Super Smart Way to Store Ground Beef (Genius!)

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My friend Jamie is here today sharing this SUPER smart way to store ground beef! I *love* this idea, and will be doing it in the future since we have a small freezer. Thanks so much for sharing Jamie!

If you buy ground beef or ground turkey in bulk to save money – this is such a clever idea to store it!  The flat little bricks make it easy to thaw and cook whenever you need it –  and help you avoid wasting meat by forgetting it.  (Has that ever happened to you?  I know it has to me!)

1 . Start with any ground meat (turkey, beef, chicken, venison, etc…) a rolling pin and a gallon freezer bag.

(If you don’t have a rolling pin, but maybe have a wine bottle in the house, that would work too.)

Put the ground meat in the bottom of the bag and lie it down flat, leaving the zipper part open.

 

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2 . Using a rolling pin, roll to flatten the meat and spread it out in the bag evenly.

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3 . Using a ruler, or the back of a long knife, press lines to divide the meat into six sections.

Freeze for 30 minutes and pull out.  (It should be mostly frozen already)  Bend at the dividing lines until it is separated more cleanly into bricks.  Now just seal the zipper and place back in the freezer to use whenever you need ~ you’ll be able to pull off just one brick at a time to thaw the next time you need ground beef!

 

I think this is just SO super smart. It takes up so little space in the fridge and really makes it easy to thaw out when you’re ready to cook. LOVE simple tricks like this!

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Dollar Tree Teacher Gifts

Dollar Tree Teacher Gifts

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It’s the end of the school year and you moms with school-aged kiddos know what that means . . . time to come up with simple teacher gift ideas! With three children at three different schools, the number of teachers we give to can really add up, so I love finding Dollar Tree Teacher gift ideas to let them know we do so appreciate them. (I usually add a gift card also for their primary teachers, but my kids love having a small gift to give too!)

 

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We actually made these at my 9 year old’s birthday party as an activity to keep the girls busy (so if you’re looking to do some party crafting, these work great for that too), and saved the mug to give to her teacher. Gotta love getting two projects knocked out at once!

 

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Here’s what we used:

  • Design your own mugs – $1 – Dollar Tree
  • Post it Notes – $1 – Dollar Tree
  • Clip boards (I forgot to get a picture) – $1 – Dollar Tree
  • Plastic photo frames – $1 – Dollar Treepppdollartreeteacher

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  • Scrapbook paper & ribbon (we already had ours from Hobby Lobby but the Dollar Tree carries it too)
  • Mod podge (for clipboard)
  • tape runner (this is my all time favorite tape runner for crafting)
  • Silhouette Cameo for monograms (you could totally make similar projects without a Cameo, but I do love mine! Hobby Lobby carries pre-cut monograms or stickers which would work perfectly too.)

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To make the mugs we just cut paper to fit the inside of the mug, then added some ribbon and a monogram. 

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For the clipboards (this was the hardest project!) we used mod podge to add paper to the clipboard, then added ribbon and a monogram.

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The post it note caddy was the simplest project (and least expensive.)

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Just use scrapbook paper to make a design on the back of your plastic frame, and add the post it notes using some tape runner. (Reagan added these while at  her party ~ they’re not quite straight but it’ll do!)

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So there you have it! Three super simple Dollar Tree DIY projects that are great for teacher gifts or even just to let your kids make over the weekend. These are perfect to give with a gift card, but let your kids bring a gift to their teacher too, all without busting your budget. 🙂

 

Looking for more gift ideas?  Here you go . . .

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My Favorite Goodwill Find

My Favorite Goodwill Find

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I’ve been meaning to share this with you all for months, and finally got around to it this week!  A few months ago my sixteen year old and I were looking for ways to update his bedroom (he inherited my husband’s Ethan Allen headboard & dresser from the 70’s which is actually still in great shape and pretty classic, but we haven’t done much to update his room since moving to Ohio.)

