Simple and Delicious Tuna Chowder


 

Tuna Chowder|Frankly Entertaining

I’m going to let you in on a little secret about living in one of the seafood capitals of the world. Even though world class salmon, shrimp, halibut and crab are literally down the street, it is not any cheaper to buy that seafood in our local grocery store! You would think that since the fish only has to go from the boat to the store that you would be able to find a deal, but that is not the case. Obviously, if we fish ourselves then it’s free, but that’s only after we’ve bought all the gear and the licenses and taken the time to do it. We do fish, but we’re not experts yet, and we’ve come nowhere near catching our quota, which for our family is about 80 salmon.

Tuna Chowder Ingredients| Frankly Entertaining

I grew up on the east coast and I am a seafood lover, but with a family my size it’s a pretty expensive option. Seafood is delicious and it’s healthy (hello protein!), and the earlier you can get your kids eating it the more open they’ll be to seafood later.

Tuna is a delicious and economical option when you’re looking for a seafood recipe, and it doesn’t just have to be a tuna sandwich or tuna casserole. Fish tacos are great with tuna, and if you love crab cakes but don’t want to shell out half a mortgage payment, then try a tuna version.

Tasty Tuna Chowder

Today we’re going to do a tuna only version of seafood chowder. I love chowder. I grew up eating it a lot. My dad was a master chowder maker, plus it was a staple at a couple of the restaurants. Chowder as I knew it was cream based with a huge variety of seafood. It included lobster, haddock, shrimp and scallops. It is delicious, but it’s also a special occasion kind of expense. This tuna chowder gives you the same luxury base, but with a lot less of the expense, which means this can be an easy Friday night dinner. The great thing about the Bumble Bee® Solid White Albacore Tuna is that it’s hearty. It’s not like flaked tuna that might run the risk of getting lost in the chowder. This tuna is the main ingredient, but the flavor isn’t overpowering.

For this recipe (which fed all 8 of us for dinner) we used 4 cans of Bumble Bee® Solid White Albacore Tuna. This gives you chunky tuna in every bite along with a great flavor. We also included a lot of veggies and we topped it with some shredded cheese and cooked bacon. Serve this alongside a crusty loaf of bread and no one will leave the table hungry! This chowder was plenty thick for my tastes, but if you like really thick chowder you can add some flour to the cream and that will thicken it.  Just to let you know, all my kids loved this, and my 12 year old wanted to eat the leftovers for the next two nights!

Chowder Ingredients|Frankly Entertaining

Helpful Hints:

  • Use cubed frozen hashbrown potatoes. It saves a lot of time in the peeling and chopping department!
  • Don’t add the cream until the very end. If you add it too soon it will separate. It will still taste delicious, but it won’t look the same.

Simple Tuna Chowder

Ingredients:

  • 4 cans Bumble Bee Albacore Tuna
  • 1/2 c. butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 green peppers, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 c. hash brown potatoes (cubes)
  • 1 c. sliced mushrooms
  • 1 Tbsp Cajun seasoning
  • 2 c. chicken broth
  • 1 c. water
  • 2 c. heavy cream
  • 3 slices cooked bacon, chopped
  • 1 bunch green onion, chopped
  • grated cheddar cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. In a stock pot (5 qt), melt butter and add onions.
  2. Sauté onions over medium heat until translucent.
  3. Add green pepper and celery. Cook for five minutes.
  4. Add mushrooms and cook for one minute.
  5. Add tuna, Cajun seasoning and chicken broth and bring to a boil.
  6. Lower heat and bring to a simmer.
  7. Add water.
  8. Add potatoes and simmer for 15 minutes.
  9. Add cream and heat through.
  10. Garnish with bacon, green onions and cheese.

