Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Strawberries and chocolate are the perfect pair. Strawberries are a fun fruit to eat in the warmer months and chocolate is just awesome! Both combined make an appetizing quick dessert that vanishes in minutes. Mmmm…just talking about it makes me drool.

As you know, purchasing already made chocolate covered strawberries in a store will cost you a lot. They usually run between $1.50 to $2.00/strawberry. Per single chocolate covered strawberry!!! Yikes! Making them in your own kitchen is a way better option. They’re delicious, fun to make, cheaper than store-bought and you’ll love them!

Have you ever heard of anyone refusing a chocolate covered strawberry? Like ever? Yeah, I don’t think so either. So let’s get to it and make some. Actually, let’s make a ton because they will disappear quickly.

Store Purchased Chocolate Covered Strawberry

$1.50/each

Homemade Chocolate Covered Strawberry

$0.15/each ~WOW!!!

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs fresh strawberries (washed and patted dry)
  • 1 (12oz) pkg milk chocolate chips
  • toothpicks (optional)

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Directions:

  1. Wash the strawberries and place them on paper towels to dry.
  2. Insert one toothpick in each strawberry stem. (This helps with dipping)
  3. Melt the chocolate morsels in a microwave safe glass container. (I place 8oz at at time and melt them for 45 seconds.)
  4. Dip one strawberry in the melted chocolate at a time.
  5. Place the chocolate covered strawberry on a lightly sprayed cookie sheet or aluminum foil.
  6. Refrigerate for a few hours before serving.

ENJOY!

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Roasted Rosemary Potato Wedges

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Potatoes are delicious no matter how you prepare them. My kids love eating them simply boiled with butter and salt. The simpler, the better. And this recipe takes just a few minutes to prep and voila! You have a quick and delicious appetizer that you’ll make again and again. Why? Because potatoes are awesome and you love them!

Ingredients

  • 4-5 potatoes (washed, peeled and cut into thin wedges)
  • 4 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 tbsp garlic salt
  • 1 tbsp dried rosemary (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Peel the potatoes. Wash them and cut into thin wedges.
  3. Toss them into a bowl with the canola oil, garlic salt and rosemary. Mix well.
  4. Spray a large cooking sheet pan with oil.
  5. Place the potato wedges on the cooking sheet in a single layer.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes or until a bit crispy on the edges.

Serve warm with your favorite sauce, ranch dressing or sour cream and chives. Enjoy!

 

Bacon Wrapped Jalapenos

These cheesy bacon wrapped jalapenos are always a hit. Wherever you serve them, they are guaranteed to disappear in minutes. Promise! So make lots and double the recipe if needed. Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 15 jalapenos cut in half (stems, seeds and veins removed)
  • 1 (8 oz) pkg cream cheese
  • 1 cup shredded cheese
  • 30 slices turkey or regular bacon (cut in half lengthwise)
  • Garlic salt

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Directions

  1. Cut jalapenos in half and remove all seeds, veins and stems.
  2. Mix both cheeses and garlic salt in a bowl with a fork.
  3. Using a spoon,  fill each jalapeno half with the cheese mixture.
  4. Wrap each jalapeno half with half slice of bacon.
  5. Spray a large cooking sheet with oil.
  6. Place the wrapped jalapenos in a single layer on the cooking sheet.
  7. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes.

Serve warm. The gooey cheese inside is very hot! Enjoy!

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Tip

To make these kid-friendly and mild, just soak the jalapenos in cold water for 6 hours before prepping them or soak them in cold water overnight. Both methods cut down on the spiciness big time! So make them as you wish.

 

How Gratitude Saves You Money

Saving money and looking at our bank account with confidence feels awesome. It’s a great goal to have but it isn’t always easy to do. Spending on the other hand is quite the opposite. We’re human and we like to spend, especially with a credit card that takes a few seconds to swipe. It’s one of the easiest things to do these days.

But not the wisest unless of course, you pay off the entire statement balance every single month and earn points doing so.

Before we start loading our carts with things we cannot afford, lets focus on how gratitude plays a role in saving money. How appreciating what has been purchased days, weeks or years ago creates a sense of fulfillment and ultimately leads to happiness.

A sort of “I’m fine with what I currently have and don’t need more at this moment” type of mentality.

And why do this?

Because not wasting money on useless, unplanned purchases feels great. You’re training your brain to say “no” more often which limits your spending. And you’re more likely to be thankful for the way you handled that decision in the first place. So that should put a smile on your face. Right? So high five to you!

# 1 – Gratitude is free.

No matter how you perceive it, being thankful is absolutely free. It doesn’t cost anything to appreciate what’s around you, keeping you alive and well. If your health is in decent shape and you’re surrounded by family, friends and pets who love you, then consider yourself lucky. Those things alone contribute to most of your daily happiness. So cheers to that!

