordered pizza and cheese bread... definitely my favorite high school memories! I loved when we took Rohrl there for the first time when he was almost 2 and watching his eyes light up with all the rides and the characters on stage. He did get a little freaked out when Chuck E. got close to him. One thing made me sad though...the food was not as good as I had remembered it being. Granted when you're 15 all pizza tastes the same, but I was really hoping to love the pizza and cheesy bread like I did 10 years ago. The cheese bread was my absolute favorite thing to eat in high school! I could eat a whole order by myself! I was lucky working kept me on my feet or I would've been the size of an elephant!! When I tried this cheese bread I found from Lauren's Latest I was hoping it would taste good but I was blown away when it tasted JUST like my beloved Chuck E. Cheese cheese bread! I probably could've ate the whole loaf by myself again... well maybe not; but the hubby and kids loved it too! It is so easy to make and definitely something I will be making again and again.


1 cup warm water
1 packet active dry yeast 
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups flour
1/2 cup garlic butter (I mixed 2 teaspoons minced garlic and 1 teaspoon garlic powder with 1/2 stick of melted butter)
1 cup cheese (the original recipe calls for sharp cheddar slices but I used shredded three cheese blend and it tasted great!)


In a large bowl combine water, honey and yeast and let sit for 5 minutes.

Add salt and then flour 1 cup at a time. Once all 3 cups are added knead dough for 5 minutes. When done dough should be smooth and not stick to your hands.

Grease the bowl and dough and cover with a damp towel. Let rise for 1 hour.

Punch dough a few times and then cut into two equal pieces.

Grease a cookie sheet and make two long loaves. I twisted mine and it helped it hold shape. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350°

Remove plastic wrap and bake for 20 minutes.

Brush the garlic butter on loaves and cook for 5-7 more minutes or until bread turns golden brown.

Let cool then cut 1 in slats about 3/4 of the way through the loaves and brush garlic butter in between. Then stuff slats with cheese. Cook for another 3-5 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Mine aren't the prettiest but they sure do taste amazing!! Great to make for parties, snacks or to go with spaghetti!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

#TaiPeiYourWay: Quick, Easy and Delicious Meals from the freezer!

First and foremost I would like to give a HUGE thank you to Chatterbox and House Party for picking our family to be chatters for the Tai Pei Made to Order Chatterbox. I have been a member of House Party for a little less than a year now and have had the opportunity to host 2 parties and do one Chatterbox and I absolutely love it! The size of samples and products you get are great and it has given me a chance to try things I wouldn't have tried prior. It's totally free to join and definitely worth trying: https://www.houseparty.com/ 

Now on to my review of the Tai Pei Made to Order Freezer Meals!

I'm not going to lie I was a little skeptical going in to this ChatterBox. I love cooking and making meals from scratch and only a few times a YEAR do we buy freezer meals. I've normally found they aren't that good, or they take just as long to make as if I cooked from scratch. When we went to Wal-Mart to pick out our dinners I was surprised at how many options there were! My guys are big chicken fans so we chose Grilled White Meat Chicken and Tempura Battered Chicken Breast. My hubby likes those little carrots so Cantonese Style Veggies were his first pick and the boys and I love green beans so we chose the Thai Style Veggies. We are all big rice eaters in our house so we chose the White Rice and Brown Rice. Lastly we chose the Honey Teriyaki Sauce and the Korean BBQ Sauce. 

We went to Wal-Mart sometime during the week, a Tuesday or Wednesday I think, and I wasn't exactly sure when I was going to try these. Then Friday rolled around; both boys didn't nap and I was exhausted from a week of packing, moving and trying to setup our new house. So it was decided we would try our first meal from Tai-Pei. My little guys loved being able to pick what boxes we ate and they did a really good job paring things together. The first night we had Honey Teriyaki Grilled Chicken with Cantonese Style Veggies and White Rice and it was definitely our favorite! Everyone (including my 2 year old and 11mo) got seconds! I was thrilled how easy it was to make and even more happy about how good it tasted! Seriously tastes like something from a restaurant. The chicken was moist, the vegetables crispy and the rice was cooked just right. And a bonus clean-up was easy-peasy. From freezer to cleaned-up kitchen, dishes done was 35 minutes maybe forty. I loved it!

Sundays are usually my lazy days when it comes to cooking, well really every aspect of my day. So we tried our second Made to Order meal and were equally impressed. This time we did the Korean BBQ Tempura Chicken with Thai Style Veggies and Brown Rice. This one took a little longer to make. And by little I mean like 5 minutes. But was just as good. My husband and two year old liked this one better than the first because it had more kick to it. For me and the baby it was a bit too spicy (Baby didn't even get to try the sauce, just veggies and rice). Still good but I had to drink an entire bottle of water to help with the burn. I would cook it again though because my guys loved it so much. And I'm a total wuss when it comes to spice....Mild salsa is too spicy for me!

All in all I absolutely LOVED these meals. They are so easy to make and clean up after and they have such great taste! And the portion sizes were great! Enough for all 4 of us to have large first servings and seconds too if we wanted! The sodium content is a little higher than I would like, but I'm sure it is much less than if you were to go out to eat one of these dishes at an actual restaurant. If you're looking for a quick and easy crowd-pleasing dinner look no further!

P.S. Sorry for the crummy pictures. During the move we boxed up our camera stuff and I misplaced the battery charger. Camera phone pictures had to do.