 

Simple and Delicious Tuna Chowder
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
Simple Tuna Chowder
Ingredients
  • 4 cans Bumble Bee Albacore Tuna
  • ½ c. butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 green peppers, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 c. hash brown potatoes (cubes)
  • 1 c. sliced mushrooms
  • 1 Tbsp Cajun seasoning
  • 2 c. chicken broth
  • 1 c. water
  • 2 c. heavy cream
  • 3 slices cooked bacon, chopped
  • 1 bunch green onion, chopped
  • grated cheddar cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. In a stock pot (5 qt), melt butter and add onions.
  2. Sauté onions over medium heat until translucent.
  3. Add green pepper and celery. Cook for five minutes.
  4. Add mushrooms and cook for one minute.
  5. Add tuna, Cajun seasoning and chicken broth and bring to a boil.
  6. Lower heat and bring to a simmer.
  7. Add water.
  8. Add potatoes and simmer for 15 minutes.
  9. Add cream and heat through.
  10. Garnish with bacon, green onions and cheese.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Cheater Beignets (aka Faux-yays)

Cheater Beignets | Frankly Entertaining

I know I’ve mentioned this before, but my husband is from Louisiana (Geaux Tigers!), and as a Louisianian he has certain Mardi Gras season expectations. We always make King Cake, and we do red beans and rice, but one thing we’ve never attempted at home is beignets. Beignets are a Louisiana staple. You can’t go to New Orleans without stopping at Café du Monde. We spent most of our Louisiana trips in Baton Rouge, and so we have made many visits to Coffee Call. It’s a great spot for late night beignets and hot chocolate with the sisters in law! It’s more of a local hangout, so if you’re in Louisiana with a hankering for beignets but don’t want the typical tourist spot, then head to Coffee Call.

Easy Beignets|Frankly Entertaining

Back to my beignets. My husband has an aversion to deep fat frying in the house, so we don’t fry things very often. A couple of weeks ago I remembered a visit to my mother-in-laws where she was making beignets. I figured it was time to give beignets at try. I never got the recipe, so I just worked of what I remembered.

Beignets are fried dough. You could compare them to scones if you’re from Utah or Beavertails if your from Canada, but the thing that truly sets them apart is the sugar. Let’s be honest, a beignet is powdered sugar with a bit of fried dough! If you’re not headed to Louisiana any time soon, or if you just want to get into the Mardi Gras spirit (mardi gras is Tuesday), then I have the simplest beignets ever. These aren’t authentic, but like I told my friend T, they’ll tide you over until you get to New Orleans!

Faux Beignets|Frankly Entertaining

Word to the wise: Don’t eat these cold. It’s like a Krispy Kreme donut, a big part of the joy comes from eating them fresh! Also, buy the regular biscuits, don’t buy the Grands, they won’t cook through before getting too dark. Also, keep an eye on the temperature. If you have a fryer that you can control, that’s probably easier, but if you’re using a pot like I did, you will probably need to adjust the heat, because the oil’s temperature will rise quickly once it gets to 300.

Cheater Beignets|Frankly Entertaining

 

Cheater Beignets

Ingredients:

  • 1 pckg Pillsbury refrigerated biscuit dough
  • vegetable oil
  • powdered sugar
  • oil thermometer

Instructions:

  1. Heat two inches of oil in a deep, heavy pot to 375º.
  2. While the oil is heating, cut each round of biscuit dough in half.
  3. Using a slotted metal spoon, place 4 biscuit halves in the oil at a time.
  4. Cook for 1 minute, and until both sides are browned (not too dark).
  5. Remove the beignets to a cooling rack placed over a cookie sheet.
  6. Repeat with the remaining dough halves, four at a time.
  7. Cover the cooked beignets with powdered sugar. Do not dust … drench!
  8. Enjoy the beignets while they’re still warm!

 

 

 

Cheater Beignets (aka Faux-yays)
Author: 
Recipe type: Bread
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10
 
Cheater Beignets
Ingredients
  • 1 pckg Pillsbury refrigerated biscuit dough
  • vegetable oil
  • powdered sugar
  • oil thermometer
Instructions
  1. Heat two inches of oil in a deep, heavy pot to 375
  2. º
  3. While the oil is heating, cut each round of biscuit dough in half.
  4. Using a slotted metal spoon, place 4 biscuit halves in the oil at a time.
  5. Cook for 1 minute, and until both sides are browned (not too dark).
  6. Remove the beignets to a cooling rack placed over a cookie sheet.
  7. Repeat with the remaining dough halves, four at a time.
  8. Cover the cooked beignets with powdered sugar. Do not dust ... drench!

