Frugal Friday: Halloween Dessert

I’m back in Richmond, resting up from a busy week in Vegas! I had a great tip and my team and I even managed to see Britany while we were there. Talk about a throw back ;) So much glitter!

 I ate tons of delicious food but most places were pretty dim so the only photographic evidence I have is this kale salad from DB Brasserie. Kale, I can’t quit you.

Normally on Fridays, I share a budget friendly dinner idea but I thought I’d switch things up in the spirit of Halloween and share a “scary” dessert recipe with you! This one is still easy on the budget and also super easy to make! Besides, it’s an excuse to eat chocolate pudding and everyone needs that.

halloween dessert

Here’s what you need:

  • Milano cookies- $3
  • Chocolate pudding Mix- $1
  • Milk- $1.50
  • Oreos- $3
  • Frosting- $1.50

It’s super easy to put together. Click here for the full recipe!

I’ll be making a last minute Halloween costume this afternoon. I have a few different ideas but we’ll see where things shake out.

Got any Halloween costume ideas?

Sunday’s Meals

Hello from Las Vegas! I’m here for a work conference until Thursday and it’s been interesting seeing the city.  I’d never been before and it’s been an action packed adventure so far. Sadly, I didn’t bring my camera with me since I had a million other things to bring and I knew it would be a little tricky to pull out my DSLR on a work trip. So I captured Sundays meals to show you a complete day of eats and link up with Jenn. Cool? Cool. (Don’t worry, you can see see my Vegas adventures on Instagram.)

Sunday was a pretty relaxing day, as it usually is. I took a little walk to pick up the New York Times and when I came home I fixed myself a little breakfast to eat while skimming the paper.

Breakfast-of-puffins-and-apple-1024x682

I had picked up of a box of Peanut Butter Puffin cereal at the grocery store which I haven’t done for probably a year. Now I remember why… I basically ate half the box in two days. Oops. How is it so delicious?! Why are cereal servings so small? Why am I never full from it?! Actually, I know the answer to all of those questions: it’s not really that healthy of a food. Oh well. It tasted awesome.

After breakfast, I went to gymnastics and got a good workout while tumbling. My calf muscles were definitely sore on Monday!

gym

When I got home, I heated up some leftover’s from Saturday’s beer dinner.

Lunch Channa Masala This stuff reheats really well! I also had a few bites of garlic naan… which is probably my favorite part of having Indian food.

Alex and I headed to church and I got to hang out with the kids in children’s worship. So much cuteness. On my way home I stopped by the grocery store to pick up a bag of salad since my body was craving some leafy greens.

dinner taco salad These came together quite easily. I just topped the bagged lettuce with some seasoned black beans, roasted corn, tomato salsa, and guacamole. Eaten with some Food Should Taste Good multigrain chips because those things are delicious.

After dinner, we had a little ice cream while watching TV. I usually have a little something sweet in the evening, even if it’s just a piece of chocolate. (Although sometimes I skip dessert in favor of wine…)

What’s your favorite late night dessert?

Vegetarian Beer Dinner 2014

I’m lucky to have a lot of foodie-vegetarian-beer-loving-friends. Lauren, (who you may know from the blog Vegology) hosted the 4th (semi-annual?) Vegetarian Beer Dinner at her house on Saturday and it was so much fun. Seriously, a party where I can eat everything? Yes please. There were 7 courses of delicious vegetarian food plus 7 beer pairings and everyone knocked it out of the park!

How cute are those mason jars? Lauren is an amazing host. Look how adorable her patio is!

Photo via @Vegology on Instagram

Alex and I made Channa Masala which is my favorite Indian recipe to make. (Ok fine, it’s literally the only Indian recipe I’ve tried.) I was glad it wasn’t too spicy for everyone since I tend to like things pretty spicy and sometimes I forget that it can get a little out of control.

IMG_5821

We weren’t exactly sure what beer to pair with it but we settled on the Hardywood RVA IPA. I’m usually not a big fan of IPA’s but it was pretty good!

Lauren started things off with vegan nutballs which were like meatballs but meatless… obviously. It wouldn’t be a vegetarian party without nut meat. We also enjoyed “veggie” pigs in a blanket, delicious mozzarella skewers, a roasted corn salad, and other delicious bites! As soon as Brittany posts the recipe for her vegan + gluten free apple crisp she made for dessert, I’ll let you know! That was definitely a crowd favorite!

After an amazing dinner and lots of delicious beer, we ended the night with s’mores around a fire. T’was so marvelous I thought I’d link up with Katie!

Does it get better than that? I think not.

What was the best part of your weekend?

