One huge misconception about frugal living is that by taking a frugal approach to grocery shopping you consequently cannot eat well.

Food is expensive with fresh produce and meat likely the most costly of the items that make their way into your cart. At the outset of our journey, I vowed that I wouldn’t compromise the quality of the food we eat because what you eat is so important for living a healthy lifestyle. Not surprisingly, we had to get creative when it came to preparing meals because our grocery budget had to last us all week including, breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. No exceptions. On average, we’re currently spending under 100$ per week to feed our family of 3.

Below are 20 of our  frugal family favorites. We’ve made each of these recipes and really enjoy them and I hope you do too if you decide to try them!

taco-soup-recipe.jpg

[1]

World’s Best Taco Soup from I heart Naptime

Savory Bacon Zucchini Frittata from The Nourishing Gourmet

ShepherdsPieTop

[2]

Lentil & Sweet Potato Shepards Pie from One Ingredient Chef

Cobb salad with Blue Cheese Dressing from 100 Days of Real Food

Sausage, Potato & Pepper Skillet from 5$ Dinners

simple-chicken-coconut-soup

[3]

Coconut Chicken Soup from Frugal Living NW

Sweet Ham & Swiss Sliders from Double the Batch

Loaded Vegetable Soup from Cozy Country Living

Salsa Chicken in the Slow Cooker from The Happy Housewife

[4]

Meatball Parmesan Casserole from Shugary Sweets

Swiss Chard Tomato Quiche from Real Food Real Deals

Slow Cooked Whiskey Molasses Shredded Beef from Frugal Minded Mom

Broccoli Cheese Soup from Don’t Sweat the Recipe

Fish Tacos in a Bowl from Frugal, Debt Free Life

5762718207_abff3ec718.jpg

[5]

Bean and Cheese Burritos from Pink Parsley

Salmon Patties from The Spruce

Quick Chicken Pot Pie from My Recipes

Hamburger Stroganoff from Food.com

Salsa Chicken Casserole spoon.jpg

[6]

Salsa Chicken CasseroleSalsa Chicken Casserole from Budget Bytes

Walnut Breadcrumb Pasta from My Recipes

QOD

Have any favorite frugal recipes to share?


Giving credit where credit is due!

1/ http://www.iheartnaptime.net/taco-soup-recipe/

2/ http://www.oneingredientchef.com/sweet-potato-shepherds-pie/

3/ http://www.frugallivingnw.com/healthy-coconut-chicken-soup-recipe-paleo-gluten-free-dairy-free/

4/ http://www.shugarysweets.com/2014/02/meatball-parmesan-casserole

5/ http://www.pink-parsley.com/2011/06/bean-and-cheese-burritos.html

6/ https://www.budgetbytes.com/2013/01/salsa-chicken-casserole/

Save

Save

Save

Save

Follow:

pool

Hi there and happy Friday! Have anything fun planned this weekend?

We’ve got a few family commitments in addition to toddler activities to keep us busy! If you haven’t had a chance to pop in this week and would like to catch up, here are the posts that I published this week:

Highs

Margs’ swimming lessons were a success. Overall, it went quite well. She was a little apprehensive when the instructor asked me to help her float on her back but when it came to jumping in from the pool ledge or using the slide she was super excited! We’re hoping that as the weeks pass she’ll get more comfortable in the water and really love her lessons. I don’t think it helped that both grandmas were there watching! Margs would look for them instead of concentrating on what we were doing in the pool.

bubbles

Having my mom here! She’s given me a morning break almost every day this week. Margs has enjoyed napping at “Bubbies” so I’ve taken advantage of my time off to do things for myself – blogging, reading, tidying. It’s really amazing how an hour of alone time changes my perspective. I’m so so grateful to have her here.

Apple-Cinnamon-Pork-Chops-6

[1]

Apple cinnamon pork chops! This meal was delicious. I ended up loading up my freezer with pork chops because they were on sale and beyond baking them in the oven or grilling them on the BBQ, I don’t have any great pork recipes that use time and time again. This was delicious, easy to make and husband, bubbie and baby approved. I’ll be adding this to our rotation for sure. Do you have any really great pork chop recipes to share?

Lows

Margs took a nasty fall. Poor little girl scraped her nose when she face planted into the pavement on Monday. We had just come back from the grocery store when she spotted the neighbors son who she “plays” with (chases him around more than anything). She got so excited that she stumbled and fell face first into the road. Her nose is pretty banged up but once she calmed down she was oblivious to what had just happened and just continued to play. Kids are amazing like that aren’t they?

PicMonkey Collage

Heaps and heaps of snow. Stella came to pay us a visit! Mer commuted for over 3 hours on Tuesday night. The storm hit us pretty hard and Wednesday was an inside day. Mer worked from home and we slowly dug ourselves out. Our issue here is that we have nowhere to put the snow. Technically, we aren’t allowed to dump it in the street but the volume of snow made it difficult to dig out. We put half on our property and the rest on the street. Thankfully, our sweet neighbor brought out his snow blower and gave us an enormous hand by clearing the entrance to our driveway. I’ll be baking him a batch of cookies as a thank you. Kindness is truly a beautiful thing.

