Cheesy Jalapeno Poppers

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Delicious, cheesy, gooey jalapeno poppers that melt in your mouth and will be a hit at your next party! If you like them spicy, awesome. If you prefer them mild, no problem.

Just soak them in cold water overnight to get rid of the spicy heat and you’re good to go.

Most of my friends like spicy food but my family and I’d rather stick with the mild versions of deliciousness. Especially Mexican food which I love a ton and tweak its spicy levels to accommodate everyone’s taste buds.

Whichever way you like it, I promise you’ll enjoy these poppers.

So let’s get started…

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Ingredients:

  • 10 jalapenos (cut in half lengthwise)
  • 1 (8oz) pkg cream cheese
  • 1 cup shredded cheese
  • 1/2 cup flour or bread crumbs for coating
  • garlic salt

Directions:

  1. Cut the jalapenos in half and remove all seeds and stems.
  2. Mix both cheeses and garlic salt in a bowl and set aside.
  3. Fill each jalapeno half with the cheese mixture.
  4. Dip each pepper in the flour or bread crumbs.
  5. Fry each jalapeno pepper cheese side down first for about 4 minutes. Flip over and fry the other side.
  6. Place the fried jalapeno poppers on paper towels and let cool before serving.
  7. Enjoy!

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6 Mindsets That Will Lead You Towards Financial Freedom

Getting something your heart desires is wonderful. Satisfying that dreamy urge feels pretty good. The endorphins rush in and you’re ready to walk out the door to enjoy a fun shopping splurge with a credit card in hand. And a list is stored somewhere in your pocket or mind or wherever.

You know exactly what you’re getting because who really has time to plan out their purchases ahead of time. Maybe next time.

I get it. We’ve all been there, myself included. But here’s the thing.

If it’s not a need that positively benefits your life, family, kids or health and guarantees long-term happiness (perhaps a few months or years), then why get it?

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Things are just things. Things cost money. More things cost more money. More and more things lead to more spending which in the long run leads to stress, clutter and the one thing we all do not like: debt.

No one likes debt but most of us have it. It’s alright. We’re human. Debt is a part of our lives. But as long as we take steps to get rid of it, we are headed on the right path.

Here are a few tips that can help us get there.

1. Track All Your Expenses

Budgeting wisely is key towards eliminating stress and getting yourself out of financial strains. Tracking all of your expenses is a must when you’re trying to reach financial freedom. Every transaction counts.

Every dollar you spend has to be accounted for somehow.

And one of the best ways to do this is having a visual picture of where your money goes. Below is a link to a free app that you can download on your phone or computer that helps with budgeting.

It is amazing!

https://www.everydollar.com

EveryDollar app screenshot

It’s free, easy to set up and will change your life. It will show you exactly how and where you spend your money. It will help you budget in no time. But be patient. Budgeting takes time and there are no shortcuts when it comes to managing your money.

Once you set it up, I promise it will simplify your life and make you happier. You will see exactly where your money goes and the way you handle your money will change. For the better, of course.

Give it a few months and you’ll be a pro!

Trust me. It has made a huge difference in our lives and it will do the same for you.

2. Use Cash Often

Keep your credit card at home and use cash when purchasing the basics: food, gas, toiletries, clothes, etc. There’s something magical about using cash. Suddenly, that 20$ bill becomes a big deal. And it is. You can do a lot with just one Andrew Jackson bill.

I have purchased enough groceries for 3 days many times without starving my family for just $20. And those meals were very green, filling and yummy. You can do it, too. Your family will still love you even if they have cucumbers and veggie taco platters for 3 days straight.

They will be happy, smiling and will feel lucky to have you as their mom. All because of a thrifty heart of gold you carry. Rock on!

3. Downsize To One Credit Card

Not all credit cards are horrible. Some have 0% APRs if paid off fully at the end of each billing cycle. Others give you points for your purchases which could be redeemed for gift cards or cash. And some like the fidelity rewards credit card automatically contribute a small amount to your kids’ 529 college savings accounts.

That’s pretty cool. You spend on necessities now and your kids get a portion of it when they turn 18 and move out. It’s a win-win for all.

This one is great!

http://www.fidelityrewards.com

Fidelity Credit Card

It doesn’t hurt to have one credit card. If you use it for the basics or emergencies, you’ll be fine. And paying it off entirely every month is key. That will keep you from piling on debt and frustrating you when your payment due date approaches.

