Meal Planning Monday ~ Happy Campers


            This week’s post is by Leah Kelley.

          It’s summertime and for many of us, that means camping.  I love to camp!  And I do the “real” camping in a tent – no RV for this outdoor girl!   My husband and I are planning a family camping trip this summer, once it cools down a bit.  It’s been super-hot here in the Cincinnati area and I am not a hot weather person.  One of the best parts of “roughing it” is food cooked over the campfire!  I did some searching on Pinterest and found some unconventional campfire recipes.  Sure, you can cook the traditional hot dogs, hamburgers, and s’mores, but mixing in a little variety will make for some very happy campers.

Campfire Monkey Bread ~ I know what you’re thinking. “Isn’t monkey bread only made at home?”  Nope.  Just check out this recipe; it’s easy and looks delicious!

Foil Packets ~ These are awesome!  You can pretty much put any combination of meat and veggies in foil packets to cook on your campfire.  Here are some great recipe variations:

Breakfast Over a Campfire ~ Yes please!  I love breakfast and I love campfires!  Put the two together and this girl is in love.

Pizza over a Fire~ Crazy, huh?!


Fried Biscuits (Thanks to for the recipe.)

You don’t need an oven for this Southern breakfast favorite.

Serves 4

Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 10 minutes


1 Large can of biscuits
1/2 stick of butter or margarine

1. Add a teaspoon of butter in a pan, moving it around and allowing the butter to coat the bottom of the pan.
2. Slice the biscuits in half and place them in the pan.  Make sure that you don’t overcrowd the pan.
3. Cook over a low fire for about 5 minutes on each side.


Meal Planning Monday ~ Low Carb Meal Ideas

          I love carbs!  I love pasta, bread, rice, pretzels, cake, and muffins!  However, I don’t love the effect of too many carbs in my diet: feeling sluggish, bloated, and puffy.  Maybe that’s one of the reasons they call it a “muffin top”!  I recently read an article in First for Women  magazine that showed carb-cutting for two consecutive days per week (then eating a well-balanced diet the rest of the time) was actually better for blood sugar control and weight loss than constant carb-cutting.  That’s good news, because I wouldn’t give up my beloved spaghetti, tacos, or mashed potatoes.  I thought this week I would share some low-carb dinner ideas that are so tasty, you’ll barely miss the starch!

Veggie Spaghetti ~ Instead of using pasta with my sauce, I will sauté bell peppers, zucchini, and onions cut into strips in a little olive oil.  I will use my veggie strips as the “pasta” and top it with spaghetti sauce with ground turkey or Italian style sausage.

Salad with Beans ~  I like making a big Greek Chicken Salad with baby spinach, garbanzo beans, chicken, cucumbers, feta cheese, and a sprinkling of pine nuts.  The garbanzo beans have a good balance of protein, carbs, and fiber so you feel satisfied, not stuffed.  You could also make a taco salad minus the shell and add some black beans for a filling dinner salad.

 Oven Fried Chicken ~ Find the recipe here.  The chicken is only lightly dusted with bread crumbs and coated with cooking spray.  It seems the bone-in chicken breasts in the stores are colossal, so pairing it with a side salad is plenty of food!

Foil Packets on the Grill ~ These foil packets are great because you can switch up the meat, using chicken, beef, pork, even shrimp. 

Grilled Mushrooms ~ Brush some Portobello mushrooms with a little Italian dressing and toss them on the grill alongside your steak, salmon, or chicken.  Because mushrooms are 80 to 90% water, they help to fill you up with very few calories.

            What is your favorite low-carb meal or recipe?








Happy Birthday, Leah!


          I want to wish my sister, Leah Kelley, who helps me with the Meal Planning Monday posts and the Confessions of a Coupon Queen Facebook page a VERY Happy Birthday today!  She does SO much for me, there’s no way I could thank her enough.

          And because it’s Leah’s birthday (and I am on vacation), there will be no Meal Planning Monday post this week. Hey, I think both Leah and I deserve a day off every now and then!


Happy Birthday Sis!

Lazy Sunday Crock Pot Recipes

          I was a little surprised the other day when one of my friends said that she puts her crock pot away in April and doesn’t get back out until October. I use my crock pot in the summer to keep my kitchen from getting up to 100 degrees in July! I try to use my oven as little as possible. Sure I use the grill a ton in the summer, but not every day. Here are some great “lazy Sunday” recipes from my fellow coupon bloggers that will keep your kitchen cool and your family happy!  My new favorite crock pot recipe is included at the end, Beer Chicken in the Crock Pot.  If you haven’t tried it yet, you need to!