Lego Inspired Valentines for the Classroom

Lego Valentines | Frankly Entertaining

Here’s the deal you guys, my kids’ Valentines stress me out every year. Last year I almost had a nervous breakdown because the Valentine class celebration (heaven forbid they call it a party) was our last day at our old school. We were living in a hotel and Doug was already in Alaska. We were moving out of the hotel the next day, and I was feeling slightly overwhelmed. My kids love the Valentines party, so we were obviously going, but we weren’t going to be getting all creative with it! I’m pretty sure we did Fun Dips last year.

Lego Molds|Frankly Entertaining

This year is a totally different story. I came up with what I think is an awesome idea. I’m sure I’m not the originator of this idea seeing as how I found molds on Amazon, but it feels like a total win! Not only that, the kids were actually really helpful with this project!

Lego Valentines|Frankly Entertaining

We decided to go with Lego inspired crayons. Doug is making me include “inspired” because he doesn’t want the Lego people to get offended and yell at me. I don’t think they’ll do that since I’m single handedly responsible for one tenth of the Lego sales in this country!

Here is the best part: we got to use up all our broken crayons! We made over 100 crayons, and I only had to buy 1 box of new crayons. My experience is that it takes about three crayons to make one Lego (inspired) crayon. My kids loved peeling the wrappers off, and they loved mixing colors. We made one brick for each kid and then we made Lego (inspired) people for their teachers. I wasn’t going to do any for my 6th grader, but he ended up doing his own one night because he loved them too.

Lego Crayon Valentines|Frankly Entertaining

We also busted out our new Silhouette Mint and made a stamp for the tags. This way all the kids can stamp and then just sign their name. I’ll write about the Mint more in depth later, but I love it! Have you seen this thing? You can make a stamp out of an image! The longest part of the whole process was figuring out how to get what I designed into the program, but then I watched a YouTube video that told me to Drag and Drop! Leave it to me to make things harder than they need to be!

My favorite things about this project are the Silicone Molds for Lego Lovers. This actually comes in a set of 8 molds for under $15. They would also come in handy for making ice cubes or mini cakes for a Lego birthday party.

Lego Valentines|Frankly Entertaining

So, here’s how you do it:

  • remove the wrapper from all your crayons.
  • break the crayons into smaller pieces (1″-2″)
  • place the pieces in the mold
  • put the molds on a baking sheet
  • bake in a 250º oven for 15 minutes
  • remove from oven and use a toothpick to make sure everything is mixed
  • let cool for fifteen minutes and remove from molds

We put our crayons in plastic bags designed for pretzel sticks and then tied with a string and the stamped tag. I love that these are things that kids will actually use, and that we won’t be sending anyone into a diabetic coma. I am also really happy that the kids were excited to help with this project. We started early so that there would be no rushed tears, and everyone had a chance to participate. With 5 kids in school Valentines can get a bit out of control, but I loved how this turned out, and I really love that the kids are more excited than I am!

Blog Conference Must Haves

Conference Packing Tips|Frankly Entertaining

I’ve been back from Alt Summit for about a week, and I’m finally starting to recover from my sleep deprivation induced delirium! If you’re a blogger (or influencer, as the cool kids are calling it now!), conferences are a great way to learn and to meet new people. It’s kind of like Summer Camp for grown ups. It’s sort of how I Imagine it would be if I was a contestant on Dancing with the Stars, but with less self tanner! You go through an intense weekend with these people and you come away with a set of shared experiences that can bond you for life! I’ll write more about the mini party that I hosted, but my co-hosts are pretty much my sorority sisters now! We spent a few sleepless nights putting things together, and that kind of thing makes you tight with someone! There was also late night lip-syncing in the parking lot (you should probably be following StacyKSW on Periscope if you missed that one!), and lots and lots of glitter!

Alt Summit Packing Tips|Frankly Entertaining

If you’re heading to any of the million conferences out here, here is the list that I came up with. I put this together after the fact, because I ended up bringing some things that I really didn’t need. I’ll share those at the end.

