Frugal Fall Decorating

Update: I absolutely have loved this centerpiece, however the pumpkin turned into an awesome science experiment when we realized it began to grow mold inside the closed jar. Soooo, if you’re going to try this one out yourself, I recommend leaving the jar open or possibly just using it for a few days during the fall season! ūüėČ

Frugal Fall Decorating

Is anyone else just itching to start fluffing up for fall? ¬†To be honest, I’ve loved every bit of summer this year, but the minute I see a pumpkin I’m ready to pull out my fall decorations.

So this week when my friend Shannon sent a picture over of the glass container that she’d found at Walmart for $9.99, I knew I had to get started. ¬†It’s¬†exactly like this one at Amazon for $9.99, just a bit larger size, so either one would make such a nice centerpiece (and combined they’d be beautiful!)


Now, here’s my trick for those big ole’ jars. ¬†Instead of spending a¬†pretty penny filling them up, use some of your stockpiled canned goods as spacers . . .

Then I just filled the jar with dried peas, popcorn, and a pumpkin that I picked up at Walmart for under $10!

Looking for more frugal fall decorating ideas? Here are a few more of my favorites:

Frugal Thanksgiving Centerpiece


This post is linked up to Living Well Spending Less Thrifty Thursday. 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‚Äôd love to see it, so leave your link in the comments section. Also, if there‚Äôs a craft you‚Äôve seen on a website that you‚Äôre hoping to make, feel free to share that link as well (I‚Äôm always looking for new ideas!)


See more previous Friday Fluff Up projects and ideas . . . and Happy Fluffing!


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Have You Antique Shopped Lately?


This chalkboard table was $69

A few weeks ago while visiting my dad in Louisville, Kentucky, he took me to the most fun antique store (Sugar Babes Antiques ~ you can check them out here on Facebook) and they had so many wonderful items for sale, at incredible prices! ¬†Like I shared last week, there are¬†tons of items you can find secondhand for a fraction of retail prices, and so many of them make for some really fun shabby chic decorating. ¬†Here’s what we found while we were there . . .¬†¬†


This cute oval table for just $59 (I think I’m a tad obsessed with this shade of blue. . . see¬†HERE, HERE, HERE and even HERE)


this bright yellow stool for $45 (I wish I had room for it in my kitchen!)


This old refrigerator was so fun, but I forgot to get the price (oops!)


My favorite find was this table for just $89 including the leaf and two chairs ~ such a great deal, and would be such a fun starter set if you were just starting out!



I also loved this simple print for $23


And this cane chair with so much character was just $35


Have you found any penny pinched furniture at a local thrift store, antique store, or yard sale?¬†If so, I’d love to share your pictures! Send me an email at contact@passionatepennypincher . com (leave out the spaces), and if I share photos of you finds here on PPP you’ll get an $10 Amazon gift card.


In case you happen to be in the Louisville, Kentucky area, you can visit SugarBabe Antiques at 7511 Highway 329 in Crestwood, KY 40014. ¬†They had so many unique items, and I definitely recommend a visit if you’re in the area!

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Walmart September Savings


I made a quick run to Walmart this morning, and found quite a few deals for you to add to your list this week! I’m usually not much of a Walmart shopper, but they do have some great deals on produce as well as some pretty good coupon deals. Here’s what I found:


Grapes $.99/lb. (stock up price)



Pillsbury Toast Strudel $1.98



Bisquick $1.08



Duncan Hines Frosting Creations $.84


Fleischmann’s Yeast $1.42

  • $.40/1 Fleischmann’s 9/8 Red Plum insert
  • $1.02 after coupon


Nestle Toll House Morsels $2.28




Honey Nut Cheerios $2.78


Frosted Flakes $2.96



Del Monte Fruit Cups $2


Hunt’s Snack Pack $1



Betty Crocker Fruit Snacks $2


Green Giant Veggie Chips $1.98



Glade Plug In Warmers $1.38



Soft Scrub $2.77


Comet $.93

  • Use $.35/1 Comet from the 8/25 Smart Source insert
  • $.58 after coupon


Pampers $8.97

  • Use $1.50/1 Pampers¬†or $2/1 Pampers from the 9/1 PG insert
  • $6.97 after coupon


Huggies $8.97

  • $3/1 Huggies Little Snugglers from the 8/18 Smart Source insert
  • $5.97 after coupon


Beech Nut Baby Food $.50


Gerber Baby Food $.63

  • $1/2 Gerber product from the 9/8 Red Plum insert
  • $.13 after coupon



Gerber Baby Food $1.98

  • $1/2 Gerber product from the 9/8 Red Plum insert¬†
  • $1.48 after coupon


Heinz Ketchup $1.56

  • $.50/1 Heinz from the 8/25 Red Plum insert
  • $1.06¬†after coupon¬†


  • Colgate $2.96
  • Use $2/1 Colgate Mouthwash from the 9/8 Smart Source insert
  • $.96 after coupon¬†



Ivory Bar Soap 3 pack $1.24

  • $.50/1 Ivory from the 9/1 PG insert
  • $.84 after coupon


Edge Shave Gel $2.44



Band Aid $1.97

  • $3/3 Band Aid coupon from the 9/8 Smart Source or $.75/2 Band Aid
  • $.97¬†after coupon
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Target September Savings

Use everything above to make some an easy meal deal for just $3-$4 tonight!


