Grilling & Chilling: Our favorite frugal summer BBQ meals + a BBQ scraper giveaway
This post is sponsored by BBQ Scraper. As always, all opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting TTBH.

Morning friends! How was your weekend? We were at a beautiful wedding on Saturday and rather than recovering from our super late night (think 3am) we were up and busy at 8am Sunday morning. After swimming lessons, a trip to the grocery store and a meeting with a potential daycare for Margsy we headed back to the house to get going on preparing some delicious food for our out guests who arrived at around place right around lunch time for a BBQ. I’m exhausted today but it was oh so worth it! Also, stay tuned for an awesome giveaway in honor of both Father’s Day and the beginning of the grilling season at the bottom of this post!

Grilling and chilling is probably our favorite summer activity. Seriously, nothing beats hanging round the fire pit, sipping cold drinks and grilling up a delicious meal with friends and family. When we lived in the apartment this sort of thing was pretty much impossible. Our place was small, we didn’t have a backyard and cramming a bunch of people onto our back balcony really wasn’t ideal. So, when we were buying our first home our priority was having an awesome backyard space that was inviting and would work well for big cookouts and BBQs.

Well, we got just that and we pretty much entertain every other weekend or so throughout the summer. As a frugal family that means that we’re spending a bit more money on grocery which if you’ve been reading for a little while you’ll know that we’re perfectly okay with because spending quality time with friends and family is important to us. Frugal living isn’t about deprivation folks (have a read of this post if you want even more clarification). I know I sound like  a broken record but frugal living gets a bad wrap when it comes to things like this and I’m all about demystifying those fallacies. Basically, if we feel that what we’re spending money on is important to us then we are perfectly okay with it! So, we entertain a ton because we love catching up with friends and family and spending quality time with them!

When it comes to preparing menus for our cookouts we absolutely apply frugal principles (If you’re interested in how we approach grocery shopping have a read of this post) We’ll never deprive our loved ones but we still try to be as conscious and frugal as possible when it comes to shopping for meals. So, today I want to share a few of our favorite BBQ meals that can feed a bunch of people delicious food on a pretty decent budget! They are all super easy to put together too which is a huge bonus!


Marinated Chicken: We like to keep things super simple in these parts. Our go to marinade is actually no-name  Italian salad dressing. We marinate our chicken for approximately 24 hours in a zip lock bag in the refrigerator and then grill it up on our BBQ. The awesome thing about preparing chicken this way is that you can marinate any type of chicken: chicken legs, breast, thigh and even wings work really really well. The chicken is always incredibly moist and flavorful.

Grilled potato and red onion salad: After scrubbing potatoes clean I chop them into cubes. I then add some raw red onion and toss everything in a bowl with some olive oil, salt and pepper. Once they’re well coated I transfer the potato and onions to a tin foil envelop and pop them on the grill for approximately 20 minutes. When the potatoes are fork tender I remove them from the foil, allow them to cool off and season with some fresh parsley, balsamic vinegar and garlic.

Grilled veggies: Veggies are so versatile and cook up beautifully on the BBQ. When planning a cookout we usually buy whatever veggies we can find on sale: bell peppers, asparagus, broccoli, snap peas, green beans etc. Once they’re washed I toss everything into a bowl and season with a little olive oil. I wrap them in tin foil and pop them on the BBQ. Once they’re cooked and cooled off I season with some greek yogurt, garlic and olive oil – salt and pepper to taste of course. Delicious, cost effective and incredibly healthy.

Grilled fruit salad with Mint: We love grilling up fruits like strawberries, watermelon and pineapple. Making fruit kabobs is an incredibly easy twist to make fruit even more delicious. After I’ve cut the fruit into bite sized pieces I toss them in a little vanilla extract and fresh mint. To prepare I just layer strawberries, melon and pineapple and pop on the grill for a few minutes allowing the fruit to develop char marks and just warm slightly through.

BBQ Scraper giveaway

When Mollen Living the awesome people behind BBQ Scraper reached out to me and offered to host this giveaway to one lucky TTBH reader in honor of Father’s Day and the start of grilling season I jumped on the opportunity because not only is their product eco-friendly but it makes cleaning your BBQ safe and easy .BBQ Scraper is 100% natural, as no chemicals or preservatives are used in the process allowing for a completely natural product!