Packing for a blog conference|Frankly Entertaining

  1. First off you need a purse to carry your necessities. Preferably one with a zipper and lots of pockets! This one is from Maurice’s.
  2. Some kind of planner/journal. This one isn’t for keeping notes, it’s for actual planning. If you’re more about planning on your phone, then you can ignore this one. I just like to physically write everything down.
  3. Cash, comfortable shoes and lipstick. Bring $20. You might be splitting a cab with someone, or need to tip a valet. Not having cash for those things is frustrating. You will need fancy shoes for parties, but when you’re walking around a huge conference center, you want comfort. Pick a color that you love! You will be going on little sleep at some of these conferences. A bright lipstick can do wonders for your face. Put it on your lips and your cheeks, and you’re ready to go!
  4. Notebooks for classes. Information will be coming at you a mile a minute. Have a notebook where you can write everything down. You can organize it and put it in your formal planner later.
  5. Accessories: Never underestimate the power of a little bling to get you noticed and help boost your confidence.
  6. Phone, battery powered charger & super vitamins: Lots of vendor halls and conference centers have charging areas, but a battery powered charger lets you charge while your eating lunch or learning SEO! I always travel with vitamins. You will probably be changing time zones, not sleeping, surrounding yourself with hundreds of people. Boost your immune system!
  7. Snacks, magazines, zipper pouch: Conference meals are on a strict schedule. If you don’t want to miss anything, pack some snacks so that you never have to leave in search of a cookie! A conference is not the time you’re going to finish War and Peace. Pack a couple of magazines and lighten the load in your luggage. You’ll be getting a lot of business cards. If you have one secure place to keep them, you’ll know exactly where to look when you get home.
  8. Business cards and conference schedule: You need your own cards to give out. They don’t need to be super fancy (unless you’re a card designer), but they should represent you. Lots of conferences publish their schedules ahead of time. Plan out what you want to do so that you can get the most for your time and money.
  9. Gum, Chapstick, hair elastics: I think these speak for themselves. Put them in the pocket of your purse! Then you can save the day for yourself or one of your new friends!

These are my biggest necessities. What are yours?

p.s. Here’s what you really don’t need:

  • Your big camera: it weighs a ton, and most of these conferences have professional photographers and they’ll give you access to the images.
  • A rental car: Your schedule is pretty packed at these conferences, and you’re probably not going to stray too far from the hotel.
  • Extra handbags: bring one that goes with everything, and maybe a small pouch to hold your lipstick for evening parties. Too many bags take up precious space in your luggage.

 

Let’s Celebrate Week with Bridgewater Candles + A Giveaway

Thanks to Bridgewater Candles for sponsoring today’s post.

* Don’t forget to enter the giveaway at the end of the post!*

Bridgewater Candles | Frankly Entertaining

I first learned about Bridgewater Candles last year while I was at Alt Summit. I love their commitment to providing a meals for children. Since 2010, Bridgewater Candle Company has provided over 5.2 million meals for children in need, and they’re just getting started. As most of you know, I have six young kids, and so the thought of children going hungry breaks my heart. There are big problems in the world that we can’t solve right away, but it’s nice to know that you can do a little bit more to help without even trying. Bridgewater candles donates a portion of sales from select candles to Rice Bowls, which provides meals to orphaned children worldwide.

 

To start the new year off right Bridgewater is introducing two new scents, Let’s Celebrate  and Lemon Pop.  Let’s Celebrate is a mixture of all things fruity, floral and fun! It’s smells like a party in a candle! In the good old days, I’d be lighting candles and relaxing peacefully with a good book. Today, I’m most excited about the auto vent clips! Between cross country skiing, swim team and 6 pairs of winter boots, my mini van could use a burst of strawberry and mandarin fizz!

Bridgewater Candles | Frankly Entertaining

 

***************************************************************************************************************

To help get the word out about their new scents Bridgewater Candles is offering one reader a Let’s Celebrate prize package valued at over $75

Bridgewater Let’s Celebrate Giveaway Prize Details:

  • 1 Large Jar Candle
  • 1 Small Jar Candle
  • 3 Votives
  • 1 Reed Diffuser
  • 3 Sachets
  • 2 Auto Vent Clips

To enter, simply leave a comment and tell us what you would celebrate and who would you celebrate with.

Contest ends Friday, January 15.

