Potatoes are frugal eats at their finest. They are cheap, filling, and can be cooked in so many different ways. Sometimes I’ll find 5 or 10 pound bags of potatoes go on sale. But, what to do with that entire bag besides plain old baked potatoes?
Back in 2010, fellow blogger Audrey from Tight Wad in Utah shared three recipes to use up an entire bag. To date, her recipes post has been one of the most successful ever published here at The Coupon Project. (And that’s saying a lot as I have over 15,000 published posts as of August 2019!)
I recently decided to go back and give her post some new love with some fresh food photographs and “bump” it for readers who may have missed it. It’s definitely worth pinning or hanging onto for the next time you find yourself with a glut of potatoes!
Recipe #1: Scalloped Potatoes
This recipe which uses 8 potatoes (found at AllRecipes) freezes well, so I hear. I can’t manage to have any left to freeze. The section that is gone was my “test” piece to make sure they were done.
The recipe is pretty straight forward and uses ingredients you probably already have. If you’re not going to eat it all at once like me, divide it into meal portions after it’s cooled from baking, seal in a freezer container or bag, label it with the name and date, freeze!
A few weeks ago, I wanted to make some sort of tamale casserole. I perused a number of well-rated recipes on AllRecipes.com, but didn’t find anything exactly that I had in mind. So I used this one for some basic inspiration and then made a number of modifications to it. The result was so delicious that my husband declared it to be one of the best meals I’d ever made. I figure that made it worth sharing with you!
While there is quite a little list of ingredients in this recipe, have no fear. I promise it’s easy to put together and I bet you’d have most of these items in your pantry right now.
Here’s what you’ll need:
Olive or canola oil, for cooking
1 lb ground beef
1 medium onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
1 packet of taco seasoning
1 can black beans, drained
1 cup frozen corn
1 cup prepared salsa
2 boxes cornbread mix, such as Jiffy
2/3 cup milk
8 oz shredded Mexican Cheese blend (or Monterey Jack or Cheddar, any combination)
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I recently shared how I foraged for dandelion roots and greens and turned them into food and medicine (make sure to check it out if you haven’t!). One of the ways I’ve used the roots is to turn it into a healthful tea. I wanted to share this with you today as dandelions are in abundance and this tea couldn’t be easier to make.
Before I dive into making the tea, I want to speak a moment on where to get your dandelions! Of course, your yard may be a great source if you have not used chemicals (such as fertilizer or weed killer) in the last three years. Also take care to not forage food from protected or private lands. I stumbled on this most helpful post about rules for foraging in the Pacific Northwest that may be of help!
As I described in the dandelion foraging post, dandelions have a long taproot – so take care when pulling them up to get as much of that goodness as possible! Use a shovel, or even better, a garden fork to gently loosen up from the soil.
Make sure to properly clean your roots! At the dandelion intensive course I took over the weekend at Cedar Mountain Herb School, we soaked the roots in water, agitated, drained, and repeated a couple times. Then we laid the roots out on shallow trays and blasted with a hose.
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Last week, I spent several days in Las Vegas. While I was there to attend the Affiliate Summit, I also had an opportunity to step out a bit and see what I could learn about saving money if you were planning a trip to Las Vegas for pleasure.
A general caveat first. I’ve decided I’m really not a fan of Las Vegas. There are a number of reasons for this, but mainly it’s because I feel like Las Vegas a pretty stinky city that wears too much perfume and really just needs a bath. But, that’s another post for another day. I do know that many, many folks love going to Vegas – perhaps for a girls’ weekend away or a romantic getaway or to live it up and have fun. So today, I’d like to give you a few ideas for how to save money.
Saving on Airfare to Las Vegas
I really like using Travelzoo’s Today’s Best Airfare Deals to see at a glance where the best prices are for airfare. Just type in your city and voila! Best prices for the day.
You can also watch for one-day only type sales. I do post about these when I find them. Another way to go is to check out my post on leveraging credit card sign-up bonuses for free (or nearly free) airfare. Because I had earned a number of Southwest air miles this way, I paid a whopping $10 fee for my round-trip ticket to Las Vegas from Seattle.
Once you’re at the airport, you have a few options for transportation to your hotel. Thankfully, the Strip is just minutes from the airport so there’s not a huge distance to go. I opted for the taxi out of convenience, but it was super pricey. If you’re looking for the cheapest option, go for one of the $7 shuttles. The shuttle would’ve meant more stops, but would’ve saved me about $20 over the cab fare.
Saving on Hotels in Las Vegas
Now, I stayed at the Paris because that’s where the conference was happening. When I went to the hotel’s website, I noticed a smallish banner at the top that they were running a stay two nights, get one night free deal – and the dates happened to coincide with my trip!