The BBQ Scraper is awesome because it customizes itself to your grill pattern because of its soft wood which makes cleaning your grill a breeze. Once you use it on a hot grill a few times the wood takes on the shape of your grill and does an incredible job cleaning off all that messy gunk. After many many reports of BBQ brushes with bristles being unsafe Mer and I had actually abandoned our own BBQ brush in lieu of using crumpled up tin foil a few years back. In recent years, we were balling up a piece of tin foil and using long BBQ tongues to help guide the foil over the heated grills which although does the job semi-well, often results in singed arm hairs and skin burns. We tried the BBQ Scraper for the first time this weekend when prepping our grill for our friends and family BBQ and we’re hooked! The edge of BBQ Scraper is angled in such a way that grooves start to form into the scraper from it’s first use, quickly customizing to the user’s BBQ. The more it is used the deeper the grooves form until it perfectly surrounds the grilling surface and is able to perfectly clean the grill surface.

To enter the giveaway

It’s easy peasy.

  • Simply answer the question below to be entered to win a BBQ Scraper of your very own!
  • For extra entries tweet, pin and/or share this post on facebook and then post separate comments with the url to each of your shares in the comments below! Each share is an extra entry!
Like this post? Pin it to Pinterest!


Contest closes on Friday June 16th at 11:59 P.M. Winner will have a BBQ scraper shipped to them directly from Mollen Living! Open to U.S & Canada! Good luck!

What are your favorite BBQ recipe?


Don’t niche yourself into a corner 

Morning folks!

I hope you’re all having a great week so far. The weather in these parts has been pretty crummy but the forecast is calling for a good amount of sun coming up so things are due to improve which is great! Nothing sucks more than being stuck inside with a toddler who has suddenly realized that doors lead to amazing outside places. Needless to say, Margsy is super grumpy and just itching to get outside and play. I’ll often catch her standing at the front window pointing outdoors and saying “go, go, go”. Here’s hoping that sun starts peeking out really really soon.

So enough about my endless complaining about the weather. Today I actually want to talk to ya’ll about blog niches. In the last few weeks I’ve gotten a couple of emails from readers asking about blog niches and how I chose mine and if I have any suggestions to create a “successful” blog. So, to address these questions I’ll break this post in two because ultimately there’s a belief that selecting the correct blog “niche” will somehow lead to blog success and that some niches are inherently more successful than others.

So, to start off let’s look at what a blog niche is roughly defined as per google:

A niche website is a site that focuses on a narrow group of people in a larger market with a common specific interest. While targeting a very specific term that people use on search engines, a niche site offers its visitors helpful and quality content that answers a question or solves a problem

With that in mind we can come to the conclusion that specific topics like beauty, fashion, parenting, travel, food, recipe development, tech and frugal living can be considered examples of “niche” blogs.

Interestingly, if you do a few google searches for things like “how to create a niche blog”, “tips for a successful niche blog” and “niche blog success” most of the posts that you’ll return will give you essentially the same information. They all seem to promote this idea that narrowing down your blog to a specific topic that you’ll focus on exclusively  will brand you correctly and put you in a position to garner the greatest amount of success. Some of these articles even go so far as to tell you to pick a profitable niche regardless of whether the topic interests you or not. In this scenario the focus is on the end result of “success” and not necessarily on the value you bring to blogging.

Let’s be honest folks, if you’re not passionate, knowledgeable and interested in the topic you are writing about you’ll never become successful because that “drive” that is required to blog consistently will eventually fade away. Being consistent and dedicated to blogging is hard work even when you love your topic so going that route is really not the best course of action. If you don’t truly enjoy what you’re writing about then you’ll never have the drive to keep going. So, my advice is to find a niche you are passionate about. Love to write about parenting? Go for it. Love getting creative in the kitchen? Share your recipes! Love to create crafts and do DIY projects? Well, start taking photos and tell the entire world about it! Don’t love technology? Well, don’t write about! It’s really that simple.