Bridgewater Candles | Frankly Entertaining

Frankly Book Review: Influencer Marketing For Dummies

Book review of Influencer MArketing for Dummies

With the new year comes all sorts of grand ideas about resolutions and goals setting and self improvement. I decided that 2016 is going to be my year! Now, I’m trying to figure out what exactly that means! Part of what I want to accomplish is to improve my little piece of the Blogosphere. I want to be more consistent with my posts, and I want to improve their quality. I spent a few hours going over some of the first posts that Christina and I wrote, and I want to get back a little bit to the kind of dialog and engagement that we used to have. I’m trying to lure Christina back, so my witty banter won’t be all one sided!

Part of improving my blog game is reading up on trends and knowing what brands look for when they work with bloggers. I want to be authentic, but I also want to make the most of every opportunity I’m given. I recently read, Influencer Marketing for Dummies. It was written by the founders of Clever Girls, which is a company that I work with that matches brands and bloggers. The book is designed for brands looking to work with influencers, but as a blogger it was extremely helpful to see how things are run from the other side.

Influencer MArketing for Dummies|Frankly Entertaining

For me, the best parts of the books were those that identify what influencers are and how to evaluate the best influencer for you. As a blogger, I loved seeing what people look for. The book also reinforces the need for authenticity. I know there are a lot of blogs that do extremely well just writing paid reviews of product, and that’s perfect if it’s who they are,  but I like writing about food and my family and sometimes random fun things, so it doesn’t make sense for me to only review products that have nothing to do with what I love to write about. I think I’ve gone a little off track with this recently, and so I’m hoping with more consistent writing I’ll be able to find more consistency in my theme and content.

Hopefully my new consistency will lead to more paid work. The unpaid posts are fulfilling, but the paid posts are a little more validating! I’ll keep you updated on my success rate using the new tips I’ve learned.

I’m excited for 2016, and for making this an amazing year (no matter how much my kids try and drive me crazy!).

Influencer Marketing for Dummies|Frankly Entertaining

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

 

Hosting a Gift Wrapping Party

Gift Wrap Girls Night|Frankly Entertaining

If you’re anything like me, you spend a lot of time thinking about and buying  gifts. You might want to wrap your gifts to look like they belong on the cover of a magazine, but by the time you’re ready to wrap you’re already exhausted. A few years a few years ago I came up with what I thought (and still think) was a genius idea. Host a ladies’ night a couple of weeks before Christmas that is totally dedicated to wrapping.

Gift Wrap Party|Frankly Entertaining

There are many bonuses to a wrapping party, but my main reasons for doing it are a chance to spend time with dear friends during a crazy time of year, avoiding last minute shopping and getting inspiration from the other ladies. This is all very Mary Poppins; when there’s an element of fun, what was once a chore becomes a very enjoyable task!

Minted Party |Frankly Entertaining

As a little surprise, Minted provided all the guests with some personalized wrapping paper. I got all the images from their social media feeds, so everyone got to enjoy seeing their families in print! Personalized paper is the perfect thing for grandparent gifts or neighbor gifts. You could also make a personalized wrap for young kids who can’t read. They can just look for pictures of themselves! The Minted paper is extremely high quality; the paper is thick, and the colors are amazing. It runs about $3/sheet, and my husband pointed out that we couldn’t have printed our own wraping paper for that cost. I used their paper last year too, and I kept some. I’m looking forward to using a bunch of older paper in a few years with all my kids at various ages!

Gift Wrap Girls' Night|Frankly Entertaining

I’m a big fan of having friends over once my kids are in bed. My kids’ bedtime is 7:00pm, so it’s not too late, but it means I don’t have to deal with little kids and guests! We also decided to make a cookie exchange out of the evening, which meant I didn’t have to stress over too much food. I made a baked brie dish, and a cream cheese/pepper jam appetizer. We also glammed things up a bit by serving fancy drinks!

Minted Gift Wrap | Frankly Entertaining

Another bonus of this party was seeing the gifts other people bought for their friends and family. I ended up purchasing a couple of other gifts that night that I had never heard of before!

Here are my top 3 tips for throwing a Gift Wrapping Party:

  • Make sure you have enough space for people to spread out their gifts and paper.
  • Have extra scissors, tape and ribbon.
  • Have the party before the post office shipping deadline. This gives people an incentive to get everything out on time!