My good friend was stuck on the highway overnight because of the storm. I knew she commuted that stretch of high way and around 7pm I sent a text to check in on her when news reports started reporting that there were hundreds of commuters stuck on that stretch of road. She got back to me and let me know that she was in fact stuck and that emergency response wasn’t  coming to help people get out. At one point we were trying to coordinate a way to head down there and pick her up. We live a few hours west of Montreal and because of the weather it was impossible to get out there and help her out. We kept in touch throughout the night by text message and I was so relieved to hear that emergency crews finally made their way to help these poor people out in the early morning on Wednesday. If you’re interested in reading the article about this disaster go here. So glad she was safe but so disappointed by the lack of response. Unacceptable.

What are your highs and lows for this fine week of March 13th?


Giving credit where credit is due!

[1] http://www.gimmesomeoven.com/apple-cinnamon-pork-chops/

Save

Save

Save

Follow:

february27th

If you’re interested in reading previous installments of Highs & Lows go here, here and here!

If you’re looking to catch up on this weeks posts, this is what’s been going on around these parts:

Highs

Hosting my very first giveaway here on This Tiny Blue House. I’m super excited folks, I’ve got an amazing giveaway lined up for Monday morning! Make sure to check back for a chance to enter to win something that has really stolen my heart. When I started this blog in November, I never thought this blog would be anything more than an online journal (it still is in certain respects) with really no audience. I’m realizing that the blogosphere is just an incredible place with so many amazing people and opportunities!

I’ve lost 4 lbs! Recently, I’ve gotten really serious about trying to lose the leftover baby weight. Actually, my weight gain came after Margs was born which is pretty ridiculous if you think of it. Basically, poor food choices for convenience led me to gain a few extra pounds and I just wasn’t in the right frame of mind to really tackle the problem until now. I don’t plan to blog about healthier eating or weight loss because I’m not doing anything ground breaking, just eating better and moving more. But, I might include some progress updates in my weekly Friday roundup posts. I’m 4lbs closer to my goal weight so that’s definitely a high for this week!

low-carb-cabbage-rolls

[1]

Trying out two new amazing and healthyish recipes this week. I’m trying to watch my carb intake and decided to make these low carb cabbage rolls for dinner on Wednesday. They were SO good and so satisfying and created a ton of leftovers for lunches. And, for dessert and breakfasts this week I’ve been enjoying this flourless peanut butter mug cake. It’s so easy to make and packed with protein (I omit the sugar altogether).

f3bf035daef05dfd03556f2bb5d67367

[2]

Lows

Concerns with my consignment. Man, I’m a little bummed and worried guys. I passed by the consignment shop on Tuesday to have a look at new summer stock and asked about my own shop balance. The lady who owns the place quoted me a number that just made no sense and when I asked her to itemize the items she’d sold there were a bunch of things I’d brought in that were no longer in the store but not on the list. When I listed off the items that were missing she told me that she hadn’t updated the system yet but guys I got such an uneasy feeling about it. Mer had warned me to keep track of exactly what I brought her and how much she was selling it for and I should have known better and listened to him. She told me she’d email me with an updated list by the end of the week and I’m still waiting. Just, not cool.

My right hip has been bothering me all week. I have some issues with my back muscles and hip joints since coming off bed rest. Every once and awhile my hips “flare” up which makes climbing stairs really difficult. It started on Monday evening and it’s till bothering me quite a bit. I’ve been doing hot soaks at the end of the day which do help some but I’m just about ready for this pain to go away. I really take my mobility for granted most days and chasing after a very active toddler is pretty tough when every step you take hurts. Hoping for some relief soon!

What are your highs and lows for this fine week of February 27th?


Sources

[1] http://www.lowcarb-ology.com/cabbage-rolls-without-carbs/

[2] http://kirbiecravings.com/2014/05/flourless-peanut-butter-mug-cake-3.html

Save

Save

Follow:

pexels-photo-119637

Say that 5 times, fast! ha!

Eating good quality, tasty, healthyish and budget friendly food is such an important part of our lifestyle here at This Tiny Blue House. Mer has a big appetite – he’s a meat and potatoes kind of guy while although I enjoy my meat and potatoes I tend to prefer more savory combinations of protein and vegetables. Our meal plans are often a mix of both and after some trial and error we’ve settled on a few recipes that satisfy both our palettes and make repeat appearances week after week.

I don’t create recipes – I modify them. So, I take absolutely zero credit for the base recipes I’m providing below. What I am offering is a few frugal hacks to reduce the cost of each dish without sacrificing the quality and taste.

I generally prepare and cook all these dishes on Sundays. I then store them in our fridge and pop them into the oven to reheat as we need them throughout the week. I cannot tell you how much easier this makes life – not only is dinner prepared but there is virtually no clean up.