Frugal Friday- 3 Cheese White Pizza

I told Alex I was going to stop over-committing us to things and then I planned something for every night of the week. Oops. So this week has absolutely flown by but it has been filled with dinners with friends and lots of house-related things.

Last night we had dinner at The Betty on Davis with a friend who moved away and was back for a visit. My ratatouille was good, but the chocolate brownie with peanut butter mousse was definitely the show stopper:

I can’t resist peanut butter and chocolate.

I’ve also been craving pizza lately. We don’t order it often, but we do make it occasionally. Usually I’m more of a red sauce person when I’m ordering pizza because white pizza tends to be very greasy and heavy but if you make it yourself then it doesn’t have to be quite so greasy. I thought I’d share my favorite white pizza recipe since it’s an awesome budget friendly recipe and it’s so easy to make. This would also be a great recipe for kids and you can customize it however you like.

As always, this Frugal Friday recipe serves 2 and costs less than $10 to make!

white pizza recipe

  • Garlic Naan- $3
  • Roma Tomatoes- $1
  • Ricotta Cheese- $2
  • Mozzarella- $2
  • Feta- $2
  • Basil, parmesan, oregano, or red pepper flakes (optional)

I usually try to keep some naan in the freezer so that when a craving hits, I’m ready. Obviously any flatbread would work, but the garlicky crust is extra tasty!

white pizza

Click here for the full recipe!

White pizza or red pizza?

Tuesdays Meals & House Update

Phew, yesterday was quite a day. We had the home inspection on the house we’re (hopefully) buying and it needs a fair amount of work, but we weren’t terribly surprised by anything, since the house is pretty old. I’ll share yesterday’s eats with you but I have to warn you that there is an embarrassing lack of vegetables here. Like none (unless you count a handful of unpictured baby carrots.) But you know what? Sometimes that’s how life goes and you just have to roll with it! So I’m thinking up with Jenn to show you what I ate!

I started off the day with a peanut butter + banana smoothie.

banana smoothie

This was 1 cup of ice cubes, 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk, 1 small banana, 1/4 cup peanut flour, bit of sweetener.

I had a small apple for a snack but half of it ended up being pretty bruised so I didn’t eat much of it. My stomach was growling by 11:30! I ended up grabbing a quick bite at my apartment before running over to the new house to meet the home inspector.

frozen pizza

I know, frozen pizza, be impressed. Really though, this Culinary Circle Ultra Thin Crust Margarita Pizza is pretty delicious. It’s also not to terribly bad for you, so if you’ve got a pizza craving, try it!

We spent most of the afternoon following the inspectors around, asking questions, taking measurements, and taking pictures.

Our future house

I was hoping to share more pictures with you, but the person living there hasn’t totally moved out yet, and it would be weird showing you pictures of her stuff. But here’s a little sneak peek of the master bedroom leading into the sunroom! There is SO much natural light in that sunroom.

After our home adventures, our small group came over for dinner, so I made a huge pan of ravioli. It wasn’t my most creative recipe but I usually play it safe if I’m cooking for a big group.

I’ll have to borrow Betty Crocker’s photo since I didn’t want to be rude and pull out my camera to snap 100 pictures while everyone was waiting to eat. You can find the recipe here. It turned out well, and I mostly followed the recipe, although I made a slightly bigger batch and I added in some crushed tomatoes and additional seasoning. It turned out similar to a lasagna but it was so easy to throw together. (Then again, lasagna in a crockpot was pretty easy…) There was also an unpictured chocolate chip cookie… because every day should end on a sweet note!

Clearly I need to make up for lost veggies today! But I have to admit, eating pizza and pasta all day tasted pretty good!

Which do you like better: pizza or pasta?

Red Lobster Biscuit Recipe

I think I’ve only been to Red Lobster twice in my life. The last time was probably in… 2004? I honestly can’t remember. But what I can remember is those pillows of cheddar goodness. When I was in high school, I found a Red Lobster Biscuit Recipe that was pretty good but I can’t remember exactly what it was and I’m pretty sure it used Bisquick. I don’t have anything against Bisquick, I just don’t usually have it on hand.

Anyways. I was searching Pinterest for some ideas for our fall-themed cooking club and when I saw a biscuit recipe, the lightbulb came on. While these might not be the healthiest side dish on the block, who can turn down a cheddar biscuit? I went rogue and came up with my own recipe since all the ones I could find online used pre-made biscuits or Bisquick. I was really excited about how these turned out!

red lobster cheddar biscuit recipe

Red Lobster Biscuit Recipe
Recipe type: Biscuit
Cuisine: Red Lobster
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12 biscuits
 
This Red Lobster Biscuit Recipe will give you the perfect cheddar bay biscuit!
Ingredients
  • 1 cup whole milk (2% would probably work)
  • 2 tbsp white vinegar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 1½ teaspoons garlic powder
  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter, softened and diced
  • 1½ cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • Topping:
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 425.
  2. Lay out a slipat or parchment paper on a large baking sheet.
  3. In a small dish, combine the whole milk and the vinegar and set aside.
  4. Start by mixing the flour and cornstarch in a large bowl until well combined.
  5. Stir in the baking powder, baking soda, salt, & garlic powder.
  6. Using your hands, work in the butter. It should be somewhat soft. You can knead it until the mixture because sort of a crumbly, sticky combination.
  7. Stir in the shredded cheese.
  8. Last, mix in the milk. At this point, the batter will be pretty sticky and thick.
  9. Scoop in ¼ cup mounds onto your baking sheet.
  10. While those are in the oven. Melt the last 4 tbsp of butter and combine with the garlic powder and parsley. Set aside.
  11. Bake for 10 minutes.
  12. Remove from the oven and brush with the butter + garlic mixture.
  13. Pop them back in the oven for 6 minutes until just beginning to brown.

I brought a plate of these to last night’s cooking club dinner and I think they were a hit! I probably should have made a bigger batch, because I’m sure Alex wouldn’t have minded me bringing home leftovers!

Red lobster biscuit recipe

They were best right out of the oven, but they were pretty good at room temperature as well. They were so marvelous, I’m linking up with Katie!

In other news, the inspection for the house is tomorrow so we’re praying that goes smoothly. I’ve been pinning like a mad woman and I just want to move in and make the house a home! You can see some of my favorites on my I Heart Homemaking pin board.

Have you ever had a cheddar biscuit?

Frugal Friday- Vegetarian Crockpot Lasagna

Thank goodness it’s Friday. This week has been a little crazy and I’m ready for the weekend! My friend Eric (the one who moved to Dallas last year) was in town this week so he came over for dinner last night. Eric is one of those people that you could talk to for hours and hours and feel like only 10 minutes has passed. I’m sad he lives so far away now, but we’ve been able to keep in touch pretty well.  I decided to try making a crockpot recipe so I wouldn’t have to worry about throwing something together right after work.

I’m honestly not much of a crockpot expert. The whole idea of it weirds me out a little. (Like, I’m intentionally leaving this appliance on all day? That seems scary.) But I figured it was time to try some new things. I happened to have the basic ingredients for lasagna in my pantry so the question was:

Can you make lasagna in a crockpot?

Answer: Yes. Yes, you can.

This timing worked out perfectly since it’s Friday and I wanted to share a budget friendly recipe with you! This makes a huge portion but it’s still cheap!

vegetarian crockpot lasagna

5.0 from 3 reviews

Vegetarian Crockpot Lasagna
Recipe type: Vegetarian
Cuisine: Italian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
This recipe only takes a few minutes to throw together and then it’s ready when you come home from work!
Ingredients
  • 8 lasagna noodles (uncooked)
  • 1 12 oz can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 24 oz jar of pasta sauce
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2 cups ricotta cheese
  • Handful of spinach
  • ¾ cup water.
Instructions
  1. Spray the inside of the crockpot with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Add about ½- 1 cup of the crushed tomatoes to the bottom of the crockpot. (The amount will depend on how large your crockpot is. Mine is huge so I used about 1 cup.)
  3. Place 1 layer of lasagna noodles on the bottom. You’ll have to break them up a bit to make them fit. That’s ok, it doesn’t have to be pretty.
  4. Top with ½ the ricotta cheese and spinach leaves.
  5. Add a layer of mozzarella cheese.
  6. Repeat- noodles, ricotta, spinach, mozzarella, noodles.
  7. Add the cup of water to the pasta sauce jar and shake. Pour over the layers.
  8. Top with cheese.
  9. Put the crockpot on low for about 6 hours. Let sit for a few minutes then cut and serve!
  10. Note: My guess is that all crockpots are not created equal, so you may need to adjust the amount of water to add. Play around with it and see. I think this recipe would be hard to mess up!

vegetarian lasagna in a crockpot

And this crockpot lasagna is healthy on the budget, too!

  • Ricotta Cheese- $2.50
  • Shredded Mozzarella Cheese- $2
  • Crushed tomatoes- $1
  • Marinara Sauce- $2.50
  • Lasagna Noodles- $1
  • Spinach- $1

You could certainly add in more veggies, I just didn’t have much else on hand. I also sprinkled it with a little fresh basil just before serving. It adds a nice pop of color! Shredded parmesan never hurt either. So many options, so little time.

For more budget friendly recipes, visit the new Frugal Friday Recipe Page!

What’s your favorite thing to make in a crockpot?

Our Crazy Weekend

I told myself I would wait until things were more finalized before blogging about it but… isn’t the whole point of blogging to (over) share? So while things are still a little up in the air I just have to tell you!

Alex+Liz-144

We’re buying a house!

We’ve been looking for a while but hadn’t done anything official until last week when we met with our realtor. We looked at 4 open houses on Saturday while my parents were in town and it was very… informative. We realized that what we were looking for was pretty specific and finding the right house in our price range wasn’t going to be easy. There was a 5th house we wanted to see but they weren’t doing any showings until an open house on Sunday. So we stopped by Sunday afternoon.

As soon as I walked in and saw a big, open kitchen I texted my parents and told them to come meet us at the open house. We spent about an hour chatting with the realtor who was selling the house, talking with neighbors in the area, and going over every inch of the house. We both knew it was what we were looking for.

After a cup of coffee and a lot of discussion… We knew we wanted to make an offer. The rest of the night was a blur. Good thing we had coffee.

We walked into the house around 3pm. By 10pm we had made an offer, they countered, and we accepted. 

We have the inspection on Tuesday so we are praying that everything goes smoothly. Assuming we don’t run in to any hurdles, we will be homeowners before the end of the year!

There is no one I would rather be on this adventure with more than Alex!

Alex+Liz-38 Alex+Liz-38

Got any first time home buying advice for us?

Mini Dark Chocolate Cakes

Phew! It has been a family filled weekend which is one of my favorite things! My parents have been in town over the past few days and it is so awesome having them here. I’m so lucky to live in the same city as my brother, sister in law, and adorable nephew, so it’s awesome when my parens come for a visit.

jack's grandma and grandpa

We’re hoping they move here soon! It’s pretty hard to resist adorable baby smiles, so we think they’ll cave in.  baby jack

It’s been an exciting weekend, but I can’t share the details quite yet. (Uh, no, we don’t have a baby on the way.) But I CAN share a new recipe with you!

These mini dark chocolate cakes are super delicious!

Mini Dark Chocolate cakes

5.0 from 1 reviews

Mini Dark Chocolate Cakes
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
These little cakes are so gooey and delicious. It makes 5-6 cakes total.
Ingredients
  • ½ cup flour
  • 3 tbsp cocoa powder
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ⅓ cup water
  • 3 tbsp mini chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Mix all the dry ingredients together.
  3. Stir in the greek yogurt, vanilla and water until just combined.
  4. Grease a muffin tin or mini baking tins.
  5. Scoop out the batter evenly into the tins.
  6. Sprinkle with mini chocolate chips.
  7. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until just set.

Sometimes I want dessert but I just want a little bit. These little cakes are perfect! They stored well in an air tight container for about 4 days. (They might have lasted longer… but I couldn’t resist them for any longer.)

IMG_5002 Mmm. Cake.

What’s the best cake you’ve ever had?

 

Frugal Friday- Tomato & Rice Soup

I’m so excited that it’s Friday! My parents are coming to visit this weekend and Monday is a holiday (thank you, Columbus Day!) so I’ve got a long weekend ahead. Last night, I went to a party at Shockoe Denim with Alex, Kate, AJ, and Christina. After a few beers (thank you Ardent Craft Ales!)

shockoe denim party

After the party we went to Southern Railway Taphouse for a few more drinks and some pretzel bites… and some fried macaroni and cheese egg rolls. Yes, really. It was so much fun, especially since it seems like everyone has been so busy lately and we haven’t had a chance to just hang out and talk!

Since it’s Friday, I’m sharing another “Frugal Friday” recipe with you. All of these frugal recipes will serve 2 for dinner for less than $10. (And for most of them, you’ll have plenty of leftovers for lunch the next day!)

Tomato soup is one of my favorite dishes, especially in the fall. We typically have ours with a grilled cheese, but this recipe is pretty hearty on its own. The rice adds a little extra filling to the soup. I typically like more soups more chunky, as it feels more like a meal that way.

tomato and rice soup

To be honest, this recipe is so inexpensive, you could certainly add a grilled cheese sandwich on the side and still stay under our $10 budget! This also makes a fairly large ammout of soup, so you’d probably have leftovers!

  • yellow onion- $1
  • diced tomatoes- $2.50
  • tomato paste- $1
  • Vegetable broth- $1
  • Brown rice- $0.50
  • Spices + olive oil

Click here for the full Tomato & Rice Soup Recipe!

What’s your favorite food to have with tomato soup?