Thanks again to Minted for helping to make this such a magical evening for everyone!

Butter Tart Cookies : Cookie Swap 2015

Butter Tart Cookies|Frankly Entertaining

It’s once again reveal day for our recipes for this year’s Food Blogger Cookie Swap. This has become one of my favorite Christmas traditions. I love getting to know the bloggers that I’m sending to and that I’m receiving from. I love how creative these women are, and I’m always a little intimidated to send something as personal as food to someone I don’t know. I also love how this fun project is also a wonderful fundraiser for Kids Cancer. It’s pretty much all the good feelings wrapped up into a flat rate shipping box full of cookies!

This year, I received my cookies from Momma Told Me, The PinterTest Kitchen, and Delicious Not Gorgeous,  and I sent cookies to Peanut Butter and Peppers, My Judie the Foodie, and Bake at 350 (no pressure there!).

This year I wanted to make something that I think of as traditionally Canadian, but with a twist. Butter tarts are available at pretty much any bakery where I grew up. I was going to say they’re available all over Canada, but Canada’s a big country, and I’ve never even set foot in Saskatchewan or Newfoundland! Butter tarts are a rich and sweet mini pie full of brown sugar and raisin goodness, and I wanted to transform that into a cookie. My idea was to take something similar to the Harry and David sandwich cookie, but enclose it since the butter tart filling needs to be baked due to the eggs.

I played around with the recipe, and I think I got pretty close to the Harry and David shortbread. For the filling I cut down on the normal amount of raisins because the cookies are pretty small and I didn’t want them to be more raisin than filling.

These are pretty sweet, and since they’re a double layer it’s pretty much two cookies in one. Buttery almond shortbread with a brown sugar filling; what’s not to love?! These cookies are a bit labor intensive, but they are definitely worth it! I can’t wait until next year.

This undertaking is organized by Love and Olive Oil and The Little Kitchen. These ladies are so amazing to put this project every year. This is the fifth year, and so far they’ve raised  over $7000 for Cookies for Kids’ Cancer. If you want to participate in next year’s swap, get on the mailing list!

 

Butter Tart Cookies:

  • 1/2 c. powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. almond flavoring
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 c. flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/3 c. cornstarch
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar
  • 1/3 c. butter
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • raisins

Instructions:

  1. Sift the powdered sugar and mix with the butter and almond flavoring until smooth.
  2. Add egg yolk, and mix until combined.
  3. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and cornstarch.
  4. Add flour mixture to butter mixture slowly, and mix with a hand mixer.
  5. The dough will come together just when you think it won’t!
  6. Separate dough into two discs and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  7. While the dough is chilling, prepare the filling.
  8. In a small saucepan over med-low heat, melt the butter.
  9. Add in the egg, vanilla, milk and brown sugar. Stir until it is all mixed together and warm. Remove from heat.
  10. Roll dough out to 1/4″ and use a 1.5″ round cutter to cut circles.
  11. On half of the circles add 1/2 tsp of butter mixture and 1 or two raisins.
  12. Using your finger, rim the edge of the dough circle with water and top with another circle. You will get some cracking, but that’s the perfect ventilation for the filling.
  13. Sprinkle unbaked sandwiches with granulated sugar.
  14. Bake in a 350º oven for 15 mins. Remove from oven and let cool.

 

Butter Tart Cookies
Author: 
Recipe type: Cookie
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 24
 
Butter Tart Cookies: ½ c. powdered sugar 1 tsp. almond flavoring 1 egg yolk 1 c. flour ½ tsp. baking powder ⅓ c. cornstarch ½ c. brown sugar ⅓ c. butter 1 egg, beaten 1 tsp. vanilla raisins
Instructions
  1. Sift the powdered sugar and mix with the butter and almond flavoring until smooth.
  2. Add egg yolk, and mix until combined.
  3. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and cornstarch.
  4. Add flour mixture to butter mixture slowly, and mix with a hand mixer.
  5. The dough will come together just when you think it won't!
  6. Separate dough into two discs and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  7. While the dough is chilling, prepare the filling.
  8. In a small saucepan over med-low heat, melt the butter.
  9. Add in the egg, vanilla, milk and brown sugar. Stir until it is all mixed together and warm. Remove from heat.
  10. Roll dough out to ¼" and use a 1.5" round cutter to cut circles.
  11. On half of the circles add ½ tsp of butter mixture and 1 or two raisins.
  12. Using your finger, rim the edge of the dough circle with water and top with another circle. You will get some cracking, but that's the perfect ventilation for the filling.
  13. Sprinkle unbaked sandwiches with granulated sugar.
  14. Bake in a 350º oven for 15 mins. Remove from oven and let cool.

