Monthly Archives: December 2014

Hors D’oeuvre: Salami, Horseradish Cheese, and Sweet Oatmeal Crackers

Salami & Horseradish cheese

It’s that time of year again. Christmas is only a couple weeks away and the New Year is coming soon. Undoubtedly, you have been invited to several holiday parties; between family gatherings, work parties, neighborhood events, and your best friend’s annual Christmas party, your calendar is probably booked solid for the next few weeks.

It seems if you attend enough holiday parties, you start to notice a trend with the appetizers. First of all, there is a cheeseball at every party. EVERY PARTY. Nothing wrong with cheeseballs. In fact, they are pretty good, but it seems that around Christmas is the only time of year that you see them at parties. There are also the stand-by veggie and fruit trays, maybe even some sweet & sour meatballs and cocktail wieners– if you’re lucky. All of these things are great, but sometimes, you just want something different.

So here is an interesting spin on a traditional meat and cheese tray: dry salami bites & small wedges of horseradish cheese, served with sweet oatmeal crackers. The tang of the salami goes so well with the slightly hot horseradish cheese and is well-rounded out with a sweet oatmeal cracker. I arranged them on one tray in sections, but could be just as good stacking the salami and cheese on individual crackers. This is kind of a nice change of pace on its own, but it would work well served along with hummus.

Most grocery stores have a large cheese section and also have several gourmet-style crackers there as well. Get creative and pick some different cheeses. If you don’t know what something will taste like, ask for a sample.

Remember, if you are going to several holiday parties, you may want to buy a larger block of cheese that can be used for more than one event (**Money Savvy Tip: typically, the larger blocks of cheese are less expensive, if pre-packaged)

Here are some other great appetizer ideas for New Year’s Eve:

NYEAppCollage

1- Snowman Cheese Ball

2- Sausage & Cream Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms

3- Teriyaki Shrimp, Steak & Chicken Kabobs

4- Pimento Cheese

5- Cranberry Salsa

6- Pomegranate Pork Belly Crostini

7- Salami, Horseradish & Cheese Hors D’Oeuvre

8- Basil & Olive Oil Caprese Bites

9- Bacon Jalapeno Cheddar Cheese Ball

10- Hot Cheesy Spinach & Red Pepper Artichoke Dip

11- Crockpot Spinach & Artichoke Dip

Homemade Christmas Gift: Etched Cookie Jar

Guest post from Michele at Bella Home Goods.  This is a great holiday craft that is easy on the budget, is a breeze to make, and tastes great too!

Etched Cookie Jar and Homemade Oatmeal Cookies

Happy Holidays Money Savvy Friends!

Everyone knows the holidays can be busy and before you know it they pass us by so lets enjoy the reason for the season and take on some true meaning of the holiday spirit. Take some time out of your busy schedule to create something special this month, like a homemade craft and delicious warm baked cookies.

My children get so excited with our tradition of baking homemade Christmas cookies and decorating them with sprinkles, and who can resist the smell of home baked deliciousness? They make winter feel like the holidays, especially after eating a few warm and freshly baked cookies with a tall glass of cold milk. Yum.

The gift giving craft is a Glass Etched cookie jar and then add your favorite homemade holiday cookie recipe to the cookie jar. Below is one of our family favorites, Old Fashioned Homemade Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies. They bake perfectly each time, we make them and I know your family will love them too.

My wish for your family and ours is to make the best possible memories for them so they can look back and think, I remember growing up how wonderful our family holidays were, and have those warm and fuzzy feelings that they will one day repeat with their children and grandchildren.

Best Old Fashioned Oatmeal Cookies

Ingredient List :

  • 1 1/2 cups of flour
  • 1  teaspoon salt
  • 1  cup butter
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2  large eggs
  • 1  teaspoon hot water
  • 1  teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 (12 ounce) package  semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2  cups quick oats

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Sift together flour, soda and salt.

In a separate bowl, cream together salted butter and sugars; add eggs, one at a time. Stir in hot water, vanilla and flour mixture.

Add remaining ingredients; mix well.

Drop two teaspoons of cookie batter using a Pampered Chef medium scoop onto baking sheet.

Bake at 375°F for 8-10 minutes.