#2 – Gratitude is people-focused.

The people in your life really matter. A lot! They have been there for quite some time and that’s a gift you should acknowledge often. They stuck by you through the good and bad. They offered their time, laughter and words of wisdom. You are here today because they were around. And I bet some of your most memorable moments spent together cost you close to nothing.

Perhaps a hike, outdoor picnic, late night phone call, a movie rental with snacks and cheap wine. You know those times meant a lot and you miss them. We all do. Because who doesn’t want a good time without using their wallet?

So make sure to let the people in your life know they rock. How much they matter to you. How much joy and laughter they bring you. And the years they add to your life. Please thank them. They deserve it. Call them today and plan a free friendship date.

#3 – Gratitude is contagious (in a good way, of course).

When you spread the word “thanks” around, it not only uplifts you but others, too. You smile and others will too. And the more you smile, the better you’ll feel. The better you’ll feel, the more likely you’ll find joy in the simple things. Which leads to appreciation, kindness and happiness. And for that reason, you’ll limit your urges to spend on materialistic things. So keep those simple thank yous’ going. It’s a great trend to instill in this world which needs it desperately. So rock on!

#4 – Gratitude reduces stress.

Sometimes when I’m shopping and see someone in the same aisle, I may start a conversation about a random topic with that person. After a few minutes, we smile, share some ideas and go our separate ways. I keep on moving with a happier approach to shopping which leads to better decision making. And more smiling reduces mental chaos which leads to less spending. Isn’t that worth it? So go ahead and smile. You will stress less and feel fantastic.

#5 – Gratitude redirects you.

When I’m running errands, I have my shopping list handy and I stick to it. But sometimes, I may cross things off without even buying them and redirect my focus.

I ask myself:

Do I really need this? Is this a “must have” item that will complete my dinner tonight? If the answer is no, then I put whatever it is away and keep walking. I care less to stock up at this point because piling up sale items randomly isn’t a smart move anyway. Just get what you need and be thankful for the food and basic necessities you already have at home. So there. You just saved a few more bucks because you’re awesome! You’re shopping smart and leaving behind items you don’t need. Keep it up!

# 6 – Gratitude fulfills you.

How do you feel at the end of your day? How is your family doing? Did you find time in your busy day to give thanks for what you already have? Are you honest with yourself knowing you have everything you need? Chances are, your heart is satisfied because the people you care about are happy. They’re smiling and living life. Especially, kids. Those little munchkins have a way of brightening our days in various ways. They remind us to live in the moment and feel content with the now. Precious!

Remember, wanting more doesn’t lead to true happiness. It’s appreciating and loving what we already have that keeps us happy. And the more appreciative we are, the more fulfilled our hearts will feel.

So raise your glass and remind yourself to live simply and give thanks! 

Happiness is all around…

Cheers!

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Hello New Blog

A new blog. A fresh start. A different perspective on what makes us happy while living on a simple yet creative budget. The importance of gratitude while you spend a little less and love life even more. Because that’s what we ultimately strive for and need more of. So here we are. Let the new blog begin…

My main focus is:

  1. Gratitude and happiness
  2. Living simply and budgeting
  3. Creating authentic meals and sharing the recipes with you

We know being thankful for the simplest things in life feels awesome. We feel it more as we spend time with the people we love. And the way we feel all ties in with money, our spending, the financial decisions we make, our commitment to others and so forth. The depth of what lies within our hearts impacts how we use our money.

With creativity in mind and a strict budget beside it, I will show you how much fun it is to spend little and be happy. Think about it.

  • What brings us closer?
  • What inspires us daily?
  • What encourages good spending habits?
  • How can we appreciate every single dollar we earn? That one dollar that can stretch a long way. And I will share ways on how that’s possible.

The answer to those questions is simple. Gratitude and love play a major role in HOW we treat our money. It is the WAY we handle our income, not the amount that we bring in that determines our happiness. You are in control of your money and you decide how to spend it. Keep that in mind.

More does NOT mean better. 

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Gratitude is the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and return kindness. According to Randy A. Sansone, M.D. a professor in the Departments of Psychiatry and Internal Medicine at Wright State University, “gratitude is the appreciation of what is valuable and meaningful to oneself.” Simply being thankful for who we are, what we have and where we are currently. In this moment right now. We are not lacking anything in our presence. We are happy because we are complete and that feels pretty awesome.

So cheers to the awesomeness within you! The spunky you. The determined you. The you that appreciates what matter most.

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I’m so excited to see where this blog takes us with you beside it.

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