Simple Christmas Cookies to Share + A Giveaway

 

Make sure to enter the contest at the end of the post!

Betty Crocker Spread Cheer | Frankly Entertaining

Neighbor gifts are one of my favorite holiday traditions, but I’ll be honest, I’m not the best at involving my kids in the tradition. They always deliver, but they don’t help me make the gift. If I’m invest hours in homemade bread, I want to make sure everything turns out right!

Decorating Cookies| Frankly Entertaining

 

This year we came across a great idea. Betty Crocker is behind the #SpreadCheer campaign, which is basically like “Boo-ing” your neighbor at Halloween, but with cookies during the holidays. The best part is, we went super simple with Betty Crocker cookie mix that we customized a little bit. The kids got to help with every aspect, and I didn’t stress out at all because it was so easy!

Betty Crocker Cookies| Frankly Entertaining

The idea behind the #SpreadCheer campaign is to drop off some cookies with a friend or neighbor or teacher, and then get them to spread cheer to someone else. If you go to the Betty Crocker website there are printables that explain everything, adorable tags to print, plus a .50 cent  coupon. While we were at our local Kroger owned Fred Meyer we also bought some of the Betty Crocker cookie icing and sprinkles.

Betty Crocker Cookies|Frankly Entertaining

To make the cookies a little different we added dried cranberries and orange zest, plus a little almond extract. This had the house smelling like Christmas all day! The SugarCookie mix is a blank canvas that you can customize any way you want. The kids rolled the dough, cut out the shapes and then they decorated. We packaged the cookies in a take out box and then attached the gift tag. My ten year old dropped them off on a neighbor’s  front porch, and we officially started off our holiday season in the best possible way!

Betty Crocker | Frankly Entertaining

Sometimes kids can get focused on all the “getting” of the Christmas season, and this fun afternoon activity helped them to think more about how they can serve other people and bring them joy. It was a win-win in my book.

Delivering Cookies | Frankly Entertaining

Betty Crocker is so excited about the #Spread Cheer campaign that they have also sponsored a giveaway for $20 to Kroger (or Kroger owned store). All you have to do is click on the Betty Crocker link and look at the different cookies on the page and tell me which ones look the best to you, and who you would deliver them to. Leave a comment here by Saturday (12/5/15), and we’ll contact the winner on Sunday.

*****************************************************The Giveaway is closed, and the winner has been notified. Thanks for entering!!********************************************************

Delivering Cookies| Frankly Entertaining

 

Simple Tips for Saving Real Money When You’re Shopping

Money Saving Tips| Frankly Entertaining

Alright you guys, unless you’re ignoring the real world altogether you know that the holiday shopping kicks off today. Let’s be honest, the holiday shopping season kicked off somewhere right around Halloween, but this is when it starts to get serious!

I used to go out before dawn with my mom on Black Friday to find all the crazy deals, but somewhere between the advent of online shopping and six kids I gave up on the insanity of fighting the crowds to buy a video game console that we ended up giving away because we never used it! I like to think that I’m always finding the best deals, but at some point I have to ask myself what my time is worth in searching non-stop for the best price. I used to coupon a lot, but eventually I gave up because I couldn’t devote all the time I was spending to clipping coupons and then searching the stores, with all my kids in tow, to find the best deals.

Fast forward a few years and a cross country move to Alaska, and suddenly saving money became a little more worth my while. Things are expensive up here. It’s almost impossible for me to get out of the grocery store for under $100, and I probably go to the store a couple of times a week. And we’re lucky here, because we live in town. There are better prices  and variety in Anchorage, but we have a few grocery stores, which means there’s some pricing competition. If we lived in rural Alaska things would be way harder to get and way more expensive.