Now onto the fun part, the crafting!

I went to HomeGoods and they have a big selection of cookie jars shaped in a cylinder or the old fashioned glass cookie jar, and either will be fun to decorate. The cylinder jar I found at HomeGoods was $5. Next, I stopped off at Michael’s craft store and picked up some Martha Stewart glass etching cream and the tool to apply the etching cream and then picked out an adhesive Martha Stewart stencil.

BHG collage

Clean the surface of the glass that you would like to etch with rubbing alcohol and then you can apply the adhesive stencil to where you would want to apply your etching design. When you apply the etching cream apply it heavily on top of the stencil and you leave the cream on for 15 minutes. Any less, and the cream will not mark the glass. After that, you wash the cream off under water in your sink and you can reuse your stencil again by rinsing that off as well.

Place your glass in the dishwasher to sanitize  it and then it is ready to  be filled with your fresh baked cookies! It looks gorgeous– and it’s simple!  Your Friends and Family will be happy with this gorgeous and thoughtful gift for the holidays.  Enjoy!

 

**When you apply the cream you do have to wear protective gloves so as to not irritate your skin.

michelle_1326

Michele, Creator of Bella Home Goods is a wife, mother, blogger, crafter, and decorator. At Bella Home Goods, she shares recipes, ways to up-cycle furniture, and how her home is getting a makeover.

Buckeyes: Peanut Butter and Chocolate Bliss

Buckeyes: Peanut Butter and Chocolate Bliss

Buckeyes: Peanut Butter and Chocolate Bliss

Being an Ohioan, I was introduced to this delicious candy in Kindergarten when we made buckeyes at school.  I don’t remember why we made them, but as a 6 year old, I did know they were a candy that was supposed to actually look like a real buckeye.  It is much like a peanut butter cup, only way better– I mean, you can’t beat homemade, right?!

These are a wonderful addition to any Christmas goodie platter or any time of year.  Not sure why, but Christmas time always makes me want to bake goodies that I don’t really even think about making any other time of year.

And, of course, I am always looking at the budget side of things, and I am happy to say that this recipe can make approximately 3 dozen buckeyes for less than $3 of ingredients!

Buckeyes5

Buckeyes

  • Servings: approx. 3 doz
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
  • 6 ounces milk chocolate melting wafers
  • 2 tablespoons butter flavor shortening

Directions

1.  Line a baking sheet with waxed paper; set aside.

2.  In a medium bowl, mix: peanut butter, butter, vanilla, and confectioners’ sugar

3.  Shape into balls using 2 teaspoons of dough for each ball.

4.  Place on prepared pan, and refrigerate for 20 minutes.

5.  Melt shortening and chocolate together in a metal bowl over a pan of lightly simmering water or use a double boiler.  If melting in a microwave, warm on half power in 30 second increments.  Stir occasionally until smooth, and remove from heat.

6.  Remove balls from refrigerator. Insert a wooden toothpick into a ball, and dip into melted chocolate. Return to wax paper, chocolate side down, and remove toothpick. Repeat with remaining balls. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to set.

 

So while these are budget friendly to make, they are also budget friendly to give as gifts.  You can find some tissue paper, small Christmas boxes, and ribbons on sale or at the dollar store and give a gift that not only tastes delicious, but looks festive too!

 

Buckeyes | Money Savvy Living

 

I hope you will enjoy these buckeyes as much as our family does!  Happy baking and Merry Christmas!

10 Ways to Avoid Overspending this Christmas

10 Ways to Avoid Overspending this Christmas  | Money Savvy Living

 

Shopping for everyone on your list, attending all of the holiday parties, and taking in all of the sights and sounds of Christmas can get expensive—but it doesn’t have to.  There are a few steps that you can follow to ensure that you don’t end up with the winter blues, a whole lot of regret, and a huge credit card bill come January.  Here are 10 ways to avoid overspending this Christmas:

  1. Make a list. Don’t just set out to shop without a game plan. Write down who you are buying for and what you want to get for them. And remember, if it’s not on the list—don’t buy it!
  2. Set a budget. Decide ahead of time how much you want to spend on the gifts you will buy. The easiest way to not overspend is to set aside a certain amount of cash, when the money is gone, your shopping is done. If you are buying online or using a credit card, save your receipts and make sure to keep track of your spending.
  3. Don’t get drawn in by “biggest SALE of the season” advertising. Just when you think that Black Friday has the best sales, then Cyber Monday comes along with a whole new plethora of items on sale. Really, until Christmas Eve, you can count on retailers trying to entice you onto their website or into their store so you can take advantage of the Christmas savings. Don’t get me wrong, the 52” flat screen HD TV is a great buy for $300, but if you don’t really need it, then that was $300 that you didn’t really need to spend.
  4. Focus on the true meaning of Christmas. It is so easy to get caught up in buying the perfect gift for that special someone or making sure everything is checked off the “Santa” list, but gifts, decorations, and holiday parties are not the reason we celebrate Christmas. Remembering that we celebrate Christmas because of the birth of Jesus helps get things back in perspective.
  5. Make gifts. As much as Grandma and Grandpa enjoy getting a new pair of slippers under the tree, they would probably enjoy getting a homemade gift from their grandkids even more.
  6. Wait until the after-Christmas sales. This won’t do you very much good this year, but planning ahead can save you 50-75% off for next year. Wait to buy lights, wrapping paper, and other decorations once they go on sale the day after Christmas.
  7. Take advantage of gift card specials. Many stores offer a free “gift” with purchase— $10 free gift card with a purchase of $40 of gift cards, for example. If there are items that you know you want to get from a store that offers this, buy the gift cards first, then use them to buy your gifts—and pick up a bit of extra spending power along the way.
  8. Comparison Shop. With most stores having an online presence, it is pretty easy to look up current sales and compare from site to site which retailer has the best deals or offer free shipping.
  9. Shop consignment stores for holiday clothes for the kids. If you want to have the perfect holiday outfit for your kids for the annual Christmas picture, card, or school program, it can get very pricy. If you aren’t careful, you can sink quite a bit of money into a complete outfit that your rapidly growing child will only wear one or two times over the holidays.  Many consignment shops offer “nice as new” and name brand clothing for a fraction of the original cost.
  10. Attend FREE holiday events. Many churches, individual venues, or communities offer free events such as plays, light displays, Christmas tree lightings, caroling, and festivals. These free events can offer a lot of great family fun—and it doesn’t cost you a thing!

 

10 Ways to Avoid Overspending This Christmas | Money Savvy Living

$250 Paypal Giveaway for the Holidays

 

$250 Paypal Giveaway

Now that it’s December it seems everyone is getting into the holiday spirit! Christmas lights and trees are up and shopping is under way. With so many people to buy for every year, I thought it would be nice to host a giveaway to help with some of your Christmas shopping. That’s why I’ve teamed up with 9 other bloggers to give away one lucky winner $250 Paypal cash to spend! All you have to do is enter with the Rafflecopter entry form below. Seems easy right?

But before entering, check out the 10 bloggers that have sponsored this giveaway and we hope you’ll follow us for more exciting giveaways from this group (we call ourselves the Blogging Mamas – fun, right?) Follow us on Facebook to stay in touch with all the latest blog posts and more giveaways like these!

Kim from Life is a Lullaby Facebook / Twitter / Pinterest

Christy from Stained with Style Facebook / Twitter / Pinterest

Bianca from Little Mommy NestFacebook / Twitter / Pinterest

Tricia from The Good MamaFacebook / Twitter / Pinterest

Heather from Krafts and KiddosFacebook / Twitter / Pinterest

Tianna from Bumps to BottlesFacebook / Twitter / Pinterest

Mel from Melly MomentsFacebook / Twitter / Pinterest

Kim from This Ole MomFacebook / Twitter / Pinterest

Ashley from Taylors4youFacebook / Twitter / Pinterest

Gina from Money Savvy LivingFacebook / Twitter / Pinterest

Enter below for your chance to win $250 Paypal cash! Giveaway is open to US & Canadian residents only (excluding Quebec) 18 years of age and older. Please read the full rules under Terms & Conditions.

NOTE: The selected winner’s entries will be verified that each entry was successfully completed (i.e. you commented on the blog post, followed on Pinterest etc). If not, the winner will be disqualified and a new winner will be selected. Any questions, please send me an email. Good Luck!