 

So I started watching Pinterest and saw this super cute idea for a bedside table and knew it was right up his alley. I showed it to him and he loved it too ~ so we headed to Goodwill to see what we could find.

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Never in a bajillion years would I have dreamt that on our very first trip to Goodwill we would luck into these. I literally heard him holler across the store “Momma, it’s our lucky day!”

 

(Teaching a 16 year old boy to love Goodwill like me is one of my most proud mommy-ing moments.) 🙂 

 

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We took them home . . .

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Loaded them up with books and memorabilia that he wanted to keep but didn’t need to be out in the middle of the room,

 

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And stacked them on top of one another for his nightstand.

 

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They were in great shape (perfectly kept on the inside), so we didn’t have a single bit of work to do!

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I’d love to know the places this stack of luggage has been to over the years, and love that they’re a fun way to re-use someone else’s treasures. We spend $15 on all 3, and I love that they’re just something quirky in his room!

 

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Have you found any fun finds lately at Goodwill or you local thrift store? I’d love to hear what you’ve scored! Leave a comment to share (I love hearing from you!)

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Can’t get enough Goodwill?

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No Bake Chocolate Eclair Cake

Looking for more penny pinched recipes? Here you go!

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Don’t you just love when penny pinching makes you a wee bit resourceful, and the results turn out fantastic?

 

(Me too.)

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Last week my sweet boy turned sixteen.

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Sixteen.

 

 

However, over the weekend we’d purchased a new car (finally retiring my 10-year-old-190,000-mile-mini-van ~ eek!), and I’ve been determined to really be wise with our finances. (We were able to purchase our new-to-us-car using cash which is the coolest feeling ever. But, shelling out that much cash that’s been saved hurts just a bit!)

 

So, I decided I was absolutely not going to buy anything we didn’t need for at least a few weeks.

 

And then I remembered that I needed a cake for my cute kid’s birthday.

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I went through my pantry, fridge and freezer to try to come up some genius plan, and remembered this E’clair cake a friend of mine made for us years ago.

 

It usually calls for cool whip, but I only had Kroger Reddi Whip in the fridge, so decided to make that work.

Goodness, that boy of mine was in heaven.

 

In fact, he asked this weekend if I could make him some e’clair cake again.

 

The moral of the story?

 

Get a little creative with what you already have before spending more moo-lah ($40 for a cookie cake? No thanks!) and your family might just enjoy that little penny-pinched-splurge too.

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Directions

Mix together cool whip or reddi whip, pudding and milk. Layer graham crackers on bottom of 9×13 baking dish.

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Next, spread half pudding mixture over graham crackers, then cover with another layer of graham crackers.

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Spread remaining pudding mixture over graham crackers, then top with another layer of graham crackers.

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Pop frosting in microwave and heat for about 30 seconds. Then spread carefully over graham cracker layer.

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Refrigerate for 4-6 hours, then serve.

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No Bake Chocolate Eclair Cake

Ingredients:

2 packages instant vanilla pudding
2 cans of dairy whipped topping (or one tub of non-dairy whipped topping)
3 cups milk
1 package graham crackers
1 container chocolate frosting

Directions:

  1. In a bowl mix together the pudding mix, whipped topping, and milk until completely combined.
  2. Place a single layer of graham crackers in the bottom of a 9×13″ dish. Spread half the pudding mixture over the graham crackers. Top the pudding layer with another layer of graham crackers.  Add the other half of the pudding mixture and top that with a final layer of graham crackers.
  3. Spread frosting over the graham cracker layer all the way up to the edges of the pan. Cover and chill for at least 4 hours before serving.

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Looking for more dessert recipes?

Recipe adapted from All Recipes.  If you need a little more menu inspiration, go HERE

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Menu Plan Monday: Week Of 4/18/16

 

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Good. gravy.

 

Do you feel life like is just racing by, and you’re in the backseat praying things will just slow down a wee bit?

 

Me too. 