I thought the deals this morning were looking pretty pitiful, so I decided to hop away from my computer and make a quick Target run to see if they had any great deals with all the new mobile and printable coupons that have popped up over the last week. Goodness gracious, they were stocked with bargains! I’ll post my pics of the entire trip later today, but here are all the deals to get you ready to shop too.


First, if you have a phone that receives texts, you’re going to want to send the following codes to the phone number 827438:

  • upup
You can also check out all the Target Cartwheel coupons available (there are a jillion . . . okay, maybe not a jillion but it sure feels like it!) I actually didn’t use these when I was shopping this morning because I was in a hurry, but if you have a few extra minutes they’re worth checking out.


Up & Up Hand Soap $.98


Up & Up Ibuprofen $1.04

  • $1/1 Up & Up Pain Relief¬†when you text¬†upup to 827438¬†
  • $.04 after coupon


Up & Up Cotton Balls $.97

  • $.50/1 Up & Up Cosmetic Cotton Item¬†when you text¬†upup to 827438¬†
  • Use 5% off Cartwheel coupon
  • $.43 after coupon


Edge Shave Gel $2.44


Onions $.85 each (I bought 2)

  • Use $1/1 fresh vegetable¬†when you text¬†FRESH¬†t0 827438¬†
  • $.35 each after coupon


Ground Beef $2.49 per/lb. (great price!)

  • Use $1/1 Ground Beef¬†when you text¬†FRESH¬†t0 827438¬†
  • $1.49 after coupon


Smucker’s Uncrustables $2.94


Market Pantry Pasta $1.39

  • Use $.75/1 Market Pantry Pasta
  • $.64 after coupon


Market Pantry Pasta Sauce $1.52

  • $.75/1 Market Pantry Pasta Sauce¬†
  • $.77 after coupon


Smuckers Toppings $1.99


Market Pantry Fruit Cups $.98

  • $1/2 Market Pantry Fruit Cups 3
  • $.48 after coupon


Market Pantry Peanut Butter $2

  • watch for hangtags for $.50/1 Market Pantry Jelly, Marmalade or Preserves on canisters


Jif To Go $2.49

  • $1/1 Jif to Go (manufacturer coupon on Target site)
  • $1.49 after coupon (Aldi had them for $2.49 a few weeks ago, but you can’t use coupons there so this is a much better deal!)


Reynold’s Baking Cups $1.14


Wet Ones Wipes $2.29


Up & Up Facial Tissues $1.39


Up & Up Aluminum Foil $1.49

  • $.50/1 Up & Up Food Storage Item¬†¬†when you text¬†upup to 827438¬†
  • Use 5% off Cartwheel
  • $.91 after coupon



Up & Up Nail Polish Remover $.97

  • Use $.50/1 Up & Up Nail Polish Remover¬†¬†when you text¬†upup to 827438¬†
  • Use 5% off Cartwheel app
  • $.42 after coupon (this one did not automatically come up for me, however I asked at customer service and it should have, so hopefully it will work for you without any issues!)



Bananas $.24 per banana

  • $1/1 fresh fruit when you text FRESH t0 827438
  • Free after coupon


Clearance Binders $.69


Lots of school clearance marked 30% off


See all the top deals at Target this week, and create your Target shopping list before you shop.

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How We Furnished Our Dining Room For $150

I love pretty things. I love pretty fabrics and pretty colors and pretty rooms . . . and pretty everything. But more often than not those pretty rooms come with a price tag that’s not in our family’s budget. so I’ve spent years coming up with ways to make a beautiful home and still stay on track.


Last week, when I finally changed the seat cushions on our dining room chair cushions (you can see how much I changed the dining room with just paint HERE), and it really is just a perfect room (for us.) It’s fully stocked with hand-me-downs, but each one kind of tells a story, and I love it just the way it is.


Here’s how we did it:

  1. Our dining room table was free. ¬†The dining room table is from my husband’s grandparents home, and we were the only ones in the family who had a place for it seventeen years ago when we bought our first home. It was¬†nothing like what I would have chosen (although it is pretty traditional), and for years I wished we could afford a prettier new table. But, over the years it’s grown along with it, and I’m so thankful that we didn’t waste money on an expensive table at a time when we really couldn’t afford it. I also love when my father-in-law comes to visit, and reminds me that he spent hours doing homework on that very same table.¬†
  2. The toile curtains were also handed down.  My friend Nancy (who blogs at Real Food Allergy Free), called a few years ago and asked if I’d want black toile curtains from her grandmother’s home as they were selling the house and no one else was interested. They fit my windows exactly, and I really do love them. (And those sweet silhouettes of my children? They were my souvenir from Disney World last year ~ and I think a complete steal at $45.)
  3. My neighbors had the small desk in the corner out by the street for the trash to pick up one day. It was a lighter oak stain, so I spent a few dollars re-staining it to match the room, but it’s made for some great extra storage space.
  4. The Kentucky Morning Turn Out print in the picture was a gift to my husband before he and I got married.¬†Other than re-matting it about ten years ago, I haven’t done anything to it and I love that it reminds me of Kentucky whenever I pass through.
  5. I had a Southern Living party years ago and the Southern Living Plate rack was a hostess gift. (Sometimes hosting a party is worth it!)  I just use my everyday dishes on it ~ nothing fancy.
  6. The centerpiece was an old urn I found in the clearance bins at Hobby Lobby seven years ago, and I’ve updated the flowers a few times.¬†My guess is I’ve spent about $20 on items to fill it.
  7. The set of lamps on our buffet were purchased on sale at Kirkland’s for $30, and have been re-painted (with spray paint) at least 3 times.¬†Gotta love what a can of spray paint will do!
  8. The chairs.¬†Oh my heavens ~ the chairs! I have loved and hated these chairs, but right now I’m pretty much in love. They’ve been re-covered four times since we got them (they came with the table), and while I’ve dreamed of having slipcovered chairs, just changing the fabric to a fresh print has made them so much more bearable. I bought the fabric for $20 at Hobby Lobby, and while it’s pretty trendy for this oh-so-traditional girl, I figure when it gets dated I’ll spend another $20 and do them over again. (I love the power of re-covered chairs almost as much as a fresh coat of paint!)
  9. We spent $50 to add wall panels to the molding, which makes such an impact on the room. My husband is pretty good at wielding a jigsaw, so it took one day a few years ago, but was worth every bit of time and money that we spent on it.
The biggest change this last week was just the chair cushions . . . . here they are before:


And just $20 made such a difference . . .

If you’ve struggled with loving beautiful rooms and living on a penny pinched budget, I encourage you to look for ways to fluff what you already have ~ it’s amazing what you can do without spending much at all!¬†Next week I’ll be posting some amazing finds I found at an antique store (which is a great place to start if you don’t have anything), and I’d love to hear how you’ve saved while decorating your home too.



This post is linked up to Living Well Spending Less Thrifty Thursday. ¬†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‚Äôd love to see it, so leave your link in the comments section. Also, if there‚Äôs a craft you‚Äôve seen on a website that you‚Äôre hoping to make, feel free to share that link as well (I‚Äôm always looking for new ideas!)


See more previous Friday Fluff Up projects and ideas . . . and Happy Fluffing!


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Olive Garden Pasta Fagioli Soup Recipe {Slow Cooker}

Looking for more penny pinched recipes? Here you go! Also enter to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card


Have I mentioned lately I love Mrs. Potts? I don’t know about you, but our afternoon schedule this fall is about to make me bonkers, and if it weren’t for her doing the cooking at least one night a week I’m pretty sure we’d rarely manage a real meal around here. Thankfully all I have to do is throw in the ingredients in the morning, and she finishes up the work for me throughout the day!



When a friend of mine shared this Olive Garden Pasta Fagioli Soup recipe with me, ¬†I couldn’t wait to try it. ¬†It makes a¬†ton of soup (seriously ~ my large crockpot was filled to the brim last night), so you can easily make a batch up now, enjoy leftovers later this week, and still have some to pop in your freezer for another busy night.¬†(Success!)


(And, if you really want to treat your family, try out these Olive Garden Breadsticks too. My daughter Reagan is just about to lose her first baby tooth ~ I know I’ll be glad to have this picture of that wiggly bottom tooth one of these days!)


Olive Garden’s {Slow Cooker} Pasta Fagioli Soup


  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 1 onion
  • 3 carrots
  • 4 stalks celery
  • 2 (28 oz) cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 (16 oz) can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (15 oz) can white kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3 (10 oz) cans beef stock
  • 3 tsp oregano
  • 2 tsp pepper
  • 5 tsp parsley
  • 1 tsp Tabasco sauce optional ~ we left this out)
  • 1 20 oz. jar spaghetti sauce
  • 8 oz pasta


  1. Brown ground beef.
  2. Drain fat from beef and add to the slow cooker with everything except the pasta.
  3. Cook on low 7-8 hours or high 4-5 hours.
  4. Add pasta and cook an additional 30 minutes on high or 45 minutes on low.
  5. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese (we love the DiGiorno brand) and enjoy!

Here are the best sales I see to watch for this week (as of 9/4/13):

  • Mueller’s Pasta BOGO $1.59 at Publix, use $1/2 Mueller’s Pasta
  • Kraft Grated Cheese BOGO $3.60 at Publix
  • Del Monte Tomatoes BOGO $3.50 at Publix
  • Publix Ground Round $3.99/lb.
  • Swanson Broth On Sale $2 at Publix
  • Ragu Pasta Sauce $1.50 at Publix, use $1/2 Ragu Pasta coupon from the Best Meals Happen At Home insert
  • Celery $1 at Kroger
  • Carrots $1 at Kroger
  • Ground Chuck 80% in 5 lb. roll $13.45 at Kroger
  • Prego Pasta Sauce $1.67 at Kroger

Recipe adapted from  Thanks to I Heart Publix for the coupon matchups. If you need a little more menu inspiration, go HERE. This post is linked up to Thrifty Thursday at Living Well Spending Less. Thanks for the opportunity to link up!