Terms and Conditions

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Homemade Cinnamon Christmas Ornaments

cin ornaments1

You won’t believe how simple these ornaments are to make… and they fill your home with the wonderful scent of cinnamon! These are a great craft for kids to make. Not only can you put them on your own tree for years to come and remember the fun Christmas memories of making them, but they make great gifts for the grandparents too.

My kids just love helping make these– and we make some nearly every year!  The good news is, they are pretty inexpensive to make.  I bought generic cinnamon (2.5 oz) for $0.88 and the name brand cinnamon was $4.68!  So right away, that is a savings of 80% on ingredients!  To make 24 of these ornaments only costs around $3.

Cinnamon Christmas Ornaments

  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

3 Ingredient recipe
2 c. applesauce
2 c. cinnamon
2 Tbsp. Elmer’s school glue

That’s all you need! Just mix together until dough forms, roll out (to about 1/4 inch thickness) and use your favorite cookie cutter shapes to make your ornaments. Just remember, if your dough is sticking as you roll it out, “flour” your rolling pin with cinnamon.

Homemade Cinnamon Applesauce Christmas Ornaments | Money Savvy Living

Homemade Cinnamon Applesauce Christmas Ornaments | Money Savvy Living

Once your ornaments are cut out, you must use a toothpick, a craft stick, or even a straw to poke a hole in the top so that you can put a ribbon through to hang on tree. Or, if you want to string them for garland, you will want to place 2 holes in the middle of the ornament, at least 1/2 inch apart.

Homemade Cinnamon Applesauce Christmas Ornaments | Money Savvy Living

Homemade Cinnamon Applesauce Christmas Ornaments | Money Savvy Living

 

Optional:  lightly press glitter onto the ornaments while the dough is still moist and let it dry into the dough for decoration.

Once the ornaments have dried for at least 24-48 hours, use glue to decorate after the ornaments with glitter, sequins, or whatever your choose.

Put ribbons through the holes and decorate your tree!

 

Dec 2012 045

Merry Christmas!

*Money Savvy Tip*
Shop at the dollar store or an overstock store for these ingredients, or even ask your local grocery store for damaged containers of applesause or cinnamon, you may be able to save a bit of money on these items. Also be sure to look for generic brands of these ingredients for extra savings.

Cyber Monday Deals on Amazon

If you didn’t find all of the gifts you needed on black Friday, there is still time to get great gifts and save a bit of money too! Visit the Money Savvy Living Amazon Store to take advantage of Cyber Monday savings.

amazon 4           amazon 3           amazon 1           amazon gift card

Don’t forget to check out Amazon throughout the month of December for new deals everyday!

amazon 2

Other great Cyber Monday Deals:

Target: deals on electronics and buy one get on 60% off clothing

Swanson Vitamins: 20% vitamins and $0.99 shipping

Children’s Place: 60% off cold weather gear and 50% off everything else online, free shipping

Hotels.com: 50% off + additional 10% select hotels, discount code: CYBERMONDAY

Toys R Us: Savings on hundreds of toys and free shipping

Family Christian: $5 Matthew West CD’s, $5 What’s in the Bible DVDs, 50% off select items

Walmart: up to 50% off and free shipping on select items

Express: 50% and free shipping

Elder Beerman: $50 off $100 purchase, use code: ZCYBER50MON
35% off regular and sale price merchandise, use code: CYBERSALE30
free shipping, use code: FREESHIP

Kohl’s: 20% off, use code CYBER20
free shipping with $25 purchase

Maurices: 30% off online, use code CYBER1214

Bed, Bath & Beyond: save up to $150 on Dyson vacuums and much more, free shipping on orders over $49

Banana Republic/ Gap/ Old Navy: 40% off, use code CYBER

Peter Glenn Ski and Sports: extra 20% sale items, use code: CYBMON14

Barnes & Noble: extra 25% off your choice of any item, use code: CMONDAY14

Golfballs.com: Save 20% off purchase, use code: CYBERMONDAY

Macy’s: extra 15% off and free shipping with $50 purchase, use code: CYBER