 

After a big trip to Canada for Spring Break, a crazy season starting for my kids of soccer, track, and rugby (my son is playing rugby. please. pray. yikes. really. yikes.) and some big projects here on PPP, I feel like menu planning has been thrown right on out the window at our house.

 

So this morning I took a step back, started thinking about my first love here in my home as homemaker, and decided to get some control.

 

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I shined my kitchen sink (don’t you love my little sign? I ordered it from Crystal and just love it as well as my Mrs. Meyer’s soap from my last Prime Pantry order)

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Then I shared a quick video of my main 21 Day Fix must-have-foods with our PPP 21 Day Fix group (it’s not too late to join if you sign up today ~ go HERE to learn more!)

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 I popped chicken and dumplings in Mrs. Potts, 

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and even tackled our laundry pile.

 

Success!

 

While I love sharing deals here on PPP and running my little business from home, by far taking care of my favorites come first, and it was so nice to start off taking care of them first today. 

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Curious what’s on our menu plan this week? Here you go:

  • MondaySlow Cooker Chicken and Dumplings, green beans, biscuits, salad (We don’t normally eat these kind of meals especially when I’m 21 Day Fixin‘ but I’ll have a big salad and we haven’t had a night off from activities in ages. This is my family’s favorite meal so I’m treating them after not really cooking in 3 weeks, but there was a tiny piece of me considering swinging by Sonic for 50¢ cheeseburgers!)
  • TuesdaySlow Cooker Brown Sugar Pork Tenderloin, salad, brown rice, veggies
  • Wednesday – Leftovers
  • Thursday – Breakfast for dinner (we have soccer, rugby, track and cheer on Thursdays – eggs and fresh fruit it is!)
  • Friday – 21 Day Fix Grilled chicken (I’ll share the recipe I use later this week ~ I just sprinkle seasoning salt on chicken tenderloins, spray with Pam cooking spray, and broil for 4 minutes on each side until cooked through), baked potatoes, salad, veggies

 

 

Check out my recipes to try board on Pinterest, and see more penny-pinched recipe ideas.  

 

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Orange Bird Feeder

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Looking for a fun and frugal project to make with your kids this weekend? I love this!

 

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Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Large oranges
  • Bird seed
  • Skinny ribbon
  • Sharpened pencil
  • Scissors
  • Spoon

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Directions
1. Cut your orange in half

 

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2. Scoop out (and eat) the inside of the orange

 

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3. Poke four holes opposite each other, towards the top of the orange like so

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4. Cut two 8″ pieces of ribbon, tie one end in one hole and the other in the opposite hole
5. Repeat step 4 with your other ribbon

 

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6. Fill your orange up with bird seed
7. Now cut a 5″ piece of ribbon and use to tie the top of the ribbons together, then onto a tree branch

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Looking for more spring projects?  Here you go . . .

I’d love for you to join me over on Pinterest (I love that place!)  If you have a blog and have done a little fluffing in your home, I’d love to see it, so leave your link in the comments section. Also, if there’s a craft you’ve seen on a website that you’re hoping to make, feel free to share that link as well (I’m always looking for new ideas!)

Interact with 480,000+ Penny Pinchers on Facebook and Twitter or Subscribe to Passionate Penny Pincher by email to keep up with all the penny pinchin’ deals!

 

 

 

 

 

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Baked Chimichangas

Looking for more penny pinched recipes? Here you go!

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Here’s an easy recipe if your family loves Mexican like mine does!  This is what you’ll need . . .

 

 

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First, sauté the garlic, onions and pepper in a greased skillet over medium heat.

 

Then add in your turkey and spices until completely cooked.  Drain any excess fat from the pan and add in the tomato sauce and let simmer so all the flavors come together.

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Next, spoon the turkey mixture onto your tortilla, add some cheese and roll it up.

 

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Then start by folding in the sides and then roll away, place them seam side down on a greased baking sheet.

 

 

Spray them quickly with cooking spray or olive oil (to make the crisp up) and pop them in a 400 degree oven for about 20 mins.