Keep your spending simple and don’t let that shiny credit card take over your life. Credit cards can be trouble makers if not handled properly. Just try not to depend on them.

Have one and you’ll be alright. Just remember to pay it off every month.

4. Don’t Let Others Influence You

Try not to get consumed by media or those who push for better deals. Delete spam phone calls immediately or better yet, don’t answer them. People who are pushy over the phone, in person or online are very good at pressuring you to get something you don’t need.

They pretend to be nice at first and then ask for your money at the end for a service or product you are perfectly fine without having.

Those kind of people love to ramble on about great deals, promotions, free offers and so forth. They are tricking you to spend your money, not save it. So don’t let them. Stay clear from their schemes and don’t let their sneaky kindness fool you.

Ask yourself questions when approaching a sale or must have item. Just because others have something doesn’t mean you need it, too. It’s alright if your friends have the newest electronics, the trendiest accessories or a new car and you don’t.

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It’s not a competition. It’s a lifestyle you’re choosing to live wisely. Especially when you’re trying to pay off debt and making the right financial decisions is your top priority.

Keep it up. The road to financial freedom is nearby.

5. Limit Emotional Shopping

Try not to shop when you’re bored, sad, angry or hungry.  When your emotions start to guide your decision making, you’re more likely to overspend. It happens to all of us and it’s understandable.

Just do your best and avoid shopping sprees or running errands when you’re emotional. Pretending to need something when in reality, you don’t. You’re just bored, upset or hungry. Plain and simple.

Redirect yourself. Go on a walk, head to a park, drink some green tea or call a friend. Listen to some of your favorite tunes or close your eyes and meditate.

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Within minutes, you’ll forget about shopping. Your urge to spend money will vanish. At least for a while. So try it. You’ll feel better and save money doing it.

6. Be Honest With Yourself

Be honest with your spending. Prioritize your needs and wants. Be patient and stay true to your intentions when shopping. Don’t let others influence your financial decisions.

You are in charge of your money. You work hard to earn it so you decide how to spend it. If you don’t need something at this moment, then don’t get it.

And above all, don’t fool yourself into thinking you must have something right now. Think it over, talk about it or wait a few days before purchasing anything beyond your budget.

Ask yourself…

What truly matters in my life? People and experiences or things?

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How should I treat my money today? The money that I busted my butt earning? Worked overtime for? And drove hours in traffic for?

The answer lies within you.

The way I see it, experiences create lasting memories, fill up photo albums and amplify your life. Materialism does the opposite. So choose your purchases wisely. Create a folder of memories you’ll revisit often as you get older.

Start capturing those moments with the people you love.

You’ll be so thankful you did.

 

 

Bacon Brown Sugar Crackers

 

This recipe rocks! Ritz crackers topped with crispy bacon and sprinkled brown sugar. I mean bacon alone is pretty great to munch on. So adding some sugar on top just makes your taste buds go a bit wild!

Just wait til you try this simple, mouth watering recipe. You’ll see those crackers disappear in no time.

Believe me. They won’t last very long.

These crackers are seriously addicting. They are great for small gatherings or large parties. And as you prepare and bake them, your kitchen will smell like a maple brown sugar cookie candle.

Really. Just wait and see.

You’ll feel like you’re a kid again. Craving deliciousness as your kitchen’s scent takes you back to childhood.

Mmmmmmmmmm……………

Occasionally, I’ll hear my 3 year old shout: “Mommy, stop eating all of them!”

Oopsies 🙂

Little cuties are so awesome at putting a smile on our faces, right? Gotta love them and their honest remarks. Especially when you’re sneaking in a few too many yum yums as your toddler pokes you in the pack.

Busted! Haha!

 

Alright! Here we go…

Ingredients

  • 3-4 sleeves of Ritz round crackers OR Townhouse rectangular crackers
  • 1 pkg of bacon (cut into 2 inch pieces)
  • 1/4 cup of brown sugar

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 Fahrenheit.
  2. Lay the crackers on a large cookie sheet. No need to spray the pan.
  3. Top each cracker with a bacon piece.
  4. Sprinkle each cracker with a little bit of brown sugar.
  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes or just until the bacon starts to crisp. Make sure not to burn the bottom of the crackers. And even if you do, they will still taste amazing!
  6. Remove from oven and wait a few minutes. ***Bacon will be hot.
  7. Enjoy!

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Please share pictures or comments if you decide to make them.

I’d love to see how much you enjoyed them.

Thanks!

 

 

 

 

 

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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