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$5 Burlap Monogram

I’ve had this Burlap monogram picture pinned on my Pinterest inexpensive crafts board since I first started pinning, so when I was looking for an easy front door idea for fall I knew I had to try it out! A few years ago I’d used a canvas to make this front door monogram, so this was an easy way to give it a freshened up look.¬†


Here’s what it cost to make:

  • Burlap $1 (used 40% off coupon at Hobby Lobby)
  • 14″x18″ Canvas (I already had one, but you can get them for $3-$4 at Hobby Lobby)
  • Sharpie Marker $.25
  • Ribbon $.50

As I was trying to figure out how I would paint the monogram on, it occurred to me that I have a jillion Sharpie Markers floating around thanks to this year’s Back-to-School sales. So, here’s what I did:

  • Stapled burlap onto canvas ~ I actually doubled the fabric so that it was nice and thick. (I colored in the monogram before stapling it the first time, and it was hard to get it straight, so I’d recommend stapling it down first so you can get it pulled nice and tight before working on.)
  • Used a wooden “H” as my stencil (I just used¬†the one from my last door hanger), you can get them for $1.99 at Hobby Lobby if you don’t have a steady hand ~ I don’t so this definitely helped!)
  • Colored it in with the Sharpie.
  • Done!

{I really do love how much better our porch looks now that we fluffed it up a bit this summer ~ it’s amazing what a little paint can do, but you can tell we still need to sweep around here!}

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‚Äôd love to see it, so leave your link in the comments section. Also, if there‚Äôs a craft you‚Äôve seen on a website that you‚Äôre hoping to make, feel free to share that link as well (I‚Äôm always looking for new ideas!)


See more previous Friday Fluff Up projects and ideas . . . and Happy Fluffing!


This post is linked up to Thrifty Thursday at Living Well Spending Less and Follow Our Thrift. Thanks for the opportunity to link up!


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Homemade Chicken Tenders With Zax Sauce

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 Zax Sauce

My family is addicted to Zaxby’s. Well, let’s just say my¬†husband is addicted to Zaxby’s, so we all tag along for the ride.


If you’re not from the South, you’ve probably not even heard of a Zaxby’s, but when we moved to Alabama we noticed they keep fried chicken finger chains on just about every corner. Since Zaxby’s is our favorite (especially since they send us coupons¬†every once in awhile), we frequent it quite a bit.


We all love the Chicken Tenders with Zax Sauce, however it’s far from the healthiest meal on the planet (clearly!) So I decided to see if I could mimic it at home, with a few healthy twists ¬†My family loved it (my son actually proclaimed it better than Zaxbys), and it was an easy way to please everyone and enjoy a simple meal at home. Here’s how to make it at your house too . . .


Zax Sauce

Homemade Chicken Tenders


  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 cups seasoned bread crumbs (you could also use crushed Ritz Crackers or crushed Rice Krispies)
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 2 tsp seasoning salt
  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast tenders


  1. Melt butter and pour into pie plate or shallow bowl.
  2. In a separate shallow bowl, mix together flour, bread crumbs and seasoning salt.
  3. Dip chicken strips in butter, then dredge in bread crumb mixture.
  4. Add chicken to lightly greased baking sheet.
  5. Bake 20-25 minutes in oven at 400.
  6. Serve with barbecue sauce, honey mustard sauce or Zax sauce (see recipe below.)


Zax Sauce


  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise (I used fat free mayonnaise)
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp black pepper


  1. Mix together all ingredients.
  2. Refrigerate at least two hours.
  3. Serve with Chicken Tenders ~ enjoy!


Here are the best sales I see to watch for this week (as of 8/28/13):

This post is linked up to Living Well Spending Less Thrifty Thursday (thanks for the opportunity to link up!) Thanks to I Heart Publix for the coupon matchups. If you need a little more menu inspiration, go HERE. 

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How I Learned To Love Doing Laundry

{If you’re just here for the deals (I understand!) scoot on past to the next penny pinched post. But, if you need a little encouragement in your daily work today, maybe this is just for you!}


I do a lot of laundry around here. My guess is that in the last thirteen years since having children, at an average of 4.5 loads of laundry per week, I’ve done just over 3,000 loads of laundry now that I’ve claimed the awesome title “mom.”


And most of those days (ummm . . . almost every single one?) I’ve begrudgingly folded tiny socks, turned shirts inside out, and of course fluffed (and re-fluffed) pants or pretty pink dresses in hopes of never plugging in an iron.


Last spring though, I had one of those lightbulb moments as I folded. It dawned on me that I could use those few minutes to pray for my family members as they’re out in the world each day, away from our secure home.


Our laundry room

As I fold their socks, I pray that God will guide their footsteps while they walk through the halls at school.


When hanging up their shirts, I pray that He will help them put on the full armor of God in a world I can’t protect them from.


When folding their pants, I pray that God would place them in just the right spot in their classrooms or at work today.


And when putting their clothes away I pray that God would inhabit their room and make it a safe place where they sleep peacefully that night.



It’s helped take some of the dailiness out of one of my most mundane tasks, and reminds me just how blessed I am to have crazy abundance in my (sometimes monotonous) everyday daily life. (I have machines that do all the washing and drying for me ~ how on earth can I complain?) And it’s given me a way to re-connect not only with my family as they’re out and about, but also with a God who loves them even more than I ever could.