 

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Yum!

 

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Baked Chimichangas

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Spray a pan with cooking spray (or use some olive oil) and add in the garlic, onions and peppers.
  2. Add the turkey or ground beef, chili powder, oregano, and cumin
  3. Break up the turkey or ground beef until browned and drain.
  4. Stir in the tomato sauce, bringing to a boil.
  5. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, until the flavors are blended and the mixture thickens.
  6. Spoon the meat mixture onto each tortilla and top with the cheddar cheese.
  7. Fold in the sides and then roll to enclose the filling.
  8. Place the chimichangas seam-side down on a greased baking sheet.
  9. Lightly spray the tops of the tortillas with nonstick spray or olive oil.
  10. Bake at 400 degrees until golden , about 20 minutes and enjoy!

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Recipe adapted from Kitch Me. If you need a little more menu inspiration, go HERE

 

Looking for more Mexican inspired dishes?  Try these:

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Trinket Tray

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I love this cute trinket tray, and it would make such a simple Mother’s Day or teacher appreciation gift!

 

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Here’s what you’ll need to get started: 

  • Terracotta tray – I used the 4″ inch size
  • White paint – I used the acrylic kind sold at craft stores
  • Foam brush
  • Stencil of choice – purchased mine at Hobby Lobby
  • Gold paint pen or gold paint – found at craft stores

 

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Start by painting your terracotta tray white.

 

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Be sure to paint the bottom side too to finish the look.

 

 

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When the paint is completely dry, center your stencil on the tray.

 

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I used my gold paint pen and went right over the stencil.  (some paint pens bleed so you could trace the stencil with pencil then use your pen to fill in if you prefer)

 

 

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Remove stencil carefully.

 

 

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Allow to dry completely and you’re done. So fun!

 

Looking for more spring projects?  Here you go . . .

I’d love for you to join me over on Pinterest (I love that place!)  If you have a blog and have done a little fluffing in your home, I’d love to see it, so leave your link in the comments section. Also, if there’s a craft you’ve seen on a website that you’re hoping to make, feel free to share that link as well (I’m always looking for new ideas!)

Interact with 470,000+ Penny Pinchers on Facebook and Twitter or Subscribe to Passionate Penny Pincher by email to keep up with all the penny pinchin’ deals!

 

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Simple Easter Centerpiece

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I love this cute Easter centerpiece, using just a few items from your local craft store!

 

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Here’s what you’ll need:

Large mason jar, glass
Plastic carrots (found at Michael’s Craft Store, sold in sets of three ~ you could even use real carrots which I think would look so cute)
Burlap Ribbon, thick, plain
Accent ribbon in choice of color, medium width
Twine
Hot glue, glue gun
Scissors

 

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Begin by wrapping the thick, plain burlap ribbon around your mason jar. Cut it to fit and attach it with some hot glue.

 

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Add another cute ribbon on top (whatever you have laying around is fine) on top of the thick ribbon and secure into place with a little more hot glue.
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At the top of the jar, add a cute little twine bow (or ribbon of your choice) …

 

Add the carrots into the jar … and you’re done!

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You could always add some pebbles or grass at the bottom of the jar first, but to make it simple I just dropped them right in and they look great on their own.

 

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Make a grouping of these to display together, or let this piece shine all on its own. Fun!

 

Looking for more spring projects?  Here you go . . .

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Mod Podge Eggs

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Looking for a fun unique way to decorate Easter eggs? 

 

This one is so simple, and I love the way it turned out.

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Gather up your supplies:

  • hardboiled eggs
  • mod podge (Target has small bottles sometimes in their $1 bins)
  • Easter die cute shapes (I made a few using my silhouette cutter)
  • sponge paint brush

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Place shapes on eggs and let kids “paint” them on

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Done!

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I wouldn’t eat these, but they’re so pretty for Easter decor. Fun!

 

 

Looking for more Easter projects? Here you go . . .

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