Christina has also recently started with money saving tips, and so we’re back and forth texting each other about the deals we’re finding. The internet and apps have made shopping smart so much easier.  Today we’re sharing ten apps/sites that are easy ways to find deals. You don’t need to do all the work yourself, and lots of times you don’t even have to clip coupons (unless you want to!).

*Some of these links are referral links, so I may get a bonus if you use them, but these are all the ones that I use and truly love.

  1. Shopkick: This app was new to me, but I’m absolutely addicted to it. With Shopkick you earn “kicks” which you trade in for gift cards. The best part though is that you don’t even have to purchase, you just need to scan items on their list. Christina does way better with this because a trip to the mall equals a ton of kicks, and I only have three store to use it with! The only downsides for me are that it’s sometimes fickle with awarding me points at te store’s entrance, and it uses your location services all the time, which can suck up a lot of battery (I just turn that feature off when I’m no in a store).
  2. Ebates: If you’re shopping online, you need to be using Ebates. Before you head to whatever site you’re using, just go to Ebates and search to see if they’re a participating store. You can also install it directly to your search bar, but I just go through the site, or the App if I’m on my phone. Ebates offers rebates on the sites you are already using. They also will show lots of available coupon codes. This time of year they’re always offering double cash back to different stores. YEsterday GAp had 8% cash back and Nordstrom had 6%. They also work with Target, Amazon and Lego. I went through them to buy my new Franklin Planner and got 10% back plus they gave the code for another coupon which saved me 25% on part of my order.
  3. Ibotta: I started using Ibotta when I first moved to Alaska, and then I stopped because I thought it was taking too much time. I was going through the app before I went shopping and picking out things I thought I might purchase, but I have changed my workflow with Ibotta. Ibotta offers rebates on specific items purchased at specific stores. It’s usually small amounts, but they all add up. Now, when I get home from the grocery store I go through the app to see if I’ve purchased anything from the list. Then you just need to scan the item and scan your receipt. This way I don’t feel like I’ve wasted any time.
  4. Walmart Savings Catcher: The Walmart app has a lot of features, but I’m going to be honest, the only one I use is the Savings Catcher. As soon as the cashier hands me my receipt I enter it into the app. Walmart then checks to see if local stores have better prices on any of the items I’ve purchased. If they find a lower price, they add it to my account and I can cash it in for a Walmart gift card. This also has the added benefit of recording my receipt in case I need to return something. Walmart is also great at price matching. Just check with your individual store. My store matches Amazon Prime, which is awesome since a lot of toys are more expensive up here.
  5. Safeway : I love this app. I can go in a clip all the week’s coupons, and also clip unadvertised coupons. Last week they offered 20% off Gap gift cards. I paired that with Gap’s 40% off sale and the 8% rebate that Ebates offered. That added up to some very real savings. Plus, you can use manufacturers coupons along with the app coupons. In Alaska you can link it with your Alaskan Air Miles card and get bonus miles too, plus there are gas rewards.
  6. Walgreens: I used to do Walgreens rebates back when you had to mail in your receipts! This is app is great for keeping track of your bonus rewards, but you can also use to clip all the Walgreens coupons, no scissors required!
  7. Target Cartwheel: I only use this when I’m in Anchorage, but for everyone else who has a Target close by, make sure to install your Cartwheel App. You can use this with Ibotta and Shopkick, so your triple dipping!
  8. Moola Saving Mom: Christina told me about this one. This is the Facebook page. You can also go to her website, but I like the Fbbecause it’s easier and quicker for me to scroll through, plus you get the added benefit of quickly looking through comments and asking questions.
  9. Living Rich With Coupons: There are lots of sites like this one that will help you know what’s out there deal wise. Pick one and check it every morning while you’re eating breakfast. If you have a local site, all the better, because then they can tell you what your local stores actually have.

For me, the key with saving money while shopping is to simplify. That’s why I love the apps. If I can save money without too much effort, then I’m all in. It doesn’t matter if I’m only saving small amounts at a time, because it all adds up. I’m not trying to pay my mortgage with couponing, but it does help with Christmas money, or if I’m saving for a fun girls’ weekend. Also, don’t buy what you’ll never use just because it’s cheap. I just finished reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, and that goes against everything Marie Kondo teaches!

 

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