Category Archives: Recipes

Double Chocolate Chip Cake Mix Cookies

The best chocolate chip cookies you'll every eat!

The best chocolate chip cookies you’ll every eat!

Not only are these the best cookies you will ever eat, they are super easy and inexpensive to make! One of the reasons that I love them is because they taste homemade… but actually start out with a box of cake mix. Another reason I like these is because you only have to add 3 ingredients to them and you are ready to bake. Like I said, super easy!

Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • Servings: 3 dozen
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 1 box chocolate cake mix (my favorite is Betty Crocker Chocolate Fudge cake mix)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup oil (canola oil or vegetable oil)
  • 1 cup chocolate chips (I use white chocolate chips, but any flavor is delicious– chocolate, mint, peanut butter, etc)

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Spoon onto cookie sheet.

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Bake for 9 minutes at 350 degrees.



And the best part is, the recipe yields approximately 3 dozen cookies. The cost of ingredients is about $2.50, making them approximately $0.80 per dozen! That is a huge savings from buying a package of cookies from the store, which start at $2.00 per dozen.


Double Chocolate Chip Cookies | Money Savvy Living

Homemade strawberry jam– money savvy and healthier than what you buy at the store

Homemade strawberry jam... delicious and makes a wonderful gift idea

Homemade strawberry jam… delicious and makes a wonderful gift idea


There is nothing better than homemade jam on a hot, homemade biscuit! One of my favorite indulgences– and it brings back wonderful childhood memories of my grandmother who always made special, bite-sized biscuits for us kids. Of course, my mother also made delicious biscuits which we would top with butter and strawberry jam. YUM. YUMM. YUMMMM…


Besides the fact that homemade jam is sooo much tastier than store-bought, it also comes with other benefits: no articial flavors, additives, or high fructose corn syrup… and it will save you money!


Making homemade strawberry jam consists of just three things: strawberries, sugar, and fruit pectin. This is huge when you consider that regular jam that you buy off the shelf at the grocery store has high fructose corn syrup, with other additives for color or flavor. I don’t know about you, but I’ll take strawberries and sugar over high fructose corn syrup and additives any day.


To buy a jar of strawberry jam at the store with high frustose corn syrup and other additives, you will spend about $0.17-0.22/oz. If you are fortunate enough to find a brand or line of product that doesn’t have the high frustose corn syrup, you will definitely spend more. Much more, in fact, anywhere from $0.25-0.38/oz. Making it myself, the final cost was $0.14/oz! So to buy the kind of jam at the grocery store that I make at home, I would spend 2-3 times as much!!

Homemade Strawberry Jam

  • Servings: approx. 28 ounces
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

3 cups crushed strawberries (2 pounds whole strawberries)
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp of fruit pectin

1 tsp lemon juice
small pat of butter (I always put a little butter in to cut down on the foam)

  • Only use ripe berries at their peak
  • Wash strawberries, remove tops/stems
  • Crush with a potato masher. Pour into pan
  • Mix about 1/4 c sugar with the fruit pectin, add to strawberries
  • Bring to rolling boil
  • Stir in remaining sugar, bring to full rolling boil stirring constantly for 1 minute
  • Remove from heat, skim off foam
  • Pour into prepared jars (clean and dry)
  • Wipe away any excess from rim, place canning lid and ring on jar

**Jams are the only thing that I will can without using a canner or placing in boiling water. At this point, I invert for about 20 minutes. Place jars upright and check to be sure the lid is completely sealed (should not be springy) for storage.


But strawberry jam isn’t the only great summertime recipe, featuring this juicy, delicious fruit.  Here are some other great recipes for strawberries:

Best & Easiest Strawberry Pie Recipe / My Creative Days

strawberry pie

Strawberry Cheesecake in a Cup / Tastefully Frugal

Strawberry Cheesecake-In-Cup

Strawberry Lemonade Popsicles / Tastefully Frugal

Strawberry Lemonade Popsicles

Lemonberry Slush / Tastefully Frugal

Strawberry Lemon Berry Slush HERO

Healthy Chocolate No-Bake Cookie Bars

Healthy No Bake Cookie Bars


Sometimes you just crave something a little sweet, without having to worry about the guilt of eating something fattening or unhealthy.  These no-bake cookie bars are absolutely delicious!  And they are healthy too– no preservatives and made using all-natural ingredients.

I am happy to say that these cookie bars have the seal of approval from my kids… and you know when your kids enjoy eating something, it is truly good.  I love the fact that I can give my kids a sweet treat in their lunch, that is healthy too.

Healthy No-Bake Cookie Bars

  • Servings: 2 dozen cookie bars
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 1 cup of nut butter (peanut or almond)
  • 1/3 cup raw honey
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil (melted)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup raw cacao powder (cocoa or carob)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 cups oatmeal

Mix together in a bowl: nut butter, raw honey, melted coconut oil, and vanilla.