This was my children’s first week back at school, and I think I’ll always have a difficult time watching them go. But this is something tiny I can do, that gives more purpose to the work He’s granted me here at home while they’re gone. And while my prayers are nothing fancy (at all!), this is a simple way I’ve been able to pray specifically for each one of them throughout the day.


Have you found ways to pray for your make a “daily” job more meaningful while working at home or in a job outside your home? ¬†I’d love to hear your tips and suggestions too!


{On a side note, I will¬†not be sharing this post with my hubby who occasionally offers to fold laundry . . . . I wouldn’t want to rob him of his opportunity to help!} ūüėČ



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Slow Cooker Chicken Enchiladas

Looking for more penny pinched recipes? Here you go!

Oh my heavens, you’ve got to make this.¬†Seriously.


I worked diligently Sunday coming up with a menu plan for the week and making a grocery list. I was even so ahead of the game that Tuesday afternoon I left the house for carpool duty at 2 and returned at 6 with dinner in the oven, all baked up and ready to go. {We have an oven that you can set ahead of time ~ such a nice gift when I remember to use it!}


It was perfect. And easy. And, to be honest, all that organization even impressed me. ūüėČ


Ummmm . . . until my hubby walked in the door, took a deep whiff, and said “Hmmm. . . are we having Mexican?”


To which I excitedly replied “YES!!!”


He then informed me that he’d had Mexican ~ for the last two days ~ while on business meetings for lunch.


Here’s a hint to all the men out there {all three of you}: ¬†never,¬†ever {EVER!},¬†tell your wife-that-cooks-and-cleans-and-shops-and-taxis-your-children-around-all-day-long that you’re not all that excited about her cooking because you’ve had something similar ~ with other living, breathing adults ~ for lunch. It just doesn’t bode well for you.¬†‘Nuf said.


You can bet he’s eating leftover Mexican again tonight. ūüėČ

Slow Cooker Chicken Enchiladas


  • 4-5 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 package taco seasoning (I used the store brand)
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 4 oz can green chilis
  • 1 tsp lime juice
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 1 can enchilada sauce
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 cups shredded cheese (I used mozzarella because that's what was in my fridge)
  • green onions
  • sliced olives
  • tortillas (10-12)


  1. Spray slow cooker with cooking spray.
  2. Place chicken on the bottom of the slow cooker.
  3. Pour garlic powder, green chilis, lime juice, taco seasoning, and water on top of chicken. Cook on low 5-6 hours or high 3-4 hours.
  4. Shred chicken (it should shred easily.)
  5. Mix together can of cream of chicken soup and sour cream.
  6. Put half of the sour cream mixture on the bottom of a 9x13 casserole, and mix the other half in with the shredded chicken.
  7. Place about 1/4 cup chicken mixture into each tortilla along with 2 tbsp shredded cheese.
  8. Roll up tortilla and place seam side down in casserole dish.
  9. Repeat again with all the tortillas.
  10. Pour enchilada sauce over the entire casserole and then cover with remaining cheese.
  11. Top with green onions and sliced olives.
  12. Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 350 for 25 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional five minutes.
  13. Enjoy!

Note: This is the BEST slow cooker Mexican chicken I’ve ever made, and you could easily use the recipe for taco salads or regular tacos. ¬†When I make it again I’ll double the slow cooker part of the recipe, and freeze the meat to easily have dinner on a busy night! ¬†Also, be sure to pick up sliced black olives, not chopped black olives. Oops.



Here are the best sales I see to watch for this week (as of 8/21/13):


Looking for more slow cooker recipe ideas? Here are a few of my favorites:


This post is linked up to Crock Pot Ladies Slow Cooker Saturday Рthanks for the opportunity to link up!  Recipe adapted from Six Sisters Stuff.  Thanks to I Heart Publix for the coupon matchups. If you need a little more menu inspiration, go HERE. 

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Guacamole BLT Sandwich

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blt sandwich

One of my all time favorite summer easy dinners is a Bacon Lettuce & Tomato Sandwich, so when I saw this Guacamole BLT Sandwich I knew we needed to add it to our menu plan! Because I’m keeping things simple this week I’ll just tell you it’s delicious, and a great way to use up a few tomatoes from your garden or that you find on sale this week.


{For the record, my husband refused to even try this because he is a die hard traditional BLT fan and would eat them every night in August if I’d let him. It was really good, but we sure do love plain ole’ BLT’s around our house!}


Guacamole Bacon Lettuce & Tomato Sandwich


  • bacon
  • lettuce
  • tomato
  • bread
  • guacamole
  • cream cheese


  1. Fry bacon & toast bread.
  2. Spread guacamole on one slice of bread and cream cheese on another slice of bread.
  3. Add lettuce, tomato and bacon to the sandwich.
  4. Enjoy! (How easy was that?)


Here are the best sales I see to watch for this week (as of 7/31/13):

  • Sugardale Sliced Bacon $4 at Publix
  • Oscar Mayer Bacon $3.88 at Kroger

Thanks to I Heart Publix for the coupon matchups. If you need a little more menu inspiration, go HERE. This post is linked up to Living Well Spending Less Thrifty Thursday (thanks for the chance to link up!)