Crock Pot Loaded Baked Potato Soup


6 large baking potatoes, peeled, cut in 1/2 -inch cubes
1 large onions, chopped
1 quart chicken broth
3 garlic cloves, minced ( or pressed)
1/4 cup butter
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 cup cream or 1 cup half-and-half cream
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
1 cup sour cream (optional)
8 slices bacon, fried & crumbled
cheese, for sprinkling


Combine first seven ingredients in a large crock pot; cover and cook on HIGH for 4 hours or LOW for 8 hours (potato should be tender).
Mash mixture until potatoes are coarsely chopped and soupy is slightly thickened.
Stir in cream, cheese and chives.
Top with sour cream (if used), sprinkle with bacon and more cheese.


Crock Pot Chicken Nachos

·         1 bag tortilla chips
·         4 to 6 chicken breasts
·         1 cup salsa (hot or mild to taste)
·         2 cups Monterey Jack cheese, grated
·         1/2 cup sour cream
·         1/2 cup guacamole

Place the tortilla chips on the bottom of the crock pot. Arrange the chicken breasts over the tortilla chips. Add the salsa, cover and cook on low for 8 hours. Add the cheese and continue to cook until the cheese is melted.
Remove the chicken mixture from the crock pot and place in serving dish. Serve with sour cream, guacamole and fresh tortilla chips.
Note: the chicken breasts can be cut into smaller pieces when serving as an appetizer, or left whole to serve as a main dish.

Thanks Tianna’s Coupon Cafe ~ This is great during football season! 

Crock Pot Meatloaf

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 8 hours
Total Time: 8 hours, 5 minutes
Yield: Serves 9


·         3 pounds of lean hamburger
·         2 eggs
·         1 sleeve saltine crackers
·         Milk
·         Ketchup
·         Salt and pepper
·         1 small onion, chopped


Beat eggs – add crackers. Add enough milk to moisten all. Add hamburger….squish all together with your hands. Season to taste. Place in slow cooker or Crock Pot….shape to fit, flatten. Pour ketchup on top (enough to cover completely) Crock on low all day 8 – 12 hours.

Thanks Couponing with Boys ~ This works best if you drain the grease out a couple of times during the cook time.

Cubed Steak with Mushroom Gravy

Beef cubed steak browned with onions and covered with cream of mushroom soup

1 pound beef cubed steak browned
1 whole onion diced and browned
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 tablespoon flour
1/3 cup milk
2 tablespoons oils

Coat beef cubed steak in flour. Brown beef cubed steak and onions in small amount of oil. (Adjust the oil to your liking.) Use salt and pepper as needed.

Mix milk and flour into a paste in crockpot. Add beef cubed steak and onions to crock pot. Spoon cream of mushroom soup over top.
Cook on low 4 – 6 hours or on high for 2 – 3 hours.

NOTE: You can use larger amounts of beef cubed steak with no problems. You may need to add more soup depending on how much meat you use.

Thanks Coupons in Motion ~ I use the pre-made mashed potatoes, add a vegetable and supper is ready.


Crockpot Peach Cobbler

Yields:  4-6 servings
Prep Time:  2-3 minutes
Cook Time:  4-5 hours


4 cups sliced peaches, fresh or canned (if using canned peaches, save the juice)
⅔ cup rolled dry oats
⅓ cup all-purpose baking mix
½ cup sugar
½ cup brown sugar
½ tsp. all spice or cinnamon
½ cup water or saved peach juice

1. Spray crockpot with a non-stick spray (i.e. Pam)
2. Place peaches in crockpot. Turn on Low.
3. In a separate bowl, mix all dry ingredients.
4. Stir in water (or peach juice).
5. Pour batter on top of peaches and stir until well-mixed.
6. Cover and cook on low. Stir occasionally.

Thanks Lynchburg Coupon Mama ~ Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt and enjoy!

Beer Chicken in the Crock Pot

4-6 Chicken Breasts or 1 Whole or cut-up Chicken
1 Can of any kind of Beer
1/2 tsp. Garlic Powder
1/2 tsp. Basil
1/2 tsp. Paprika
1/2 tsp. Black Pepper
1/2 tsp. Salt

Put all ingredients into crockpot.  If chicken is frozen, cook on high 4-5 hours or low 8-10 hours.  If chicken is fresh, cook on high 3-4 hours or low 7-8 hours.

Tell Me Tuesday ~ Coupon Secrets!