In the spring, I shared with you how I threw a Frugal Star Wars-themed birthday for my son. A couple weeks ago, my good pal Susan also opted for Star Wars! As this is such a popular theme, I asked if she would share some of the fun and inexpensive things she came up with. Here’s her post:
When my 3-year-old old son, Kolton, told me he wanted a Star Wars birthday party this year, I was excited to start planning. There are so many great resources for birthday party ideas out there! I also had a few ideas of my own as far as how I wanted everything to flow. We ended up with seventeen 3-, 4- and 5-year-olds at the party. It could have been a disaster of kids running around crazy for two hours! But, with a little preparation and organization, the party ended up going smoothly. All of the children had an opportunity to participate in the activities and left with smiles on their faces.
For the invitations, I used Print Workshop to type up something quickly and print onto cardstock.
My husband and I live in Idaho and have thought for some time we would like to visit Seattle. We decided to go this year for our anniversary in October. I was just wondering if you would be able to share a list of interesting things to do or tips for our stay. We are low-key people and really just enjoy being together and sightseeing in a relaxed and frugal way. We don’t really do theaters or high priced tours, etc.
We have a daughter that is 5 months old, So doing things that would allow us to easily meet her needs, as well, is a must!
I thought her question would make a nice topic for a post. Additionally, I reached out to the folks at The Coupon Project Facebook page to see if they had additional ideas, too.
Here are some of the ideas that stood out to me. For the purposes of this post, I’m sticking to just what you’d find in Seattle – so leaving off day trip recommendations like Mt. Rainier and Leavenworth (though that could well be another post).
Free Points of Interest in Seattle
Let’s start with some great places you can tour that won’t cost you a dime. Some of these are definitely tourist attractions and others are just places I find interesting.
Pike Place Market. Ask anyone where to visit in Seattle, and they’ll tell you Pike Place Market. It’s a great indoor market with lots of local vendors that sell produce, artisan crafts, snacks, and more. The fishmongers at the fish market are also not to be missed! For a quirky experience, enter through the gum wallin Post Alley – it’s another classic Seattle spot. Word to the wise: it’s Pike Place Market, not Pike’s Place Market. Say “Pike’s Place” and we’ll know you’re a tourist. It’s also fun to get a picture in front of the Starbucks right across from the Market – it’s the first Starbucks store!
Gas Works Park. When I went to school in Seattle, this was one of my favorite places to visit. This park provides great views of the Seattle skyline and a favorite spot by many for picture taking or fireworks watching (for the 4th of July or New Years). What makes the park unique is that it used to be a plant that turned coal into gas. While that operation was shut down decades ago, the machinery has been left behind as play and picnic areas. It always feels a bit like I’m in a Pink Floyd video when I’m there.
University of Washington Arboretum. I don’t hear many people talk about the arboretum at the University of Washington, but it’s free to visit and beautiful! I like going in the spring when the blossoms are out, but I bet fall would be lovely with all the foliage, too. The arboretum is 230 acre of park-like, secluded gardens containing plants found nowhere else. Lovely place for a stroll or picnic or picture taking. While not free, you can rent a canoe from the waterfront activities center at UW if you’d prefer a water tour around the arboretum area. Cost is $12 per hour for the general public.
Discovery Park. This HUGE 534-acre park feels more like some sort of natural reserve than true “park.” I’ve not been in years, but I remember it as a spectacular place and one I’d be likely to take a tourist to that’s never seen Seattle. Here’s a brief description from the website: “The site is one of breathtaking majesty. Situated on Magnolia Bluff overlooking Puget Sound, Discovery Park offers spectacular view of both the Cascade and the Olympic Mountain ranges. The secluded site includes two miles of protected tidal beaches as well as open meadow lands, dramatic sea cliffs, forest groves, active sand dunes, thickets and streams.”
Fremont. Fremont is a neighborhood in Seattle that has a number of little cafes, shops, and restaurants. There’s great walking to be had around Fremont too – and it’s close to many other Seattle points of interest including Gas Works park, the University of Washington, Ballard Locks, and the Seattle Zoo. Many tourists enjoy seeing the Fremont Troll – it’s another quirky photo spot. Reader Corinne vouched for Theo’s Chocolate Factory in Fremont, which offers up fun tours for $10 per person.
Ballard Locks. So fun fact about me: my husband and my first date (13 years ago now!) was at the Ballard Locks! We picked up Gyros from the University of Washington and headed here. Of course, I have to mention it then! The Locks are one of Seattle’s most popular tourist attractions and even better, it’s FREE. You won’t pay to walk around the park-like setting, check out the locks, or the amazing fish ladder. There is also a beach area. One thing you’ll find about most of the places I’m mentioning is that there are LOTS of walking/biking trails around too. Many of my Facebook pals vouch that you stop here.