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Front Porch {Frugal} Facelift

As I shared last week, we’ve started tackling a ton of house projects at our home ¬†. . . and it feels so good to get started! ¬†We spent last weekend beginning work on our front porch, which was in sore need of new railing (some of the wood has started to rot.) So, we started bright and early Saturday morning, and worked, and worked, and¬†worked. ¬†We’re saving so much by doing it ourselves (more on that later), but goodness . . . it ain’t easy! ūüėČ

black front porch rockers


What I’m most excited about though is that I finally freshened up my front porch rockers and added a new table out there. So, for just the cost of a few cans of spray paint (okay, alot of cans of spray paint), my front porch looks so much better! Here’s what we did . . . .



I re-painted an old kids table that had been up in our playroom and was heading for the trash can. To create the words, I just used my Cricut and some vellum as well as some painters tape to tape everything off, then painted it all and removed the tape and letters ~¬†success!¬†We had the paint (leftover from my office and dining room) and tape already, and I just used¬†$.75 paint from the mis-matched paint bin at Lowe’s, so my total out of cost for the project was $.75. ¬†Not bad ¬†. . . and I love having an extra table out there!



I also painted my old white rockers black, and I really do just love them. They look so much more cleaner, and I’m hoping they won’t show all the dirt that they did when they were white. (Thankfully our front porch gets shade most of the day, so they haven’t gotten hot like I was afraid they might!)

And last but not least, we re-painted our swing as well, and added a few throw pillows. I grabbed the pillows for $3 each in the awesome sale that’s going on at Hobby Lobby this week, and even though I’m not sure they’re exactly what I wanted, for $6 they’ll do just fine for now!

Here’s how we’ve done on our to-do list so far (goodness still so much to do!)

  1. Re-stain front door
  2. Clean and paint front porch rocking chairs
  3. Paint front porch swing
  4. Fix front porch railing (we’re almost halfway there ~ whew!)
  5. Paint/touch up siding
  6. Re-stain deck
  7. Get a new light bulb for the refrigerator
  8. Sweep out cobwebs on the front porch
  9. Get fans for the front porch (maybe?)
  10. Recover dining room chairs
  11. Cut down front tree (it was dead ~ my son tackled that one this morning)
  12. Replace tree in front yard
  13. Re-paint mailbox
  14. Paint tables for front porch
  15. Tile/brick/add something? to the front porch
  16. Get new kitchen curtains
  17. Re-paint guest bathroom
  18. Paint kids bathroom
  19. Update playroom
And here’s the progress we’ve made so far . . .



Do you have any projects that you need to tackle at your home this summer?¬†If you have a quiet weekend it might be a great time to get started . . . I’m tickled to start seeing some of these big projects marked off our list, and promise it feels so good! ¬†You can also join me over¬†on Pinterest¬†to see more home ideas.


See more previous Friday Fluff Up projects and ideas . . . and Happy Fluffing!  


This post is linked up to Thrifty Thursday at Living Well Spending Less ~ thanks for the opportunity to link up!


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Best Buttermilk Pancake Recipe

Best Buttermilk Pancakes

One of my favorite things about summertime is extra lazy mornings to enjoy a big breakfast. Unfortunately, because of my kiddos activities this summer we only have a few extra mornings at home, but when we do have them I love taking time to make one of their favorites to start the day.


Last week I thought I’d try out a new Buttermilk Pancake recipe (which doesn’t really need Buttermilk) because the recipe I’ve used for years really wasn’t all that good. These are by far the best pancakes I’ve tried, and we’ll definitely be using them as our regular recipe in the future. You might get a better pancake at Cracker Barrel, but that’s only because they do the cookin’ for you. ūüėČ


Best Buttermilk Pancakes


  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons white sugar
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups buttermilk (or use 3 tbsp. vinegar plus enough milk to make 3 cups ~ let sit on counter five minutes before using)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted


  1. Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in bowl.
  2. In another bowl, beat buttermilk, milk, eggs and melted butter.
  3. Heat griddle to medium high heat.
  4. Add the buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture and stir using fork just until blended together (there will be lumps, just try to mix it well enough so that everything's mixed and get rid of as many lumps as possible without over mixing.)
  5. Add batter onto griddle, using about 1/2 cup per pancake.
  6. Cook on both sides until done and serve.

Cinnamon Roll Pancakes


Recipe adapted from All Recipes.  Looking for more recipe ideas? If you need a little more menu inspiration, go HERE, and be sure to try out our favorite waffle recipe too, these Cinnamon Roll Pancakes, or Peanut Butter & Banana French Toast.

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Barbecue Chicken Quesadillas

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I’ve made Barbecue Chicken Wraps before, Barbecue Chicken Pizza, and even Barbecue Chicken Stuffed Potatoes, but for whatever reason I’ve never thought to try out Barbecue Chicken Quesadillas. Well, when I saw an idea for a recipe over on Pinterest (that didn’t include all that much of a recipe) I decided to tackle it myself! ¬†Oh my heavens, they turned out so well ~ and I loved having a new simple meal to add to our weeknight dinner rotation.