Great News!  I’ve teamed up with some fellow coupon bloggers to bring you some new and interesting blog posts this summer on how to save money, make mealtime easier, and other fun stuff!  Today is “Tell Me Tuesday,” and we’re talking about coupon secrets.  Have you ever wanted to peek inside a Coupon Queen’s brain and pick out her best tips?  Well, you’re in luck, because there are some great tips below!  The first one, from yours truly, is actually a rebate secret.  Do you have a coupon secret to share?  I’d love to hear it!

  • I check the beer aisle in the grocery stores for rebate forms.  Many of the rebates don’t require you to even buy beer!  For example, there was a rebate from Killian’s beer around St. Patrick’s Day.  You received a $3 rebate when you bought 2 pounds of ground meat and a 5-pound bag of potatoes in the same transactions.  That was a nice way to get a discount on meat and produce, no beer purchase required! Thanks Confessions of a Coupon Queen!
  • I am all for the shopping list. Plan out your shopping trip by store and exactly what you need at each store. Only take your coupons that you are going to be using that day so you don’t stray very far from what you are looking for. If you are a coupon binder person and love looking at clearance this may not work for you :) Thanks Clair’s Freebies!
  • Don’t cut coupons from your inserts. The best thing you can do is leave your inserts whole and file them by date. Most coupon blogs will tell you where the coupon is located by the date of the insert, and it’s a lot easier to search whole inserts rather than ones that are cut and sorted. Thanks Drugstore Divas!
  • One of my coupon tips is to always carry your coupons with you everywhere – you never know when you will come across an unadvertised deal or clearance items – you don’t want to miss out on extra savings! Thanks Coupon Savvy Sarah!

Meal Planning Monday ~ Strawberry Bliss

           Big, ripe, juicy strawberries are a sure sign that summer is here!  I love strawberries and I’m always looking for new ways to enjoy them.  The grocery stores are starting to run some great deals on berries, so now’s the time to stock up on them.  Stock up?!  Won’t the strawberries go bad before we can eat them all?  Not if you follow my tips!

            I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but it seems like strawberries start to rot just a day or so after you bring them home from the store.  I recently read a great tip for extending the life of your strawberries in First for Women magazine.  When you bring your berries home from the store, soak them in a solution of 2 ½ cups of water with ¼ of white or apple cider vinegar for ten minutes.  The vinegar will kill the mold spores and bacteria that cause the berries to rot and extend their shelf life.  Dry the berries and store as usual.  The vinegar is so diluted, it won’t affect the taste of the berries.

            Recently, my local Meijer store had strawberries on sale 5 for $5, which is an awesome deal!  There are only two people in my family, so even with the vinegar rinse, we wouldn’t eat all the berries before they passed their prime.  However, my husband and I love making protein smoothies, so I hulled and cut up the strawberries and froze them.  I put the sliced berries in snack sized baggies (the perfect portion for a smoothie) and then put the small baggies inside of a gallon freezer bag.  Frozen strawberries also make great additions to muffins and pancakes.  I plan on stocking my freezer full of strawberries (and blueberries!) so that I can enjoy them well past the summer months.

            This week, I’m giving you some great recipe ideas for using those delicious and inexpensive summer berries!

Berry Smoothie ~ 1 cup of frozen berries, 2 ice cubes, 2/3 cup of milk, 1 scoop of vanilla protein powder.  Put all ingredients in the blender and blend until smooth.

Cool & Easy Strawberry Pie ~ Try this great no-bake dessert from Kraft that would be perfect for your next summer grill out.  (Thanks to Dyan Price from my Facebook recipe group for giving me the heads-up on this one!)

Strawberry Freezer Jam ~ I am looking forward to making this easy strawberry jam recipe next time strawberries go on sale!

Angel Food Cake with Berries ~ This dessert is sweet and light – perfect for summer!  Mix one 8 ounce container of lemon yogurt with one cup of Cool Whip.  Put a slice of angel food cake on a plate and top with sliced strawberries and blueberries.  Top with a dollop of the yogurt and Cool Whip mixture.  You can also cut the angel food cake in cubes and layer the cake, berries, and topping in parfait glasses.

Red, White, & Blue Waffles ~ Try this for a patriotic breakfast: Skip the syrup and instead top waffles with some vanilla yogurt, add strawberries, blueberries, and some chopped walnuts.

Strawberry Spritzer ~ This is the perfect drink to enjoy poolside!  You can make it with or without alcohol.

Berry Topper ~ Of course, you can always just toss a few berries on top of oatmeal, yogurt, ice cream, cereal, pancakes, etc.

What’s your favorite way to eat strawberries?