Add dry ingredients and mix evenly.

Cover a cookie sheet with a piece of wax paper.  Pour mixture onto wax paper and spread out evenly, using spatula, until about 1/4 inch thick.

Place in freezer for 30 minutes, until mixture is firmly set.  Remove from freezer and cut into bars.

Store in airtight container and keep in the refrigerator.

Healthy Chocolate No Bake Cookie Bars // Money Savvy Living #healthycookies #nobake

You may be thinking, if these are made of healthy ingredients, then they must be super expensive to make.  And while they are a bit more expensive to make than regular cookies, the difference is really not that much… and making them is much cheaper than buying healthy energy bars.

It costs about $6.50 for the ingredients used in these no-bake cookies, so only about $3.25 per dozen.  Yes, you can make regular no-bake cookies for probably about half the cost, but those cookies are loaded with sugar and butter.  Make the healthy choice… you will be glad you did!




Valentine’s Day the SUPER-hero way

Make beautiful, gourmet chocolates for Valentine's Day

Make beautiful, gourmet chocolates for Valentine’s Day


Valentine’s Day is just around the corner.  Whether you are looking to make a homemade treat for your love or trying to figure out what treat to send to school for you kids, chocolate covered pretzels and heart-shaped rice crispy treats dipped in chocolate can make the perfect indulgence!


Valentine heart rice krispie


These homemade treats look festive and delicious. The best part is that they look fancy, but you won’t have to pay the expensive price tag that comes along with buying them from a gourmet shop. Here’s what you will need:
• Chocolate candy wafers
• Pretzel rods
• Rice crispy treats
• Assorted sprinkles
• Double broiler (or similar set up)
• Wax paper

Heart-shaped Rice Krispie Treats

Making a heart-shaped rice crispy treat is not as hard as it looks:

  1. Cut larger corners off one side to form the point at the bottom of the heart
  2. Cut very small corners off the other side to round the top edges of the heart
  3. Cut a small “V” in the middle of the top
  4. Use your hands to mold the rough edges

heart krispie collage

Set the heart-shaped krispie treats aside.  Once the chocolate is melted, you can dip the top in or drizzle with the melted chocolate and decorate with sprinkles.


Melting the Chocolate

You don’t need to buy a double broiler to melt chocolate properly. All you need is a regular pot; fill it about 3/4 full with water and boil. Make sure you have a large, glass bowl that will sit on top of the pot without falling in, but the bottom of the bowl needs to fit down in far enough to touch the water as it boils. Pour the chocolate melts into the bowl. The boiling water will do most of the work, but you can stir occasionally to keep the chocolate melting evenly.

*You can also melt the chocolate wafers in the microwave at 50% power, in 30 second increments.


Valentine's choc
Once melted, the chocolate should look smooth and shiny. It should be free of any lumps and pour freely. Pour out onto a piece of wax paper. Roll pretzel rods in the chocolate until fully coated. Dip the heart shaped rice crispy treats in the chocolate or drizzle with a fork. Sprinkle with festive Valentine’s Day colors before the chocolate starts to harden.
I decided to get creative with some of the leftover chocolate and make a heart-shaped chocolate wafer. Start with a small circle of chocolate and use a butter knife or toothpick to move it around into the shape of a heart. When the chocolate hardens and dries, it will peel off the wax paper easily.


Chocolate Pops

Another fun and easy treat to make for your kids’ Valentine’s Day parties are chocolate pops.  Having boys, they definitely DO NOT allow me to make pink ones, but they like the red ones, white chocolate, or milk chocolate.  Attach a Valentine with a ribbon ad your treat is ready to go!  I can make these chocolate pops for about $0.10 each!  That is a huge savings from any ready-made candy that you might buy for your kids to hand out.


choc heart


Valentine Cards
Nothing says Happy Valentine’s Day like Captain America! I knew that my boys would like these Valentine’s Day cards when I bought them… last year, after Valentine’s Day. I got them on clearance, 90% off! So instead of paying $3.00 for the box of 27 valentines, I got it for $0.30! I also bought a few other boxes that I thought they might like since they were such a good deal. So instead of paying $12.00 for the 4 boxes of valentines that I bought, I only paid $1.20.

Valentine Cards
Time to put it all together!

Place two pretzel rods and one heart-shaped rice crispy treat in a treat bag, tie a ribbon around the top, and attach the valentine card! Great treat bags for my boys to hand out at their school parties, all for about $0.30 per bag!  Money Savvy and Delicious!

Treat Bag 2

Treat Bag

Happy Valentine’s Day

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:


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.


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!


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


  • 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


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!