They’re super simple to make, and you could use any cooked chicken that you have on hand. I decided to use the Tyson Grilled Ready Chicken since it’s on sale at Publix this week, and since we’d grabbed some BOGO Sticky Fingers Barbecue Sauce in last week’s sale I knew we’d be all set. Here’s what you’ll need . . .

(we used the Multi Grain Tortillas from Publix on sale for $1.50 in the Advantage Buy Flier ~ they were perfect, but you could use any type of tortilla. . . I was just excited these were a *little* on the health side!)

First chop your onions . . .

Then melt your butter in a skillet on low heat. . .

Saute the onions in the butter until they begin to become transparent

In a separate pan, add the chicken

And the barbecue sauce

Then heat the barbecue sauce and chicken over medium heat until warm.

Remove your onions from the skillet, and place your soft taco shell in the skillet. Add about 3/4 cup barbecue chicken mixture, 1/4 cup cheese, and 1/4 cup onions, then spread it all around evenly. . .

Cover with another taco shell, and cook 2-3 minutes on medium heat, watching carefully not to burn

Ever so carefully, flip that quesadilla over (I’m not gonna lie ~ it’s a mess, but worth it . . . the melted chicken cheese mixture that ended up on my stove still tasted just delicious) ūüėČ

Then use pizza cutter to cut into quarters and serve. Yum!


Barbecue Chicken Quesadilla


  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2-3 tbsp butter
  • 1 cup cooked chicken, chopped
  • 1 cup barbecue sauce
  • 2 cups monterey jack cheese
  • 8 flour tortillas


  1. Melt butter over low-medium heat on stove.
  2. Saute onions in butter about 5-7 minutes, until cooked.
  3. Meanwhile, add chicken and barbecue sauce to pan on stovetop. Heat over low-medium heat until warmed through.
  4. Remove onions from pan, add tortilla.
  5. Fill tortilla with some of the barbecue chicken mixture, cheese, and onions.
  6. Cover with additional tortilla.
  7. Cook quesadilla for 2-3 minutes, until lightly browned and flip over.
  8. Cook another 2-3 minutes and remove from heat.
  9. Using pizza cutter, slice into quarters and enjoy!

Here are the best sales I see to watch for this week (as of 7/10/13):

  • $0.55/1 Tyson Refrigerated Grilled & Ready Product, any – 05-05-13 SS (Expires 08/05/13)
  • Chichi’s Multi Grain Tortillas $1.50 at Publix
  • Kroger Butter 16 oz $2.48¬†
  • Kroger Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast $1.99/lb.
  • 1/2 Kraft Barbecue Sauce recent printable
If you’re looking for more quesadilla recipes, this Quesadillas cookbook on Amazon has excellent reviews.

Thanks to I Heart Publix for the coupon matchups. If you need a little more menu inspiration, go HERE. 

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Slow Cooked Italian Beef

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slow cooked italian beef - PINTEREST

These Slow Cooker Italian Beef Sandwiches (or Sliders) are the best recipe you’ll ever taste in a crockpot . . . seriously. If you haven’t made these before you really need to add them to your menu this week ~ I promise you’ll be so glad you did!


I have a problem. Every single time that I see a shoulder roast at anything near a decent price, I just have to make these Slow Cooked Italian Beef Sandwiches! I know I should be way more creative, spend hours visiting Pinterest looking for something else to cook with that bargain beef, and then spend hours cooking it up. But since this beef tastes perfect as you taste-test it right out of Mrs. Potts, even better as you enjoy it on a sandwich at dinner time, and is best for leftovers the next day, I figure you’ll humor me on this one more time. Seriously, what other recipe does that for you?

If you haven’t made this one yet, try it out for me . . . I’d love to hear what you think! And, if you’re worried about it being a little too spicy, you can drastically reduce the spiciness by carefully removing the peppers after cooking without letting them open, and using a turkey baster to remove about half of the juices while it simmers in the Au Jus mix. I promise. . . you’ll be glad you made this one!

Slow Cooked Italian Beef Sliders


  • 2-3 lb. Beef Shoulder Roast On Sale $3.99 at Publix
  • 1 jar Pepperoncini Peppers
  • 1 Package AuJus Seasoning Mix Use Publix brand, about $.49 each
  • Hoagie Rolls


  1. Trim fat from roast. Place roast in crock pot, cover with pepperoncini peppers (in liquid).
  2. Cook 7-8 hours on low. Remove peppers (I usually save the jar in the morning and put the peppers back in it to throw them away in).
  3. Shred beef and mix in AuJus Seasoning. If you want it to make it a little less spicy, drain about half the liquid using a turkey baster.
  4. Cook another 30 minutes on low in crock pot. Serve on hoagie rolls.


Looking for more slow cooker recipes to add to your menu plan this week? Here you go . .  


This post is linked to Crock Pot Ladies Slow Cooker Saturday. Thanks for the opportunity to link up! 