3 Reasons why you don’t have to niche yourself into a corner

So now that we’ve gotten into this whole niche blogging thing I wanted to talk a little about why I personally believe that sticking to one niche is unnecessary and that you can become a successful blogger without necessarily limiting yourself to one area of “expertise”. My blog is relatively new and I’m so incredibly grateful to have gained traction and momentum when it comes to building a solid readership and following both here on This Tiny Blue House and on my social media platforms. My blog is somewhat successful because I believe that writing about things that I’m passionate about comes through in my writing (I hope). Now, because I’ve seen a small amount of success in a relatively short amount of blogging time doesn’t really give me any klout but, I’m sharing my opinions because I was asked to. Beyond this it’s up to you fine folks to take my advice for what it’s worth. This is where I stand with regards to blogging and clearly there will be other more or less successful bloggers who wholeheartedly disagree with me and that’s perfectly okay. This is just one opinion about situating yourself within this vast internet space we call the blogosphere.

So enough about that!  Let’s take my blog as example. I blog about a few different things, don’t I? I’ve written about financial stuff, frugal living, high risk pregnancy, parenting, minimalism, food, gardening and even blog tech stuff. I’m all over the place right? Well, all these topics interest me and fall within my interest profile. I truly enjoy writing about all these things and so I somehow manage to weave my posts in and out of these very different topics.

As a result I’m a mom blog, a frugal living blog, a simple living blog, a blog tech blog and miscarriage survivor blog all rolled up into one very messy package. I’m all of these things both offline and online and these are the topics that make me tick. So, I write about them – a lot.

Based on the information I presented to you above, I probably shouldn’t be seeing any success right? I don’t fit neatly into any one niche because I never blog exclusively about frugal living, parenting, simple living or blog tech. Instead, I try and find a balance between writing about all of them since in many ways my interests are fluid and very much overlapping.

In a nutshell and to summarize you shouldn’t niche yourself into a corner because

1] Chances are you are not solely interested in one “niche”. Instead, you’re interests are likely varied, different and overlapping. Use your blog as a way to find an intersection of the many different interest profiles that dominate your life. Not only will you be providing your readers with varied content I bet you’ll have an easier time coming up with fresh content because you’ll have so many awesome categories and interests to pick from.

2] Readers aren’t exclusively interested in one niche either. It’s perfectly okay to have readers who pop in and out to read your frugal living posts but not your parenting posts! You don’t have to appeal to any one specific category of reader at all times. Offering a varied menu allows for different groups of readers to make their way over to your blog and share their ideas which in most cases can offer interesting and fresh perspectives.

3] Niche blogging limits your opportunities as a blogger. Again, totally my opinion but narrowing down your blog and packaging it up to fit into one very specific category really limits your potential. When blogs start to take off and blogging requirements include consistency it’s difficult to draft engaging, original and well thought out content day after day. So, leaving your possibilities open because you enjoy writing about different topics and themes can really help you stay on top of your blogging game. When a blog starts to generate revenue, niche blogging can go one of two ways. Take TTBH for example, when it comes to sponsored posts my varied content has allowed me to connect with a bunch of very cool companies that don’t necessarily fit into the same category. Had I blogged exclusively within one niche then I highly doubt I’d be presented with the same possibilities and variety. Having said that, niche blogging is known for generating a ton of revenue because of the very specific readership that comes with it. Despite this, I’m really of the mindset that it’s better to leave your options open (if that’s your thing) and give yourself as many opportunities as possible.

Like this post? Kindly share it to Pinterest to spread the word!

So tell me, are you a niche blogger? What are your thoughts?


20 frugal and delicious recipe ideas

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!



World’s Best Taco Soup from I heart Naptime

Savory Bacon Zucchini Frittata from The Nourishing Gourmet



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



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


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



Bean and Cheese Burritos from Pink Parsley

Salmon Patties from The Spruce

Quick Chicken Pot Pie from My Recipes

Hamburger Stroganoff from

Salsa Chicken Casserole spoon.jpg


Salsa Chicken CasseroleSalsa Chicken Casserole from Budget Bytes

Walnut Breadcrumb Pasta from My Recipes


Have any favorite frugal recipes to share?

Giving credit where credit is due!













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:


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.


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! 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?


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!







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:


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!



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).




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?








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


[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


[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


[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



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





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.