Homemade Popsicles: delicious and healthy

Organic Coconut Blueberry Popcicle

Organic Coconut Blueberry Popcicle

Even though summer is soon coming to an end and you are probably already getting in the back-to-school mode, eMeals has put together a few homemade popsicle recipes to get you through these hot days in August. eMeals is still offering a 20% off discount (code: SCHOOL) along with FREE Back to School Recipes Download with purchase of an eMeals subscription.

Recipe: Organic Coconut Blueberry Popsicle

  • 1 1/2 cup organic coconut milk
  • 3/4 cup Greek vanilla yogurt
  • 3 Tablespoons honey
  • 2 Tablespoons organic shredded coconut
  • 1/3 cup organic blueberries

In a glass mixing bowl, mix together coconut milk, honey, shredded coconut, and greek yogurt until well combined. Choose your favorite popsicle mold and fill until half inch from the top. Add blueberries into mixture by pushing them down into the mold, spreading them throughout the popsicle. Fill the remainder of the popsicle mold. Freeze overnight.

Mixed Fruit Popsicle

Mixed Fruit Popsicle

Recipe: Mixed Fruit Popsicles

  • 1 kiwi, peeled and sliced
  • 1 peach, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup strawberries, sliced
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 2 cups coconut water

Combine all fruit in a mixing bowl and place in your favorite popsicle mold. Pour enough coconut water in each mold to just cover the fruit. Freeze overnight.
Suggestion: taste your coconut water and see if it’s sweet enough prior to pouring into mold. If not, in a separate mixing bowl add coconut water and your favorite sweetener to taste. Then add to popsicle mold to cover fruit.


Chocolate Nutella Popsicles

Chocolate Nutella Popsicles

Recipe: Chocolate Nutella Popsicles

  • 1 1/2 cups chocolate milk
  • 1/2 cup hazelnut spread
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix the chocolate milk and hazelnut spread together until well blended. Choose your favorite popsicle mold and fill to the rim and freeze overnight.

eMeals: Back to school lunches for kids

school lunch

The sound of the school bell ringing will soon be a normal part of your child’s day. Whether your child is 4 or 14, adjusting to school is never easy. This transition can be softened with the help of one of my favorite organizational tools, eMeals! eMeals provides you simple breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even dessert meal plans to help you easily and effectively plan meals for your family.

One of the new favorites is their kid-friendly meal plan. Each meal plan comes with a ready-made shopping list to help you get through the grocery store in no time flat! Sign up for eMeals now and you can get 2 bonuses:
1. 20% off with the code SCHOOL
2. A FREE Back to School Survival Guide filled with fun back to school recipes including 3 Power Breakfast Recipes, 2 Lunch Box Recipes, 2 Weeknight Dinners, 2 After School Snacks, and 1 Yummy Dessert!

Here is an example of one of the recipes from the Back to School kit to enjoy with your kids.

Turkey-Bacon Tortilla Roll-Ups:
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 5 mins
Total: 15 mins

8 slices bacon
1 (8-oz) package store-bought guacamole
4 (8-inch) flour tortillas
1/4 lb thinly sliced deli turkey
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese (or any shredded cheese)
1 cup shredded iceberg lettuce (optional)

Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium
heat until crisp; drain. Spread a thin layer of
mayonnaise and guacamole over each tortilla.
Layer turkey, bacon and cheese on each
tortilla. Add lettuce, if desired. Roll up tortillas,
and cut in half. Makes 4 servings.

Ba-cchini Bread: The Best Banana-Zucchini Bread You’ve Ever Tasted

Soooo delicious!

Soooo delicious!

Ba-cchini bread. That is what my kids started calling the banana-zucchini bread that I make. In their effort to shorten the title, it really comes out sounding like “bikini.” While this recipe is delicious, and of course, money savvy (you can make two loaves of this delicious bread for about what it costs to buy one slice of this type of specialty bread at a bakery or coffee shop!), I can definitely say that it is NOT good for your get-into-a-bikini diet! But hey, we all need a little bit of decadence now and then, right?

I can honestly say that this recipe makes the most moist, delicious banana zucchini bread that you’ve ever tasted! Good as muffins or in loaves, just adjust your cook time.

Ba-cchini Bread

  • Servings: 24 muffins or 2 loaves
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 c. oil
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 c. sugar
  • 1 c. grated zucchini
  • 1 c. mashed bananas
  • 2 1/2-3 c. flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 walnuts or raisins *optional *

Cream together eggs, oil, vanilla, and sugar. Sift together dry ingredients. Add the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture and then add the grated zucchini and mashed bananas. Bake at 350 degrees until golden brown.

Loaves of bread: Pour into 2 prepared (greased and floured) loaf pans and bake at 350 degrees for 45 min -1 hour.
Muffins: Fill muffin cups 2/3 of the way up. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 25 minutes.

Baking Tip: To make sure muffins or loaves of bread are done in the center, stick a toothpick in. Bread is ready when it comes out clean (no batter on toothpick)

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