Mediterranean Chicken from The Clever Carrot

IMG_88641.jpg

[Source: 1]

First, we omit the bocconcini altogether. I’m not a fan of melted bocconcini and quite honestly this dish is incredibly tasty and satisfying without it. We then substitute 1 can of artichokes for a can of marinated artichokes (price difference is roughly 2$), using our own oil and spices to marinate the chicken. Chicken thighs are weirdly more expensive than chicken breast in this area so to save a couple of bucks we use breast. Finally, we use frozen herbs from our summer garden instead of fresh.

It produces approx 6 servings so plenty for dinner and leftovers for lunches. It’s Margs approved too. Frugal math tells me that it comes our to roughly 3$ per serving.

Cottage Pie from BBC Good Food

recipe-image-legacy-id--1074465_10.jpg

[Source 2]

This is probably our current favorite since it’s so savory and has such great depth of flavor. I actually found this recipe by accident, decided to give it a try and have continued to make it ever since. To save a a couple of bucks I buy the economy size container of ground beef so I can make two pies at the same time. I also use frozen mixed veggies instead of fresh and sometimes omit the cheese in the potato mash altogether. Frugal math tells me this runs about 2.20$ per serving.

Unstuffed Cabbage Role Casserole from Give Recipe

c51df1ff43bd7e374603296d448669bc

[Source: 3]

This is a great recipe that can be eaten as a side dish with a meat protein or by itself. I usually make this once a week and we use it many different ways during the week. It’s great for a quick lunch or to go along side roast chicken for dinner. To frugalize the recipe we often omit the beef altogether and add frozen white beans from our garden instead. Frugal math tells me this runs around 1.00 per serving. Also, we omit the mint because we just don’t do mint in this house.

Pasta e fagioli con Proscuito– due amiche in cucina

pasta-e-fagioli-con-prosciutto-di-parma-e-croste-di-parmigiano-reggiano-1

[Source:4]

I actually grew up eating this at least once per week and until very recently I hated it. With the cold weather and lack of time to prepare more complex meals during the week Mer and I have really started to appreciate a hearty bowl of pasta and bean soup. To save some cash we use bacon instead of prosciutto – honestly, prosciutto just tastes funky when cooked so we prefer the bacon. We use frozen garden beans and our own homemade tomato sauce. This recipe essentially costs us a half bag of pasta and a few strips of bacon. Frugal math tells me this sets us back roughly 0.60 cents per serving.

What are some of your go to favorite meals? I love trying new recipes so I would greatly appreciate any that you have to share!


Giving credit where credit is due
[1] http://www.theclevercarrot.com/2013/05/dinner-tonight-mediterranean-baked-chicken/
[2] http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/775643/cottage-pie
[3] http://www.giverecipe.com/unstuffed-cabbage-casserole
[4] http://www.dueamicheincucina.ifood.it/2015/04/pasta-e-fagioli-con-prosciutto-di-parma-e-croste-di-parmigiano-reggiano.html

Save

Save

Save

Follow:

I signed up with wordpress yesterday with this desire to share my thoughts and ideas with the world. That’s a grand gesture no? I mean, my intention was to create a place where I could share my thoughts, recipes, DIY ideas and discuss parenting because parenting is so so hard most days. Then, I sat there staring at this tiny blog wondering how in the world would I introduce myself  to “the world”. Let’s be honest, maybe one person is going to read this right? In any case, I struggled to come up with a grand way to introduce myself and really summarize what this blog is all about. I guess I’m not even 100% sure what this blog is all about – I just know that I’d like to communicate with people.

So here goes.

I’m Jenny. I’m a mid-thirties (how the eff did that happen?) mom to one living child (more about that another day). I live in a tiny blue cottage in a gorgeous little suburb  outside a major Canadian city. My husband and I moved here with our tiny bundle just over 3 months ago. This is our first home, it’s a work in progress and we’re loving every minute of establishing our lives here as a family of three.

I’m a stay at home mom. Before this I educated other people’s kids and loved it. Now, I spend my days loving on my miracle and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I plan to write about our adventures a lot.

I also love to cook and bake and do all those other housewifey things (who would have thought – I originally started off in the corporate world and would never in a gazillion years thought I’d ever enjoy this mom and housewife gig). I plan to write about that too. Share recipes and stuff- because everyone like to eat. I try to cook healthy but ya know sometimes good tasting food is important too.

I’m also somewhat of a minimalist (recently – since the move because we had so much shit cluttering our lives) . I’ll write about that too from time to time.

I’m also an anxious mess. I was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder about 10 years ago. I’m medicated and feeling well-ish these days but I have my moments. Raising a kid with anxiety is effing hard. Really hard. I’d like to write about that too.

Clearly this is a hodge podge. Clearly I’ve got nothing and everything to say about everything and nothing all at the same time.

Follow along. Share your experiences. Talk to me.

And now, a photo of our walk through Saint Bernard Island Sanctuary yesterday because how else am I going to end this big awkward “this is me in a nutshell”, welcome to my blog post. Awwwwwkward.

IMG_1353

Follow: