Spiced Pumpkin Cake with Maple Glaze

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. We participate in other affiliate programs as well. For more details, please see our disclosure policy.

Looking for an easy cake recipe? This Spiced Pumpkin Cake with a luscious maple glaze comes together easily and quickly, perfect for dessert or snacking.

Spiced Pumpkin Cake with Maple Glaze on cake stand

Got a hankering for cake? Prefer not to spend a pretty penny nor fill up on hydrogenated fats and preservatives? Then it’s time to get baking!

Baking and cooking at home is a great way to save money. Not only can you trim your food spending, but you also have the opportunity to control which ingredients you use as well as the quality of those ingredients.

This is never more true than when it comes to baking a cake from scratch. Sure, bakery cakes are now pretty cheap and cake mixes often go on sale, but you’ll pay a higher price for better quality ingredients.

Why do that when you can bake your own at home for less? This Spiced Pumpkin Cake with a Maple Glaze is a great place to start — or continue — your home baking journey.

AD:

How to Meal Plan on a Budget

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. We participate in other affiliate programs as well. For more details, please see our disclosure policy.

Meal planning is simply the process of choosing which meals to prepare in the coming days. Learn how to meal plan on a budget so that you can save money and waste less food while eating well!

large serving bowl of chicken caesar salad

Poorman’s Chicken Caesar Salad

Eating good food, both nutritious and tasty, doesn’t require an unlimited grocery budget. Some of the best meals in the world are made from affordable pantry staples.

However, sometimes in the meal planning frenzy of Pinterest and social media, you may find yourself overreaching, thinking that big, elaborate, and expensive is the only way to meal plan.

Thankfully, that’s not at all true. Good food and a balanced budget aren’t mutually exclusive. They do, however, take a little work and planning.

You can easily stay on budget and avoid food waste through savvy meal planning. It’s as simple as taking stock of what you have, planning meals around what’s there, and supplement with a minimal amount of additional purchases.

This is one surefire to meal plan on a budget. You will be eating well AND sitting pretty.

Tzatziki Sauce Recipe

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. We participate in other affiliate programs as well. For more details, please see our disclosure policy.

Have a hankering for that delicious yogurt sauce that comes with gyros? You can make your own easily at home with this simple Tzatziki Sauce Recipe.

bowl of tzatziki sauce with bowls of vegetables for dipping

Take-out is tempting. That’s all there is to it.

Someone else makes dinner for you — and even does the dishes! It’s quick, or at least feels immediate even when you have to wait in line, and you don’t have to go to the grocery store.

However, cooking at home is proven to save you money — and help with portion control and healthy eating! — so it’s better to DIY at home, for less.

Fortunately, many of your take-out favorites are not elaborate, gourmet meals. They’re actually pretty simple fare.

Take the case of that yummy yogurt sauce that comes with your gyro: Tzatziki. With just a handful of ingredients, this tzatziki sauce recipe will have you dipping your favorite veggies and fried goodies in no time, without leaving the comfort of your own home.

Breakfast Sandwich Recipe: Easy & Freezer Friendly

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. We participate in other affiliate programs as well. For more details, please see our disclosure policy.

A Breakfast Sandwich is not only an easy meal on the go, but it’s also one that you can stash in the freezer for those super busy mornings. Check out how simple it is to make a batch for yourself!

breakfast sandwich with table spread

You know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but mornings…, well, sometimes mornings are rough. Perhaps you didn’t sleep well. Perhaps you overslept! Perhaps it’s just not a day when you feel like you can hop, skip, and jump out the door.

So breakfast…?

Breakfast ends up being an afterthought. Or nonexistent.

However, research suggests that people who eat breakfast tend to have been appetite control and sustained energy throughout the day than people who don’t. So, it’s in your best interest to eat breakfast, right?

What if you had a stash of breakfast sandwiches in your freezer, ready to go when you woke up in the morning? That’s a quick and easy fix that don’t cost much time, money, or hassle.

How Food Presentation Can Transform Your Meals

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. We participate in other affiliate programs as well. For more details, please see our disclosure policy.

Food doesn’t need to be expensive to be special. In fact, food presentation can make the simplest, cheapest eats seem like a feast for a king.

white platter with fruit, meat, cheese, bread, eggs, and pickles

While few of us have unlimited grocery budgets, it’s not that hard to put out a fancy spread.

Oh sure, you can spend a small fortune on groceries, but the cost isn’t really what puts a dish’s best food forward. Even the simplest meals can dress to impress. It’s all a question of food presentation.

Food presentation? What’s that?

Years ago I worked in a catering kitchen, assembling deli and cheese trays, preparing cocktail sandwiches, and displaying fruit in attractive ways. Except for the hair net and the ugly apron, I enjoyed the job immensely — especially since I love food and I love feeding people. My culinary knowledge exploded during those years.

One of the mantras that my manager repeated to me often was, “Presentation is everything.”

Stock Your Pantry for Easy, Quick Desserts

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. We participate in other affiliate programs as well. For more details, please see our disclosure policy.

Dessert can be amazingly simple and sweet, especially if you stock the pantry accordingly. Prepare for quick desserts so that you can treat guests — or yourself! — anytime.

It can be fun to have friends and family over to hang out and enjoy a bite to eat. It’s even more fun when you’re so prepared that you can spontaneously invite folks over and KNOW you can treat them to a feast — without freaking out or going broke.

Seriously?

Yes! It’s all about building a pantry that truly works for you.

I’ve been working on this concept with my workshop students this past month. When you shop the sales and the clearance racks and keep an eye open for great deals, you can build a mini grocery store in your kitchen — one that has exactly what you need and use at a price that’s better than your average grocery shopping trip.

Then you can shop your kitchen when it’s time to make your weekly meal plan or when unexpected company drops by.  

Easy Lasagne with Fresh Basil and Chives

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. We participate in other affiliate programs as well. For more details, please see our disclosure policy.

This Easy Lasagne comes together easily and is very freezer-friendly. You’ll please all the crowd when you set this casserole on the table!

pan of lasagne with salad and rolls

For several years I subscribed to an organic produce co-op. At first it was really hard to make use of all the weird stuff they put in the box, but over time it gave me all kinds of motivation to be creative in the kitchen. And abundant reasons to make my kids eat their vegetables.

We gave it up when the drought got really bad, but I’m reconsidering it now that things are looking up for California. I have fond memories of digging into each week’s box and unearthing some new treasure.

Some of those treasure the first season were bundles of garlic chives and fresh basil. Such a luxury to have fresh herbs! I know, they should be easy to grow. But, with six kids and a busy home, my thumbs have turned all brown. So, I’m happy to let someone else do the growing. and watering. and weeding. And I’ll just reap the fruits of their labor!

What I spent on groceries in September

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. We participate in other affiliate programs as well. For more details, please see our disclosure policy.

Want a peek into our grocery cart? Here’s how I’m buying groceries and feeding eight people on the cheap.

Howdy! Howdy! The Grocery Geek is back! And in full force! If you are on my email list, you probably already received my September ramble. If not, here’s the scoop: Two weeks ago we decided to make some changes to our total budget; we’re acting like we’re in debt, so we can save some more money each month.

Kinda exciting when it’s really not critical. It becomes kinda like a game! So, we’re living like it’s 2008 and working toward spending only what we need to spend.

If you’ve been following along with the Grocery Geek report, you know that last month, I did a big Ma Ingalls stock-up as if San Diego was going to get snowed in and I’d lose access to the 23 stores in a 10-mile radius. Part of that is the farmer DNA in me, part just because the deals were so amazing.

This month I focused on using up what we had, which included a freezer full of freezer meals, as well as shopping sales and clearance. I scored big time AND, as you’ll see, got our 2019 monthly average for groceries well below our target.

Fried Chicken Strips

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. We participate in other affiliate programs as well. For more details, please see our disclosure policy.

Chicken strips are a restaurant standard, but they taste so much better prepared at home. Add these Fried Chicken Strips to your meal planning rotation.

plate of fried chicken strips with sides of broccoli and mashed potatoes

Fried chicken strips are certainly a crowd pleaser, as many a restauranteur can attest. They appeal to diners of all ages, a ubiquitous player on the kids’ menu.

What most people don’t know is that it is super easy to make fried chicken strips YOURSELF — for a fraction of the price you’d pay at your local McDiner.

These Fried Chicken Strips are also the protein building block for a number of recipes, including Chicken Parmesan, fried chicken salad, chicken piccata, chicken and noodles, or just plain eatin’ with a side of fries and some BBQ sauce.

Therefore, it’s in your best interests to learn how to cook breaded chicken pieces yourself! Don’t ya think?

Chile And Cheese Enchilada Casserole

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. We participate in other affiliate programs as well. For more details, please see our disclosure policy.

Looking for a quick alternative to traditional, rolled enchiladas, something perfect for meatless Mondays? This Chile and Cheese Enchilada Casserole comes together simply for a quick and delicious meal.

Chile Cheese Bake | Good Cheap Eats

Poblano Chile Enchildas are one of our favorite meals. Spicy, roasted poblano chiles, wrapped in homemade corn tortillas and topped with a luscious salsa verde crema? What’s not to love?!

Sometimes one just doesn’t have the time to futz in the kitchen, and poblano chile enchiladas are a little time intensive. Lucky for you and me, there’s an easy cheat that just as tasty. This Chile Cheese Enchilada Casserole alternative is the result of a batch of beautiful, roasted poblano chiles but no mojo to make the enchiladas. So, I cheated.