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Slow Cooker Cream Cheese Chicken Chili

If you like this recipe, I’d love for you to use the Pin it button to share it on Pinterest, or click the “like” button to share with your friends on Facebook! ¬†Thanks, guys ūüôā

Slow Cooker Cream Cheese Chicken Chilil

This is a re-post of one of our favorite Slow Cooker Cream Cheese Chicken Chili. So simple, and easy to add to your menu plan with many ingredients you probably already have in your pantry! Enjoy.

We made this for dinner earlier this week, and it was so yummy and of course wonderfully easy!¬†I baked some homemade bread to go with it, and my hubby and I enjoyed the leftovers yesterday for lunch. ¬†I loved that it was so simple and included simple basic ingredients, and we’ll definitely be making it again soon!



Slow Cooker Cream Cheese Chicken Chili


  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can corn, undrained
  • 1 can Ro Tel
  • 1 package Ranch Dressing Mix
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 8 oz. package light cream cheese
  • 2 chicken breasts


  1. Drain & rinse black beans.
  2. Put chicken in the bottom of the crockpot, then add the corn and black beans.
  3. Add seasoning and ranch mix, stir together.
  4. Place cream cheese on top of everything.
  5. Cook on low 6-8 hours.
  6. After it's cooked all day, shred chicken and mix all ingredients together well.
  7. Enjoy!


Looking for more slow cooker recipes to add to your menu plan this week? Here you go . .  


Thanks to Plain Chicken for a great recipe!


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Best Chocolate Chip Cookies {Ever}.



(Print your free recipe card HERE.)


Here’s just a plain-ole’ nothing fancy chocolate chip cookie recipe for our tenth day of Christmas Baking, but I must say, these are the Best Chocolate Cookies ever. ¬†


When I was pregnant with my first child (and absolutely determined to be the perfect housewife who baked cookies all the time. . . ), a friend shared this recipe.




After baking them at least once a month for the last 16¬†years, I’ve got the recipe down by memory and figure when I’m old and grey you’ll find me in the nursing home baking up these cookies for all the staff.¬†


(Pretty sure I’ll have forgotten everything else in the world, but these cookies are not to be forgotten. )


If you just need a simple recipe that goes a long way and makes everybody happy . . . this one’s for you. ūüôā


Best Chocolate Chip Cookes {Ever}.

Best Chocolate Chip Cookes {Ever}.


  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar (I use light brown sugar)
  • 1 cup shortening
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teapoon vanilla
  • 12 oz. chocolate chips


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Cream shortening and sugars together until well blended.
  3. Add eggs & vanilla, mix well. In separate bowl combine flour, baking soda & salt. Mix with spoon, then add to shortening mixture and mix until well blended.
  4. Add chocolate chips.
  5. Bake in 375 oven for 7-9 minutes (I think the original recipe called for 8-10 minutes, but I bake a little closer to 7-8 because I like moist gooey cookies, you may want to cook them a little longer if you like them crispier!)
  6. When you pull them out of the oven lightly tap the pan on your counter top to ‚Äúsettle‚ÄĚ your cookies. Let cool on wire rack (if you can stand to wait . . .) and enjoy!


Go HERE to download a free printable copy of this recipe. Yum!


Looking for more recipe ideas? 

Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Simple 7 Up Biscuits

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I found these simply delicious (easy!)¬†biscuits over on Pinterest, and knew my little crew would love them . . . and oh my goodness they sure did! ¬†My husband took one bite and was hooked . . . however when I asked him what the secret ingredient he replied “ummmm . . . butter?” ¬†Nope, no secret to that one here, but they’ll never guess that the 7-UP is in there (plus, it’s a great science experiment to let your kiddos watch as the 7-Up gets all foamy while you mix!) ¬†We actually doubled the recipe and baked them in a 9×13 pan which worked perfectly for my bunch, so if you need a few more biscuits just double it up.

7 UP Biscuits  


    1. 2 cups Bisquick $0.50/1 Bisquick Baking Mix or Complete Pancake & Waffle Mix printable
    2. 1/2 cup sour cream¬†$1/2 Breakstone’s Sour Cream printable
    3. 1/2 cup 7 Up
    4. 1/4 cup melted butter¬†$1/2 Land ‘O Lakes Margarine, exp. 12/31/11 (ALL YOU¬†Nov ’11),¬†$0.50/2 Land O’Lakes Butter Packages, exp. 12/31/11 (SS 10/23/11), or¬†$0.50/1, $0.35/1 Land O’Lakes Fresh Buttery Taste Spread, Margarine,Product, exp. 12/31/11 (SS 10/16/11)
  1. Cut sour cream into Bisquick mix.
  2. Add 7 Up and stir until it makes a soft dough.
  3. Use a little extra Biscuick to sprinkle onto counter top.  Pat dough out and cut into biscuits.  (I just use a small cup dipped in flour or Bisquick to easily cut biscuits.)
  4. Melt butter in 9 inch square pan in oven.
  5. Place cut biscuits into pan and bake at 450 for 12-15 minutes.
Serve with honey, or a little Cinnamon Butter . . . yummmmm! (and dinner, of course. . .) ūüėČ
Recipe adapted from Plain Chicken. Thanks to I Heart Publix for the coupon matchups, and check out $5 Dinner Mom for more bargain meal deals!  If you need a little more menu inspiration, check out the  the Recipe Gallery.

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